Rock ‘n’ roll is dead, or so many thought before the appearance of the “Sound City: Real to Reel” soundtrack.
Sound City, a documentary directed by Nirvana legend and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, tells the unique story of Van Nuys’s Sound City Studio, a record production facility that closed its doors in 2011.
The studio had produced albums for such stars as Rick Springfield, Nine Inch Nails, Cheap Trick, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty and Nirvana. “Sound City” was released to a limited audience at independent movie festivals in January and February of this year.
The soundtrack of “Sound City” called “Sound City: Real to Reel,” speaks to the real, live music recorded specifically for the rock-umentary. Grohl is involved in every single one of the 11 tracks that comprise the record, as a composer as well as a musician. Each of the tracks features a musical legend, ranging from Stevie Nicks to Rick Springfield to Paul McCartney.
The album starts off with the slower-paced, southern-rock infused “Heaven and All,” a track performed by indie guitarist Robert Levon Been of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
Been, along with Grohl on drums, weaves a melody through the grunge lyrics reminiscent of a post-“Nevermind” Nirvana.
“The Man That Never Was” is Springfield’s contribution to the album. An upbeat song about wasted potential and controlling women, Springfield’s effort proves that, while his career has slowed, the man of “Jesse’s Girl” fame still has some shred left in his guitar.
Immediately following “The Man That Never Was” is the captivatingly syncopated “Your Wife Is Calling,” a track headlined by Lee Ving of Fear Fame. It is hard to not love a song that combines a whiny harmonica with pulsating electric guitars and basses that seem to get bored with any given rhythm after three seconds.
The push-pull feel of the piece meshes well with lyrics like, “There’s nothing here/But Foo Fighters and beer!”
Ving brings his signature hardcore punk sound and vocals, and he smoothly blends them with a driving Grohl drumbeat to create a uniquely pleasant listening experience.
Grohl has been a busy man, since the Foo Fighters hiatus. Despite drumming on the new “Queens of the Stone Age” album and working on a new album with the Foo Fighters, Grohl still found time to produce this love letter to the studio that changed so many musicians’ and listeners’ lives.
“Real to Reel” is worth a listen because it bridges not only the perceived age gap amongst rock musicians, but it also beautifully combines sub-genres of the rock ‘n’ roll movement into one cohesive listening experience.
This soundtrack is the soundtrack to a movie, but it is also the soundtrack to the lives of so many generations of rock fans enraptured by the music produced at Sound City Studios. After listening to this album, it is hard to argue against rock ‘n’ roll being very much alive.