Part 2 Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Foals

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“I think it will be remembered as part of one work,” Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis tells Apple Music. “But it’s definitely the second series of the show. We left part one on a cliffhanger, and now the series is going to end. You get the full picture here.” Released in March 2019, Part 1 Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost earned Foals their third Mercury Prize nomination. This is its second part, released seven months later. It tackles album one’s political and societal ruminations with an extraordinary clobbering of guitar rebellion, before the most exquisitely contemplative music of their career brings the project to its poignant close. They’ve never had more oomph or more to say. “This album does have a different character,” Philippakis says. “There’s a different palate, which can be more direct and confrontational. But it is all fundamentally the product of the same time. Everything has come from the same petri dish.” Let Philippakis guide you through his band’s climactic, thrilling sixth album, track by track.

Red Desert
“Jimmy [Smith, Foals rhythm guitarist] wrote this on his own, and when he sent it over, I just felt like it could have been an alternate soundtrack to 2001: A Space Odyssey. It was a perfect musical expression of part one’s aftermath—this haunting, barren expanse. We wanted to open part two with a big bang, which takes us into…”

The Runner
“This has instantly resonated with people, it seems. It definitely takes place after part one—it’s about both wanting to combat one’s internal struggles and is perhaps symbolic for the struggle we face as a society to overcome bigger problems. It’s also about just trying to keep one’s resolve up and not falling into despair or nihilism. When we wrote the riff, it was just physically gratifying to us in the room. As soon as we started playing it onstage, we knew it was going to become a mainstay of the set—which I really think it will be. It’s also got probably the creamiest solo I’ve ever written.”

Wash Off
“We really just revelled in returning to pure Foals guitars for this one. We wanted the whole first half of this album to have a real sense of movement. Part one was occasionally more contemplative or more textural, but with the first half of part two, we just wanted it to have a real urgency musically. The lyrics also needed to have a restlessness—for it to feel twitchy, like you’re trying to escape both from imagined and paranoid threats, but also real ones as well. This song has a kind of joy to it. The lyrics allude to living for oneself and striving to seize the day. I wanted to shake off the cobwebs. This whole second album has some preoccupations with mortality, and they’re definitely present here.”

Black Bull
“As soon as we wrote the riff, I felt the song should be called ‘Black Bull’. There was something heathen and primal about it. As I started thinking about the lyrics, I wanted it to be a capsule full of negative or conflicting male traits. Delusions of grandeur, arrogance, pride, feelings of immortality—all things that have this maniacal energy to it. We were also thinking about how this would be performed live. It felt like a potent song, and tracks like this and the album ‘What Went Down’ feel to us like vessels to express a type of rage.”

Like Lightning
“This is one of the most bluesy songs we’ve written. I think that it’s one where we just wanted it to have a physical gratification to it, for it to be a kind of an earthquake stomp. It has that twitchiness—there’s a kind of paranoia to it. There are these forces out to get you and you’ve got to keep moving, you’ve got to take care of yourself. You’ve got to survive, basically.”

Dreaming Of
“‘Dreaming Of’ started as one of the poppier songs we’ve written in this group. We then de-popped as we went along. I think we added in some stranger spaces to it. Here, there’s definitely a sense of that movement I spoke about. I was definitely thinking about Oxford, where we grew up, and how far we’ve come now. The spires of Oxford feel like a distant past, and I wanted to express how we’re often trying to free ourselves from our histories. ‘The Runner’, ‘Wash Off’ and ‘Like Lightning’ are three perfect bedfellows. ‘Dreaming Of’ is the transition into the second half.”

“It’s called ‘Ikaria’ because that’s the island Icarus was sent to when he flew too close to the sun. Icarus is a great metaphor and myth for what’s happening with the world right now, I think. Where through all our technological processes and supposed advancement, we’re actually at the point where we might undo ourselves, facing extinction. So I like that it connected to the Greek imagery, but also taps back into the deeper themes in the album. It’s a moment of respite that allows you to take a breath. It also segues into the more dreamlike second half. When we were sequencing the record, we just felt it was a perfect trajectory to end the record. It goes from the darker, edgier first half into getting ready to depart and finish everything.”

10,000 Feet
“When we were playing this in the room, I just had images of falling. Dancing thousands of feet up in the sky and then falling. That’s partly why also ‘Ikaria’ is called what it is. We just felt there was something open-skied about it—both really open and heavy at the same time. The verse is up in the air, then you kind of come crashing down to earth in the riff and the chorus. There’s a lyric about being turned into a ‘wedding ring you can wear’. This was inspired by an architect in Mexico whose ashes were turned into a diamond ring. It was an image that just stuck with me. One form of remaining alive forever after is being turned into a diamond through your ashes. I found that both ghoulish and beautiful.”

Into the Surf
“‘Into The Surf’ is probably the most tender song on both albums. I just wanted to tap into that longing and melancholy of being separated from one’s homeland and awaiting the return of a loved one and that return never coming. So it just felt like it came very easy, that song, in terms of writing it. You’re also entering the final stages of the album. I like the fact that the songs about mortality come at the end of the album. Where you get into the 18th song of a two-album project, there’s no alternative other than spiralling off into departure, basically.”

“This is one of our favourite songs we’ve ever written. We had the core structure, then when we were doing takes of it live in the room, we just decided to have the jam that’s in the middle. That’s an essentially unedited jam we fell in love with. It’s exactly how it was, with some synthesisers and background vocals laid over the top. Lyrically, it concludes the journey: We’ve gone from the UK with its ‘white wards’ and foxes and all the threats in songs like ‘Exits’ for part one, then it’s about trying to find refuge in Greece, where still there’s no refuge to be found. It finishes with lines about things coming to an end—there’s one line about the digital afterlife. I became interested in what happens when people pass away and their social media accounts remain online forever as these strange digital mausoleums. It’s very much me being preoccupied with my own mortality and wondering what happens next. To end with the big climactic, quite grandiose finale is the only way to end an ambitious project, I think—particularly after the understated end of part one.”

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