AOTY 2023

What Went Down

Foals - What Went Down
Critic Score
Based on 32 reviews
2015 Ratings: #278 / 1019
User Score
Based on 566 ratings
2015 Ratings: #259
Liked by 59 people
August 28, 2015 / Release Date
LP / Format
Indie Rock / Genre
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‘What Went Down’ - recorded in a 19th-century mill in the South of France - thinks bigger and hits harder than its predecessors.

Entertainment Weekly

With a summer that’s been light on rock thrills, What Went Down is a welcome savior.


Indeed it’s hard to see What Went Down as anything other than a third Mercury Prize nomination-in-waiting – these Birds are Perky indeed.

Pretty Much Amazing

With their fourth album What Went Down, Foals have finally emerged as the apex predator of Britain’s tangled and treacherous rock ‘n’ roll landscape.


The result is dense, and keenly focused; instead of pin balling between ideas Foals seem to have settled on a solid aesthetic. These songs are rich, at times highly emotive, and constantly simmering.


Foals consolidate their position here by continuing to do what they do best, namely expressing big emotions loudly through fizzing rock anger or unbridled, danceable joy.

Rolling Stone
Their fourth and best album plays up a dark, bracing urgency.

What Went Down shows Foals coming into their own and excelling at blending the styles they have explored over previous records to create a varied and textured offering that will add depth to their high-energy live shows.

Drowned in Sound

This record is likely to re-energise their momentum, rather than rocketing them into the upper stratospheres.

The Line of Best Fit

While not a step forward, What Went Down is a consolidation and refinement of Foals’ artistic strengths and explorations over their previous trio of albums.

The 405

The album has some big similarities with those that came before but rather than being seen as stagnation this is quite obviously a band starting down a path to grow, explore, refine and ultimately discover who they are.

The Skinny

Foals' latest cleaves closely to the melodic narrative arc set by 2013’s pivotal Holy Fire, but sets itself subtly apart with its insidious, atmospheric chill. 


What Went Down should please fans of Holy Fire, and they may not be the only ones drawn to its gloomy and persistent energy.


'What Went Down' arrives without any obvious standout singles and is a far cry from Foals' early energetic indie sound. On the other hand, it's impossible to deny that the overall album is a hugely accomplished effort .


They’ve mastered math rock, destroyed disco and flattened funk, now they measure hard rock in their hands like a medicine ball, and find it a comfortable weight.


While Foals have realized a sound that's truly their own, they sound far too comfortable in it.

Under the Radar

At their best, Foals are able to reach barn-burning rock heights through a careful blend of volume and multi-layered, swirling guitar and bass lines. What Went Down contains a few of those ecstatic moments, but they're disappointingly sparse.

The Guardian

On this latest effort, the band complete their transformation from more rugged Alt-J, all twitchy math-rock and clattering percussion – still found on "Albatross" – to meaty stadium rock act.

Time Out London
In short: awe-inspiring but weirdly unlovable. For all its virtues, ‘What Went Down’ isn’t actually very much fun.
Consequence of Sound

Here it’s pop with pill-sized glamour, albeit dark, that unfortunately resonates like a collection of songs so overworked they lost their initial inspiration, improvisation, and, most clearly, spirit.

The Needle Drop

Despite it's dark album cover and heavy teaser tracks, Foals' What Went Down seems to be Foals as usual: A little depression, a little dance, a little drab.


Barring a couple solid songs that fit their catalog fairly nicely, What Went Down offers nothing that their previous albums don’t deliver in a much more satisfying and ample way.


Hi, I am AOTY User fucktobymaguire (name holds up to this day especially since he bought a huge patch for dirt for like 10 million or some shit, who the fuck does that) and I am here to proclaim that the lead singer of indie/dance-punk/ImagineDragonsbutbetter band Foals, Yannis Philippakis, is an incredibly hot individual and holy SHIT when I see this herculean legend and his large fucking muscles I wonder if I may be completely gay after all.

That is all. Enjoy the rest of your day!


It’s hard to recall a rock album from 2015 that has managed to balance balls to the wall heavy rock and cordial little tracks all on the one LP. Foals have proven yet again that it’s not in their DNA to make a bad album.


A boring downer and one of their most forgettable.


It's on the same quality level like "Holy Fire". Very strong album, front to back.


YikYak, Vine, UV Blue and Gatorade, God do I miss 2015. The year hold so much nostalgia and there’s a rose colored tint from that year that permeates my entire life, much of it due to the incredible and influential music that was being released. I’m shocked it’s taken me this long to get into Foals. On ‘What Went Down’ you hear the soul and the levity that’s been lost in so much of what is currently considered “indie music”.
This record ... read more


Foal do not put out a bad album! Stand out songs are Mountain At My Gates, Birch Tree and London Thunder

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Added on: June 11, 2015