Ranking FOALS discography in light of their most recent album.
After releasing their newest album, I take a look back on the Foals discography as a whole to consider what I think is their worst and their best albums and try to order them in that way. To clarify, when I say worst I don’t mean it’s necessarily a bad album, its just not their best work.
WHAT WENT DOWN- I Briefly discussed my opinions of this album in my review of “Everything not saved will be lost”. It’s alright, I guess. Definitely their weakest album, hence why its at the bottom of this list. Musically it feels a bit all over the place, its a tad inconsistent in places with it sounding like they didn’t really know what direction they wanted the album to go in. The brilliant opening track “What went down” had some good, hard rock vibes and “Mountain at my gates” was good too, although when I think about it these tracks were very similar stylistically to “Inhaler” and “My Number” off Holy Fire. What I mean by that is it was a hard rock track being followed up by a more poppy, indie track. They are good songs though, the rest of the album however, is pretty forgetful.
TOTAL LIFE FOREVER – The bands second album the follow up to the brilliant Antidotes lost a bit of what made their first album so great. This album saw the band wanting to mature, but, perhaps they were trying to do that at too quick a pace. It lost a lot of the youthful feel of Antidotes and the raw production the album had. It still had some of the dance/punk influence of its predecessor but it wasn’t quite as apparent. It has some excellent tracks though. “Spanish Sahara” is a beautiful track and a staple now at their live shows. Its a nice slow burner, beginning quite mellow but gradually building up until it explodes into with this nice dance/punk instrumentation. The album does keep some of the Math Rock influences of Antidotes and this is seen in tracks like “Miami” and “This Orient”, which are some of the nicer cuts on the record. The opener “Blue Blood” is a great track too, it has nice instrumentation and is quite a mellow track to open what is quite a mellow album.
HOLY FIRE – This album was actually my first exposure to Foals way back in 2013 so is quite a nostalgic album for me and was around the time I started really getting into music. I like this album a lot, personally and to be honest that probably is the nostalgia I have for the album, but thats not a bad thing. Despite that nostalgia I feel I can accept that musically its not quite as good as the top 2, but its much stronger musically and thematically than TLF and WWD. “Prelude” which an introductory instrumental only track that opens the album quite nicely, the instrumentation is actually really nice here and its the perfect build up to the explosive hard rock banger “Inhaler” which has these really great guitar hooks in the chorus. It’s quite mellow in the verses but that makes the crashing chorus even stronger. “My Number” is an indie rock banger and there isn’t much else to say on the matter. “Providence” is another hard rock anthem with really great instrumentation, it feels like a throwback to “Antidotes” era, it’s a bit more experimental. The tacks slow, closing ballad “Moon” is a nice way to finish off the album too.
Everything Not Saved will be Lost – This was a return to form for the band after What Went Down. I did a full review for this album, in which, I gave it a 9 out of 10. There isn’t really much else for me to add on to what I said in that review, so its best to just read that if you’re interested in why its placed 2nd. Overall, the album is strong musically and thematically and features some really nice, tight production. The songs are more experimental and it feels like the group moving forward/evolving in the right direction.
Antidotes – This is the one that started it all. It’s a fusion of math rock and dance punk was quite exceptional featuring these great brass sections in the background of some tracks. Making it definitely one of the most interesting indie rock albums to come out in the noughties. Whether the band have struggled to recreate what made this album so great or just chosen to mature away from it (I think it’s the latter option). The album has a very youthful feel that none of the following albums feature, as I have said earlier all of their albums do feature some of the influence from their debut but its not as apparent. It’s by far their most unique album and I can’t really think of many other bands that have created an album in a similar vein to this? The album features this amazing, fast paced energy and thats packed into every song. Every track is vibrant and feels unique each with their own influences, from “Two Steps Twice”, to “Cassius” to tracks with a more mellow vibe like “Olympic Airways”. It’s quite incredible that a band had a debut that was experimental as this was. It’s a shame that they lost that in some of their succeeding releases.