Top 10 Best Foo Fighters Songs
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When Nirvana collapsed in the wake of Kurt Cobain’s suicide, few would have guessed that the band’s drummer, Dave Grohl, would end up fronting one of the most successful rock bands of the last 20 years. But yet Foo Fighters have been a dynamo, churning out a slew of hit singles. Picking their 10 best songs is not easy, and maybe your personal favorites didn’t make the cut. But, hey, that’s part of the fun of making a list, right?
“This Is a Call” (from ‘Foo Fighters’)
The first song most people heard from Foo Fighters was this punchy indie-rock number, the debut single and opening track from Dave Grohl’s new band’s first album. And in this four-minute track, Foo laid out everything they would do throughout their career: sing-along choruses, huge guitars, powerful hooks. This was a call to what the future would hold.
“Long Road to Ruin” (from ‘Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace’)
Foo Fighters have an uncanny ability to make songs that sound big and openhearted, even when they’re talking about sad times. “Long Road to Ruin” is about the difficulties that everybody faces, but Grohl’s hopeful vocals and the surging guitars suggest that maybe happier days might still be in front of us.
“Big Me” (from ‘Foo Fighters’)
Although Grohl came from the punk and indie-rock worlds, “Big Me” hinted at his interest in big, fat pop melodies. But there wasn’t anything sappy or forced about this gentle love song. Instead, the track glides along on its simple sweetness. Go figure: The onetime Nirvana drummer had a big heart on his sleeve.
“Learn to Fly” (from ‘There Is Nothing Left to Lose’)
Few bands are as good at merging pop and rock as Foo Fighters are, constructing radio-friendly hits that don’t feel wimpy. “Learn to Fly” tackles a typical Grohl lyrical preoccupation—the search for a better tomorrow—but its level of craft is simply superb. The damn thing is so catchy you may not want to listen to it: You’ll never get it out of your head.
“Friend of a Friend” (from ‘In Your Honor’)
“Friend of a Friend” actually dates back to Grohl’s time in Nirvana, but it finally surfaced on the acoustic disc of the band’s 2005 double-album collection In Your Honor. Always an emphatically emotional songwriter, Grohl gets to an especially deep place here, singing about his early days after he had joined Nirvana.
“Next Year” (from ‘There Is Nothing Left to Lose’)
Is it a song about life on the road, wanting to be close to the woman you love, or maybe a little bit of both? Whatever the meaning, “Next Year” is one of Foo Fighters’ most casually beautiful tunes, a deceptively slight ode to the promise of the future.
“All My Life” (from ‘One by One’)
As Foo Fighters have evolved, they’ve become less of a hard rock unit. But while “All My Life” is certainly an accessible piece of mainstream rock, it’s more hard-edged and snarling than a lot of their recent work. From its spare guitar riff to Grohl’s angry vocals, “All My Life” proved that Foo Fighters hadn’t gone soft.
“My Hero” (from ‘The Colour and the Shape’)
Horribly overplayed on movie soundtracks and rock radio, “My Hero” might have lost some of its sharpness through its ubiquity in pop culture. But if you can go back to the first time you heard this towering rocker, remember how it just grabbed you by the throat. Grohl will have to probably spend the rest of his life insisting this song isn’t about Kurt Cobain, but a classic it remains.
“Walking After You” (from ‘The Colour and the Shape’)
“Everlong” is a popular song, but it is surprising that the ballad after it on The Colour and the Shape wasn’t the huge hit. Off an album about the end of a relationship, “Walking After You” was the record’s definitive, bittersweet ode to a love that just won’t die, even if the other party has already walked away. This is one of Grohl’s most heartrending and vulnerable performances.
“I’ll Stick Around” (from ‘Foo Fighters’)
The historians will note that “I’ll Stick Around” is about Grohl’s contentious business relationship with Cobain’s wife Courtney Love after his death. But rock fans will forever enjoy the pure power of the song’s guitar-fuelled kiss-off to an unnamed enemy, concluding with its inspired “I don’t owe you anything” chant. And Grohl proved true to his word: He has indeed stuck around, enjoying a very fruitful career in the process.