The Foo Fighters are a tough band to dislike and Dave Grohl is almost impossible to dislike. Consequence of Sound took six serious Foo fans and take a crack at their catalogue.
With Foo Fighters, Grohl has become one of the most recognizable faces in not only the genre but the music industry. Nobody can forget his mug, and while some may attribute that success to his uncanny optimism, the reality is that his band is always in the charts whenever they have a new album. Those kids just can’t get enough of Foo.
Because of this, six Foo fans decided to rank every Foo Fighters song, including every song off their latest release, Concrete and Gold. Naturally, there are the usual caveats: No songs are included that have only been released in demo form, and no covers will be found here. We learned a lot about the band in the process, but most noticeably these three items:
Here’s the top three:
03. “TIMES LIKE THESE”
ONE BY ONE (2002)
Many folks dig on the acoustic version of “Times Like These”. Maybe it’s because the sonics more closely match Dave Grohl’s self-doubt at the time of writing One by One’s best song. But we’ll always go for the electric. It’s simply more uplifting, thanks in no small part to Grohl and Chris Shiflett’s dueling leads. Their guitar lines intertwine, then float away, as if the two musicians are having a conversation in the sky. Sure, the piano in the unplugged version is purdy, but when you’re feeling like shit — as the entire band was during the recording of One by One — what would you rather have? A ballad or an anthem? –Dan Caffrey
FOO FIGHTERS (1995)
Fun fact: “Exhausted” is technically the band’s first single. Issued as a rare promotional 12″, the sludgy, psychedelic ballad cracked open the Foo mythology on January 8, 1995, through a broadcast on Eddie Vedder’s Self-Pollution Radio. Imagine the context, though. Everyone knew it was Grohl’s official follow-up to Nirvana, specifically their third studio album, 1993’s In Utero, an aural wasteland of sticky hooks, sharp distortion, and macabre poetry. “Exhausted” stays true to that album’s spirit; it’s lonely, it’s loud, it’s unpredictable, and it’s fucking depressing.
At 4:23, when Grohl barrels back into the main riff, it’s as if he’s purging everything he learned with the Seattle outfit, which may explain why it’s a) the first single for the Foo Fighters, b) the closing track on his self-titled debut, and c) a type of sound they never continued. Fans who like to talk about which Foo Fighters songs pay homage to the late Cobain should be pointing to this one. It’s the bridge between the two iconic bands, and like any great bridge in any iconic city, it’s always worth walking over again for a wider perspective. It also helps that the song flat-out rules. –Michael Roffman
THE COLOUR AND THE SHAPE (1997)
I could be wrong, but I swear I’ve heard David Letterman introduce several musical acts on his show as “my favorite band.” Regardless, he’s always seemed to mean it with the Foo Fighters. They were the first musicians he asked to be on the Late Show after his quintuple bypass surgery in 2000, brought in to play his favorite song. Of course, it was “Everlong”. What else would it have been? There will no doubt be a string of comments lamenting the deep cuts and B-sides that should have made it higher on this list, but I’ll be genuinely surprised if anyone disagrees with number one. And that’s because it has stakes. Remember, Dave Grohl wrote the song’s lyrics while his marriage crumbled around him and he fell in love with another woman. He had both nothing and everything to lose. His (and later Taylor Hawkins’) hissing ride on the hi-hit adds further urgency, and by the end, the risk could apply to anything: divorce, forming a band, heart surgery.
Like a lot of people, Letterman got helped through a difficult period by “Everlong”, something he elaborated on when he invited Foo Fighters back to play it again in 2011. The sound was bigger — Nate Mendel’s bass bubbled, the guitars had multiplied to three, and the audience furiously clapped along. And that’s to say nothing of its ultimate encore as the song that would bring down the curtain on Letterman’s Late Show tenure forever. This time, it even got its own fireworks display. Yet despite the expansion, the sentiment remained the same. “Everlong” will always be universal. It will always be about risk, about holding your breath and leaping into the unknown. Everyone loves it, and, for once, everyone is right. –Dan Caffrey
Check out the whole CoS list here.