10 Best Foo Fighters Songs
When Dave Grohl formed the Foo Fighters after Nirvana broke up, they weren’t supposed to his next full-time band. The project was more or less used by Grohl to come to terms with Kurt Cobain‘s suicide in 1994. So when he went into the studio by himself in 1995 and recorded a set of songs — some new, many were sitting around since his Nirvana days — in less than a week, he had no intention of making Foo Fighters the next chapter in his career. By the time he returned to the studio to make a follow-up record, they were a full band. They’ve since released seven albums, becoming, in some respects, bigger than Nirvana could ever imagine.
‘I’ll Stick Around’
Following Kurt Cobain’s death, Grohl holed up in a Seattle studio with a producer and cranked out the dozen songs that make up the Foo Fighters’ self-titled debut in less than a week. Grohl plays all the instruments himself, bashing away on the instruments as if the harder he hit, the quicker the pain would go away. ‘I’ll Stick Around’ is the second single from the album and the song that most directly confronts his former bandmate’s suicide.
As the final song on the band’s most cathartic album since 1995’s debut, ‘Walk” ends the previous 45 minutes with a beam of optimism. ‘Wasting Light’ confronts a ton of issues Grohl had built up over the years, including ones about his band’s future and Kurt Cobain’s death. ‘Walk’ bursts out of the chaos like a sign of light.
‘This Is a Call’
Like ‘I’ll Stick Around’ (see No. 10 on our list of the 10 Best Foo Fighters Songs), ‘This Is a Call’ was turned out quickly and with little filter. It’s both the debut album’s opening track and the Foos’ first single. Many of the songs on the band’s debut were written by Grohl while he was still in Nirvana. ‘This Is a Call,’ like ‘I’ll Stick Around,’ was penned in the wake of Kurt Cobain’s death.
‘Learn to Fly’
The first single from the group’s third album, like many of the band’s lead tracks, comes with a radio-ready pop hook that pretty much guarantees maximum airplay. ‘Learn to Fly’ didn’t disappoint: It became the Foos’ first modern rock No. 1 and their first Top 40 hit, no doubt aided by the song’s airplane-themed video and the band’s gender-swapping roles in it.
Grohl recorded the Foo Fighters’ first album as a solo project. By the time they got around to releasing their second record two years later, they were a fully formed band (with Grohl still calling the shots, of course). The first single from the album, ‘Monkey Wrench,’ is a white-knuckle rocker that, like the rest of ‘The Colour and the Shape,’ details Grohl’s crumbling marriage. This one leaves scars.
‘All My Life’
The opening track and first single from the band’s fourth album rocks harder than most of their radio songs up to that point. ‘All My Life’ ended up spending 10 weeks at the top of the modern-rock chart. The rest of ‘One by One”s songs didn’t fare as well, and the album today is dismissed by both the band — which was going through some rough spots — and its fans. ‘All My Life’ is a keeper.
Like many cuts on our list of the 10 Best Foo Fighters Songs, ‘The Pretender’ is both the opening track and first single from its album. In this case, the LP is the band’s sixth, ‘Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace,’ which combines both acoustic and electronic songs. ‘The Pretender’ also features both elements, starting soft before going loud. As always.
The Foo Fighters’ second album, ‘The Colour and the Shape,’ is pivotal for several reasons, foremost of which is its standing as the first Foos LP recorded as a band (the debut was a Dave Grohl solo project). The album also breaks down Grohl’s breakup from his wife. Plus, it includes the band’s best set of tracks (three of them make our list of the 10 Best Foo Fighters Songs). ‘My Hero’ packs a helluva hook.
The band’s fifth album is its most ambitious, a two-CD set featuring one disc of electric rock songs and one featuring more acoustic-based numbers. ‘In Your Honor’ is sketchy at times (it would have made a pretty great single record, though), but ‘Best of You’ is one of the Foos’ all-time greats. It comes from the heavier half of ‘In Your Honor’ and kicks with a turbo-powered hook.
Grohl uses the Foo Fighters’ second album, and their first record as a full group, to unleash a world of conflicting emotions about his failed marriage. ‘Everlong’ is sort of Grohl’s ‘Norwegian Wood': a confession to his wife that he’d fallen for someone else. It wouldn’t be nearly as powerful without the heavy-duty chorus that carries a ton of hurt with it.