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Foiled

Blue October

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Album Review

Three years since Blue October's last studio album, Foiled keeps true to the eclectic mix of passionately delivered post-grunge that has built the band a core of loyal fans over the years. And while it's this eclectic quality that allows Blue October to sneak successful singles to the top of modern rock charts, the somewhat challenging nature of their music is also what seems to keep them from really staying in the mainstream spotlight. After all, many of the same people who would eat up the soaring "Hate Me" — which was gathering considerable momentum on radio before Foiled's release — might not comprehend the rest of the album compared to their copies of the latest from Nickelback and Alter Bridge. They may enjoy the up and down nature — from introspective brooding to straightforward rock — that appears on "What If We Could," but the album's highlights come in the moments when the band doesn't rely on in-your-face tactics to get its point across. The often desolate and anguished nature of Justin Furstenfeld's lyrics complement his aching voice, which still comes off as a self-aware, less pious Ed Kowalczyk, along with Ryan Delahoussaye's affecting violin. As such, while "Hate Me" is the catchy, more formulaic song of the album, his distraught confrontation of the personal selfishness that apparently ruined a past love makes the song work beyond radio accessibility. Sheesh, every jilted girlfriend of a messed-up relationship should be so lucky as to have a remorseful guy outwardly admit sentiments like "Kicking shadows on the street for every mistake that I had made/And like a baby boy I never was a man." The dark "Drilled a Wire Through My Cheek" explores Furstenfeld's somewhat split personality with a crunchy rap/rock chorus that contrasts the funk guitar of calmer, introspective sections. On the lighter side, "Everlasting Friend" is a warmly executed, piano-laced delight that hints, along with the intimate "18th Floor Balcony," that the often broken frontman still holds hope close. Things get a little hairy, however, on the deviating "X Amount of Words." A New Order-ish techno beat leads the song's delivery into realms similar to — no, seriously — Ciara's "Goodies" with occasional background vocals appearing with a likeness to Linkin Park's Chester Bennington; but at least the sheer weirdness of the song makes it admittedly fun. Overall, Foiled is a multifaceted effort that delivers more than History for Sale and, thus, should delight fans with its arrival. Whether or not the mainstream is now ready for Blue October has yet to be determined.

Biography

Formed: 1996 in Houston, TX

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Texas quintet Blue October formed during the post-grunge boom of the mid-'90s when vocalist/guitarist Justin Furstenfeld began penning angst-ridden rock songs with the help of his brother, drummer Jeremy Furstenfeld, and violinist Ryan Delahoussaye. Bassist Liz Mullaly and lead guitarist Brant Coulter completed the band's initial lineup, and Blue October released an independent debut album, The Answers, in 1998. The band's emotive brand of post-grunge led to the sale of 5,000 copies in...
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Foiled, Blue October
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