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Sound Check

10/29/2014

Foo FightersFoo Fighters

“Sonic Highways”

RCA

The Foo Fighters are at a point now where they can really mess around and do things on a whim. It’s that feeling of exploration that drives “Sonic Highways,” which is both an album and HBO special documentary. In the words of the iconic Dave Ghrol: “This is a musical map of America.” While the documentary itself is mostly fascinating though ultimately light, the album gives itself over to a variety of Americana genres — rock, blues, country — each mixed into what can undeniably be recognized as signature Foo Fighters song writing. It is an interesting, rich album that makes a stab at redefining what the Foo Fighters are all about. I don’t know if it will go down as an all-time classic album for them, but they’ve got enough of those already. CV

Annie LennoxAnnie Lennox

HIV

“Nostalgia”

Island

In a way, it makes sense that Annie Lennox would go down this route. As half of The Eurythmics, Lennox’s voice was steeped in a blues and R&B tradition and was the motor that made that band purr. Now, as an immensely successful soloist and bonafide legend, Lennox’s career has trended toward material that allows her to flash her vocal range and emotional depth. But “Nostalgia” doesn’t quite get her there. Covering a dozen classics of the Great American Songbook, Lennox never feels ill at ease with the material, and there’s nothing on the album you’d dare classify as “bad.” But at no point does she do anything to really own her versions of the songs. Nothing on the album feels like a definitive take on the material and, rather than feeling like a must-listen collection of songs, “Nostalgia” feels more like an afterthought. It’s little more than lovingly crafted, obviously heartfelt, laundry folding music. CV

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