This blog has been dedicated to Foals, a lot more than I wish it would had at the time. It was all leading up to this album. However, now that it has leaked, I am proud of myself for doing that. Total Life Forever is the greatest album I have ever heard. Foals completely blew it out of the park with this one. A band that I always considered a little bit more than average, nothing too exciting, good for a dancefloor or party tune and nothing more have suddenly transformed into geniuses. How this happens I have no fucking idea. I cannot emphasize how amazed and surprised I am by this sudden transformation. It leaked on Monday, I have been listening to it religiously since. Total Life Forever is scheduled to release on May 10th, I'd tell you to be ready but that's impossible, this album will simply kick the shit out of you and force it back in. Total Life Forever has 11 amazing tracks on it, none of which are below superb for the purpose that they serve. Review time? Yep.
'Blue Blood' - An amazing way to open an album. I wouldn't expect anything less from Foals actually. 'The French Open' which opened "Antidotes" (2008) was always my favorite album opener of all time. It had everything you wanted, it tuned you in, it kept you intrigued with Yannis yelping in French and then shrieking in English. With 'Blue Blood' you get none of this, and it's foreshadowing for the rest of the album as well, as every opener should be, and none do this as well as 'Blue Blood'. Starting off with simple guitars and Yannis calmly singing "You got blue blood on your arms, I think it's my own" that keeps you interested for the whole time. After the first verse one guitar begins strumming, after that, the Walter comes in rocking the bass. A slow buildup, great way to start an album guys. As the song slowly builds up it becomes near orgasmic. Walter kicks ass on the bass and Jimmy is totally rocking the guitar as Jack beats the fuck out of the drums. The chorus features an amazing guitar playing chords that slowly work up the neck and...horns? It works. It has backing vocals "You show me, where to go, to my home, so take me, through the roads, that you know." repreated as Yannis sings "Come and be accepted affected, protected, come and be accepted so now that you know." With all of this going at once your head will explode.It breaks down but slowly picks up through Jack and then some tremolo picking is adding. Then they throw in some distorted...something. Anyway it goes back to Yannis singing his protected line with him screaming "Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh" incredibly in the background. After that the chorus guitar comes in on it's own basically. It ends as it began, softly and calmly, which is beautiful and I think totally changes the perspective of the song and album. It reminds you that this is a new Foals. They end soft, not hard, the album is overall soft, and not hard. As I'm posting this it is my favorite song on the album, however with an album as beautifully as this one, it's been changing often.
'Miami' - Yannis doing Robert Smith better than Smith does. Jack completely comes to life on this one as well the drums in 'Miami' will drag you in as well as the guitar. During the verse it's Jimmy on the guitar, someone on an....acoustic and Jack wrecking the drums as Edwin plays around with some awesome synth sounds on his keyboard. Then the chorus comes in "Would you, be there, be there, be there for me?" Which I'm ashamed to say, reminds me of that shitty I'm sure it was the 70s dance song "I'd like to thank you, for letting me, be myself!" I don't know why but they sound really familiar to me, completely ruins the song for me. Oh well. I'd say this is the closest you'll get to "Antidotes" just in the feel as this is the most in your face song on the album.
'Total Life Forever' - Next single. Calling it now. A great tune, very Johnny Marresque guitar throughout the song whether it be Yannis or Jimmy combined with simple keys struck by Edwin make it extremely catchy as does Jack's constant drumming. The first chorus is has some excellent guitar work, however I really think Edwin makes this song and this very quick guitar strumming the guitar does at the end of every verse. The bridge in this song is a bit poor, but it goes into the chorus well as it builds up and becomes louder. I don't understand why they decided to name the album after it though. It's a incredible song, but far from the best.
'Black Gold' - "Top of the world, bottom of the ocean" is how Yannis starts out beautifully. The first mellow song on the album, and it is phenomenal. The chorus comes in beautifully with backing "oooooooooo"s and Yannis calmly singing "The future, it's not what you've seen, not where you've been to at all, the future, is not what it use to be, use to be at all." However half way in the song changes a bit, for the worst I feel. 'Black Gold' drags on for a bit too long (6 minutes long) as Yannis begins to sing how Spring is finally here and about hallow hearts. Regardless of this random singing it is still a magnificent tune.
'Spanish Sahara' - I'm not going in this one again. Go back to the first post if you must, you know how I love this song to death. Simply amazing on the album as well. It's track placement has been receiving a lot of complaints which I understand, having a slow long song like this in the middle can be a turn off to some.
'This Orient' - The first single, why? I have no idea. A good tune, but probably one of the worst on the album. Of course this doesn't mean it's bad, but nothing really sticks out in it. There's a lot of little bells here and there and other sound effects, but there isn't anything constant except for Jack raping the drums like the expert he is. The chorus is really catchy though "It's your heart, your heart, that gives me this Western feeling. Oh do you know? You give me, you give me, this Western feeling" and a particular line I love, which ironically might be my favorite on the album is "No return to that resting place, you've reached it, you've found your grace." However at about 2 and 1/2 minutes in a catchy synth comes in that you should recognize from the website snippets before it picks back up to the chorus again. My favorite part of the song is the ending, partially because it ends, and because there's a kind of whooshing effect to close it all off and makes a great transition to the softer side of the album.
'Fugue' - Roughly 45 second instrumental piano track with some effects. Compare this to the one on "Antidotes" 'Like Swimming" and you'll see how much they've evolved. Simply serves as a transitional piece, and it does it wonderfully.
'After Glow' - Amazing. It will pull you in and keep you there. Starts off with awesome space like effects on the guitar, I really don't know how else to describe it, Jimmy or Yannis are muting his guitar while the other is playing around with this effect, unless it's Edwin of course. Yannis begins singing with "I know I couldn't last very long at all, without you here to break my fall" which will immediately grab your attention. Yannis once again sounds like a Smith impersonator at some points of this song. As the song builds (and it does) Yannis grows louder, and begins his shrieking, however it's not a in your face pump up type like on "Antidotes" more of a how the fuck am I suppose to live without shriek, and no it doesn't sound like Michael Bolton. The backing vocals add a lot to this as well, a lot of "Woah, woah woah" and "Woooooooooohhhhhh" coupled with just simple "Heyo, heyo, heyo, heyo" intense and almost tribal sounding "oooooooohhhh oooooooohhhhhhh woh woh woh" and the guitars going crazy make a perfect climax. However, like 'Black Gold' I feel this one drags on for a bit. Doesn't make it bad at all however.
'Alabaster' - Jesus christ. If any song's going to pull you in it's this one. I have never heard such a captivating song. Beginning with feedback, some distorted noise, and awesome guitar riffs, then more feedback and it just stops for a split second and Yannis's vocals come in and totally kick your ass "She's up in the sky she's up in the (dome/dark)." All of the verses are basically a pounding constant drum, a guitar strumming on the beat simply, and Yannis's demented voice that completely takes control of everything you're doing. Then the chorus comes, and Yannis's delivery of the word "alabster" will have you jumping in adrenaline or crying in joy. After the chorus Jack totally kicks ass with the drums, a rhythmic pounding. At one point it slows down and picks back up beautifully, and this sing, not 'This Orient' has my favorite lyric "And with victory the whole world will be ours, we will fear nothing in it, nothing in it." After it transitions beautifully into the chorus. Jack keeps the drumming the same throughout the whole song, making the transitions work perfectly and simultaneously not seem forced. Fades out excellently.
'2 Trees' - I was scared when I first heard this one, the intro seems similar to 'Heavy Bloom' on "Antidotes" and I'm sure if they wrote this 2 years ago it would had been accompanied with pounding drums. But nope, shows perfectly how they've matured. Most mellow song on the album, just paints a picture of lying on top of a hill and starting into the sky. Very soft and amazing guitar riffs and Yannis's equally soft point make it a very relaxing piece of work. With a chorus going "Don't let go, just hold on, so hold on, it will pass, don't give up, don't let go, grey closet, they'll break up" after the chorus the guitar starts tremolo picking with Yannis just going "aaahhh" and it works perfectly. The guitar keeps this way until the second chorus after and it works beautifully with the licks of the other guitar. After the second chorus the tremolo guitar starts sliding which fits the mood perfectly and Yannis singing "Just breaaaaaaaaaathe." The song ends by slowly becoming more and more distorted, which I don't really agree with but it's all for transitional purposes.
'What Remains' - Beginning with a simple note pattern by Edwin and guitars accompanying it, Jack comes in beautifully on this one as well. This is also Walter's best song on the album too, the bass really adds a lot to the experience. The chorus comes across very powerful by Jack banging the cymbal and Yannis screaming "I've been to the darkest place I know." Then the song really does a 180. It becomes a lot like how Miami is. It goes back though, thankfully, the guitar lingers though, it fits, but would be better with something else. Probably one of the lesser songs on the album. Oh and it ends out of no where, what the hell? Anyway I would write more but it really doesn't change and Yannis is hard to understand in it.
Best to worst as of this moment:
Total Life Forever
The placing of 'Spanish Sahara' has been getting a lot of criticism as I said earlier. Having it in the middle doesn't really bother me too much, I just don't like how it's before 'This Orient'. The whole album has basically a fast and then a slow side. 'Spanish Sahara' and 'This Orient' completely ruin that. It goes Fast + 'Spanish Sahara' then + 'This Orient' and then Slow. Switch those two where they're at and you got fast to slow. Oh well it's still phenomenal.
Total Life Forever is my favorite album of all time. It is constant, deep, and just outright perfect. Some songs drag on a bit but other than that I really don't have any complaints. Foals have completely changed in their style, they have lost their math rock roots and have become a completely different and better entity. Eagerly awaiting their tour dates!
With that being said go listen to this album now.