With their first album having been released in 1995, there are a lot of competitors for the top ten spots…
Foo Fighters; some would argue the phoenix that rose from the ashes of Nirvana, others shun any attempt at relating the two. Regardless of how you feel about their origins, Dave Grohl is undeniably one of the coolest people alive, and if you like rock, it’s pretty much guaranteed you like Foos.
Attempting to create a top ten list, for any hardcore Foo Fighters fan, is painful. They have nine albums to choose from, plus another set to come out this summer. But within the plethora of songs Foo Fighters have to offer, there are a certain few that just seem to scream out (literally) that they deserve the top spot.
10. Learn to Fly
For a Foo Fighters’ song, ‘Learn to Fly’ is pretty mellow. Strolling along (if any Foos song can allow for less than a power walk) at 136 bpm, it probably doesn’t hype you up that much.
However, the iconic and uplifting lyrics pull you in right from the get-go with ‘Run and tell all of the angels / this could take all night’. An awe-inspiring image, but one that fits Dave’s generally inspiring reputation as a superhuman come to bless our ears.
This song gets a respectable tenth place, but doesn’t go any higher due to its lack of classic Foo Fighters energy. It doesn’t get the heart thumping in the same way that others on this list do so elegantly.
That’s not to say it’s not an incredible tune though…
9. Let it Die
The gentle introduction to ‘Let It Die’ isn’t fooling anyone; the fact that the song will inevitably explode at some point seems obvious from the start. That’s one of the things that makes this song so great.
The undeniable apprehension and excitement that climbs as you wait for the angsty ‘do you ever think of me?’, and once it comes, there’s no turning back (No Way Back? Get it? Just me?). From there, the song just keeps climbing, and aside from a one bar break back to the chilling stand-alone guitar phrase, the song builds up constantly until Grohl erupts into a scream.
The song is epic, there is no denying that. It just doesn’t hit home that hard. The lyrics are relatable but more because they’re pretty vague and generalised. Despite that however, this song gives a sense of redemption and awe to whoever’s listening, hence its solid placement at number nine.
8. The Pretender
The Pretender is one of the most popular and well-known Foo Fighters songs there is. The band took home a Grammy in 2008 for Best Hard Rock Performance belonging to a performance of this song. It also got nominated for Best Rock Song and Record of the Year.
So, needless to say, some fans will not be happy with The Pretender sitting as low as eighth on this list.
The song is undeniably a crowd pleaser, with a classic Foos build up and a lead guitar riff to end all guitar riffs. The lyrics are catchy, meaningful and bring out the angsty teen in all listeners. So why isn’t it even in the top five?
It comes down to this: no one is denying it’s an awesome song, but for people who enjoy Foo Fighters as fans of rock, rather than general fans of music, the band has so much more to offer than what is shown in ‘The Pretender’.
‘The Pretender’ is the perfect song to show someone if you want to introduce them to Foo Fighters or even rock more generally, but it isn’t the best song that Foo Fighters have given us.
7. Best of You
As soon as Grohl’s crisp voice comes ripping through your earphones, this song has you hooked. Essentially a break-up song, it’s easily relatable. Hasn’t everyone felt that fear that their ex has moved on or cheated?
The emotionally fuelled bridge with cutting lyrics ‘has someone taken your faith? / It’s real, the pain you feel / the life, the love you’d die to heal’ is guaranteed to get anyone walking a step faster and feeling considerably more pumped than when the song started (that is, if they weren’t already listening to Foo Fighters beforehand).
For Foo Fighters fans who have been lucky enough to see the band live, the end of chorus one, with the powerful ‘oh’s belted by Grohl, will undoubtedly cause a flashback to a live show. Because in this particular part of the song, Grohl almost always initiates an epic call and response with the audience; filling the listener with both intense nostalgia, and a little jealousy of their past selves.
Long story short, if you’re going through a tough break-up and need to let it all out, this is the song for you.
6. No Way Back
Late for a meeting? Missed your morning coffee? Listen to this song. The hit it will give you is better than caffeine, and it’ll put a spring in your step that’ll double your walking speed.
From start to finish, this song does not let up. It is 3 minutes and 16 seconds of pure energy and grin-inducing power. The chorus ‘Pleased to meet you take my hand / There is no way back from here’ makes the listener feel that they’ve embarked on some reckless adventure with Grohl himself, and they’re all in.
For anyone who uses music to get them through the day, this song is an essential.
This song is a rogue choice. The album ‘Sonic Highways’ received generally kind reviews, but didn’t take off to the same extent of some of Foos’ other albums. ‘Congregation’, however, stands alone as an incredible song.
Made in collaboration with Zac Brown Band as part of TV documentary ‘Foo Fighters Sonic Highways’, it’s a song that gets away with lyrics that aren’t the most interpretable to those who aren’t up to date on their Nashville references, or who haven’t seen the documentary.
The song makes up for its ambiguous lyrics with a piercing guitar riff that packs a punch, and a chorus that makes you feel invincible. It’s also a song that might have flown under the radar of some more old school Foo’s fans, making it a slightly under appreciated song.
4. These Days
‘These Days’ is a song that at first, might seem a little underwhelming. It starts off with a modest melody on guitar, followed by Grohl singing cliché phrases such as ‘One of these days your heart will stop, and play its final beat’ followed by a reassurance of ‘but it’s alright’.
At first glance this song could be mistaken for a rare soppy Foo Fighters song that isn’t worth a listen. The drop, however, is a thousand times worth the wait. Grohl responds to those trying to reassure him, belting ‘Easy for you to say / Your heart has never been broken / Your pride has never been stolen / Not yet, not yet’, accompanied by Hawkins’ as always epic drumming, as well as the rest of the band making a dramatic entrance.
The song acts as a kind of ‘fuck you’ to the people in your life who try to reassure you with empty words and can’t seem to understand how it feels to be in your position. Once you’ve listened to it once, you revel in those few quiet moments in the first verse, waiting like a hyper kid for that chorus to make you feel immortal.
This song is in 4th for its emotionally charged, beautiful and empowering attack at those who listen without listening, or refuse to understand how much you’re hurting.
So, we’ve made it to the top three. It’s worth noting that every song on this list, as well as a whole truck full of other Foo Fighters songs, are all incredible in their own right. Trying to rank them seems criminal, but hey, it had to be done some time.
‘Walk’ is the ultimate pick me up for anyone who feels beaten down by life. It’s about brushing yourself off and getting back up. Search it on YouTube, and all of the comments are about how this song has helped people in times of crisis.
Aside from its meaningful lyrics, the passionate guitars and drumming make the song a power pack for anyone having a tiring day. The bridge with its awe inspiring lyrics,
‘I’m dancing on my grave, I’m running through the fire / Forever, whenever, I never want to die / I never want to leave, I never say goodbye / forever, whenever, forever, whenever’.
Grohl giving it his all and shouting out the vocals is bound to bring life to a dull day, or bring strength when a day seems too difficult to continue.
As an added bonus, the music video is comedy gold, beginning with Grohl in his car rolling his eyes at a Coldplay bumper sticker on the car ahead. Every bit of this song is a guarantee of a better day for any listener.
2. My Hero
‘My Hero’ is the kind of song that makes your heart skip a beat. You hear it the once, and then every time it plays, you’re overcome. This song, with its emotive lyrics and iconic chorus, definitely deserves spot number 2.
There are those television and radio presenters who like to put words into Grohl’s mouth about this song (watch his acoustic version on Howard Stern), trying to say that this song is about Kurt Cobain and Grohl’s grief. Grohl prefers to keep the meaning ambiguous, but for a lot of fans, this song has become about Dave Grohl himself.
In interviews and footage of Grohl and the rest of Foo Fighters, all members of the band come across as down to earth, friendly and kind-hearted. The pivotal lyric ‘There goes my hero / watch him as he goes / there goes my hero / he’s ordinary’, sung by an entire audience looking up at their all-time favourite band, a band that may have saved some of their lives; they sing it to Dave.
He is the fans’ hero, and when performed live, this song bursts with the emotion of thousands of appreciative fans thanking Grohl for his music, and for being there for them.
‘Everlong’ taking top spot has to have been incredibly predictable. But there’s a reason for that. This song is perfect. With the line ‘Breathe out, so I can breathe you in / hold you in’, Grohl has captured the feeling of intense and insatiable love. The guitar is simple and yet so effective, with tight harmonies complementing Grohl’s emotion-filled voice.
This song appeals to those who love rock, and those who just love music. It is impossible to grow tired of it. And for those who want something quieter, the acoustic version is readily available, with Grohl’s crisp voice coming through clearer, and the acoustic guitar giving the song a new flavour.
The chorus is one echoed by all Foo fans in the melancholy trip home from a Foo Fighters concert: ‘And I wonder, when I sing along with you / if everything could ever feel this real forever / if anything could ever be this good again’.
This song has to go to number one, even if just for the fact that it sums up how all die hard Foo Fighters fans feel in every moment that they aren’t at a Foo concert.