What Went Down

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What Went Down
What went down cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released28 August 2015
StudioLa Fabrique
(Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France)
GenreIndie rock
ProducerJames Ford
Foals chronology
Holy Fire
What Went Down
Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1
Singles from What Went Down
  1. "What Went Down"
    Released: 16 June 2015
  2. "Mountain at My Gates"
    Released: 21 July 2015
  3. "Give It All"
    Released: 25 December 2015
  4. "Birch Tree"
    Released: 15 January 2016

What Went Down is the fourth studio album by British rock band Foals, released on 28 August 2015 via Transgressive Records in the United Kingdom.[1] The album is produced by James Ford, known for his work with Simian Mobile Disco, The Last Shadow Puppets and Arctic Monkeys amongst others. According to frontman Yannis Philippakis, it is slated to be their loudest and heaviest record to date.[2] What Went Down debuted at number 3 on the UK Albums Chart and at number 58 on the Billboard 200, making it their highest charting album in the United States to date. It is the band's last album with bassist Walter Gervers prior to his departure in January 2018.

Promotion and release[]

On 9 June 2015, a 12-second clip teaser of the band performing aggressively in an empty warehouse entitled "FOALS // 2015" was released through their social media.[3] Two days later, it was announced that What Went Down was to be released 28 August 2015 via Transgressive Records with a slightly longer trailer in lieu.[4]

On 16 June, the album's self-titled debut single was debuted on DJ Annie Mac's BBC Radio 1 show,[5] along with the premiere of the music video (directed by Niall O'Brien) via YouTube.[6]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[9]
The Daily Telegraph4/5 stars[10]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[11]
The Guardian3/5 stars[12]
Mojo4/5 stars[13]
Q4/5 stars[16]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[17]

What Went Down received largely positive reviews from contemporary music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 77, based on 23 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[8]

Mark Beaumont of NME praised the album saying, "For ‘What Went Down’, written in their Oxford “stinkbox”, they have found their fulcrum. Riffs. Massive, fucking heavy cavern rock riffs, the size of cathedrals and the weight of God's balls. They slammed into your eardrums like wrecking balls the first time you heard the compulsive title-track, aghast that these desert rock goliaths could be the same band that sounded like frivolous disco pixies just two years ago. Opening their fourth album, Yannis roaring “When I see a man I see a lion!” over its Stooges-meets-Queens fuzz throttle, it sounds like a defining statement, an arrival. 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."[14]

Ian Cohen of Pitchfork gave the album a generally positive review noting that, "What Went Down is the latest example of Foals’ uncanny ability to make records whose basic musical trajectory and quality are nearly equal regardless of the band's intentions going in. And What Went Down is their most consistent, steady-handed work yet—the distance between their purest pop moments ("Miami", "My Number") and their opulent ballads ("Spanish Sahara") has virtually disappeared. It's also significantly less exciting than Total Life Forever and Holy Fire, dynamic records because of their unevenness and ambitious strain—while Foals have realized a sound that's truly their own, they sound far too comfortable in it."[15]


Publication Accolade Year Rank
NME NME's Albums of the Year 2015 2015

Track listing[]

1."What Went Down"5:00
2."Mountain at My Gates"4:02
3."Birch Tree"4:21
4."Give It All"4:47
6."Snake Oil"4:21
7."Night Swimmers"4:44
8."London Thunder"4:14
9."Lonely Hunter"4:37
10."A Knife in the Ocean"6:52
Total length:48:21
Digital deluxe edition
11."What Went Down" (official video)5:41
12."Mountain at My Gates" (official video)4:01
13."Birch Tree" (lyric video)4:22
14."Give It All" (Poolside Session)5:41
15."Albatross" (CCTV Session)6:06
16."Snake Oil" (CCTV Session)5:02
17."Night Swimmers" (lyric video)4:43
18."London Thunder" (Poolside Session)4:49
19."Lonely Hunter" (CCTV Session)5:28
20."A Knife in the Ocean" (lyric video)6:54
21."Crème anglaise" (Making of What Went Down) (iTunes exclusive)27:58
Deluxe edition DVD
1."Crème anglaise" (Making of What Went Down)27:59
2."What Went Down" (official video)5:48
3."Give It All" (Poolside Session)5:40
4."London Thunder" (Poolside Session)4:47



  • Yannis Philippakis – vocals, guitar, art direction
  • Jack Bevan – drums
  • Jimmy Smith – guitar, keyboards
  • Walter Gervers – bass, backing vocals
  • Edwin Congreave – keyboards, backing vocals

Technical personnel

  • James Ford – producer, additional keyboards, guitar & percussion
  • Jimmy Robertson – engineer
  • Damien Arlot – studio assistant
  • Alan Moulder – mixing at Assault & Battery Studios, London
  • Caesar Edmunds – mix assistant
  • John Davis – mastering at Metropolis Studios, London
  • Foals – studio photography
  • Daisuke Yokota – artwork and additional photography
  • Neil Krug – additional photography
  • Mike Lythgoe – design

DVD personnel

  • Kit Monteith and Foals – filming and editing of "Crème anglaise" and the Poolside Sessions
  • Niall O'Brien – director of "What Went Down"
  • Liz Kessler – producer of "What Went Down"



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[36] Gold 100,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Kimberley-Marie Sklinar Green. "Foals share new material: all 12 seconds of it". Never Enough Notes.
  2. ^ "Foals Interview: Yannis Philippakis On Their Most Volatile, Intense Album Yet". NME.
  3. ^ FOALS // 2015. YouTube. 9 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Foals". Pitchfork.
  5. ^ "Foals". Pitchfork.
  6. ^ FOALS - What Went Down [Official Music Video]. 16 June 2015 – via YouTube.
  7. ^ "What Went Down by Foals reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  8. ^ Jump up to: a b "Reviews for What Went Down by Foals". Metacritic. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  9. ^ Donelson, Marcy. "What Went Down – Foals". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  10. ^ McCormick, Neil (25 August 2015). "Foals, What Went Down, review: 'brutally imposing'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  11. ^ Anderson, Kyle (28 August 2015). "What Went Down". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  12. ^ Mokoena, Tshepo (27 August 2015). "Foals: What Went Down review – bulked-up indie with a hypermasculine snarl". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  13. ^ Doyle, Tom (24 August 2015). "Foals – What Went Down". Mojo. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  14. ^ Jump up to: a b Beaumont, Mark (25 August 2015). "Foals – 'What Went Down'". NME. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  15. ^ Jump up to: a b Cohen, Ian (2 September 2015). "Foals: What Went Down". Pitchfork. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  16. ^ "Foals: What Went Down". Q (351): 100. October 2015.
  17. ^ Dolan, Jon (28 August 2015). "What Went Down". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  18. ^ Snapes, Laura (October 2015). "Foals: What Went Down". Uncut (221): 75.
  19. ^ "NME'S Albums of the Year 2015". NME. Retrieved 2015-12-10.
  20. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Foals – What Went Down". Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  21. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Foals – What Went Down" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  22. ^ "Ultratop.be – Foals – What Went Down" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  23. ^ "Ultratop.be – Foals – What Went Down" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  24. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Foals – What Went Down" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  25. ^ "Lescharts.com – Foals – What Went Down". Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  26. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  27. ^ "Album Top 40 slágerlista – 2015. 38. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  28. ^ "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week 36, 2015". Chart-Track. IRMA. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  29. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Foals – What Went Down". Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  30. ^ "NZ Top 40 Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. September 7, 2015. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  31. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – Foals – What Went Down". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  32. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Foals – What Went Down". Hung Medien. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  33. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  34. ^ "Foals Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  35. ^ "End of Year Album Chart Top 100 – 2015". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  36. ^ "British album certifications – Foals – What Went Down". British Phonographic Industry.Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type What Went Down in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
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