Saturday, March 7, 2015

Top 25 Foo Fighters Songs

The body of Kurt Cobain was found in his Seattle home on April 8, 1994. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The man behind such hits as "Lithium" and "In Bloom" and "Heart-Shaped Box" was gone and as a result, so was the vehicle behind those and other hits: Nirvana.

Nirvana was formed in the late '80s in the Seattle area by Cobain and childhood friend Krist Novoselic. They went through a few different drummers before finally finding a chemistry and success with Dave Grohl. Not finding a lot of success with their debut album "Bleach," they went back into the studio and took the world by storm with their second album "Nevermind," led by the worldwide hit "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

With the end of Nirvana, the remaining band members needed to figure out the next stage of their lives. Grohl's first public appearance after Cobain's death was filling in for Tom Petty's drummer on an episode of "Saturday Night Live." He was offered a spot in "The Heartbreakers" but declined, as he was working on his new project: the Foo Fighters.

Much has been said about the tumultuous life of Kurt Cobain. Reportedly, during the final recording sessions for Nirvana, Cobain was in-and-out, often no-showing in the studio. Only a couple songs were recorded during those final days, the most popular being the alleged Courtney-Love-bashing "You Know You're Right." Without much to do in the studio, Grohl began recording some songs that he had been working on. Those demos eventually became the first Foo Fighters album.

The first Foo Fighters album was released in 1995 and features only Dave Grohl. It is literally his project; he wrote all of the songs and played every instrument. After getting band members, they followed up with 1997's "The Colour and the Shape," 1999's "There Is Nothing Left To Lose," 2002's "One By One," 2005's double album "In Your Honor," 2007's "Echoes, Silence, Patience, and Grace," 2011's "Wasting Light," and 2014's "Sonic Highways."

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With that, we come to the point of what we're really here for. One of my favorite bands for a long time has been the Foo Fighters. What we're going to do in this space is take a look at what I consider to be their Top 25 songs. Anything like this is very subjective and there may not be a lot of agreement on my placement. It's not comprehensive: I'm not looking at historical significance, chart success, or anything else definitive. It's just a list of songs that I like to listen to, loosely ranked. I haven't really had a chance to process their latest album, which was released a few months back. So, it's not on this list.

Let me know what you think. Aaaannnnddd... here we go:

Come Alive ... Dave Grohl puts forth a very funny public persona. He's very engaging in interviews and television skits. But, he's a very tortured soul if you pay attention to his songs. "Come Alive" is about a man at his lowest point; looking back at happier times and sinking into an alcoholic depression. That is, however, until somebody comes into his life and changes it. This song starts out slow and builds until it explodes at the end.

Arlandria ... From their 2011 album, "Arlandria" is the area in Virginia that Grohl is from. He struggles with the small town mentality that stifles his creativity and he needs to get away from it. Possible double meaning, as he sings about a "sweet Virginia," which is also his mother's name. "You are not me, Arlandria." Anybody in Small Town, America can get behind that.

Best Of You ... "Is someone getting the best of you?" It's not him and he struggles with that idea before finally accepting it. This was around the time the Foo Fighters became rock royalty. They had a few hits, but still weren't in that upper echelon of rock bands. This was the track that changed things.

Stacked Actors ... Looking at how fake celebrities are and the Hollywood scene. "Can you fake it? Can you make it look like we want? And we cry when they all die blonde." We use them and dispose of them when we're done. "Stacked dead actors. Stacked to the rafters." Allegedly, this song was written mostly about Courtney Love, the widow of Kurt Cobain who has had a very contentious (and litigious at times) relationship with the remaining members of Nirvana.

Monkey Wrench ... Another bad relationship song. This time Dave Grohl is the one who ends it, stating that he's tired of being the one to fix everything. "I'd rather leave than suffer this," he yells at the end.

Let It Die ... A relationship has ended. "Why'd you have to go and let it die?" Perhaps drugs are involved, "Beautiful veins and bloodshot eyes." There's a longing to rekindle things, "Do you ever think of me? You're so considerate." It really sounds like Dave Grohl is singing to himself in this one.

Burn Away ... Sort of a "woe is me" song, he's burning away his pride because he can't handle being alone and miserable. Chorus sounds different than most songs due to it being a small sentence stretched out very slowly. It works. Starts slow, then gets louder and faster at the end.

Stranger Things Have Happened ... Definitely the saddest Foo Fighters track. One of the few songs of theirs that has never been performed live. The woman in his life has left. He's not alone, because he has the loneliness with him. "I'll behave, I'll behave, I'll behave so I can share it with you." "I can change, I can change, I can change, but who do you want me to be?" She might come back; after all, stranger things have happened.

Hey, Johnny Park! ... One of the first Foo Fighter songs. Dave Grohl had a childhood friend named Johnny Park. I just like this song because it's loud and the rawness of the vocals.

Walking After You ... Such a nice, beautiful love song. You want a relationship to succeed so badly that you refuse to give up on it. "If you walk out on me, I'm walking after you." I really like the line "If you'd accept surrender, I'd give up some more."

Everlong ... One of their biggest hits. One of their earliest videos where comedy plays a huge part. Odd thing about "Everlong" is that for a long time it didn't really get the credit it deserved for being such a sweet, loving song. The guitars are loud and the video is funny; it wasn't until Foo Fighters started getting more acoustic that people realized how great it was.

How I Miss You ... This song almost sounds kind of pathetic, like a loser pining over his lost love. But, you can relate to it if you've ever had your heart broken. We all feel that way sometimes. "Do you miss me like I miss you? If you miss me, never go away. Hopefully you'll come and stay some day." The lyrics are basically whispered for the majority of the song, then it gets louder at the end.

Back And Forth ... I didn't initially like this 2011 track that much, but I realized it kept growing on me with each listen. This can have two meanings: "I'm looking for some back-and-forth with you" can be taken in a sexual manner or in a conversational manner.

My Hero ... A lot of people thought this song was written about Kurt Cobain, but it's not. This song resonates with a lot of people because anybody can have a hero. "There goes my hero, he's ordinary." Anybody who has ever looked up to anybody can feel something when listening to this. Paramore did a great cover of it a few years back. Something about girls with pink hair...

Gimme Stitches ... "Take another stab at me. I promise in time I'll heal." It's a dysfunctional relationship, but they can't get enough of each other. I love the guitar introduction to this song.

Wheels ... Recorded for their 2009 greatest hits album, "Wheels" is a track about traveling and coming back to the one he loves when his plane lands; when the wheels come down.

The One ... Written specifically for the "Orange County" soundtrack, which was a pretty cool movie back in the day. I don't know if it holds up so much now. I thought the video was pretty funny when I was 15; I don't think it holds up well today. "You're not 'the one,' but you're the only one who can make me feel like this."

The Last Song ... Very anthemic track looking at how one gets over a relationship. "This is the last song... That I will dedicate to you."

Aurora ... That is a street in Seatle that Dave Grohl lived on during the early days of Nirvana. He's remembering that time of his life. "I just kinda died for you. You just kinda stared at me" really resonates as a descriptor of a failed relationship.

Rope ... He's trying to make headway in his relationship, but the other person isn't allowing that to happen. "Give me some rope, I'm coming loose, I'm hanging on you."

This Is A Call ... Looking back at past times in life. "This is a call to all my past resignations." Looking back at things that you gave up on, resigned. Relationships, friendships, etc. Off the first Foo Fighters album, so every sound you hear is from Dave Grohl.

Halo ... Little bit more of a religious tone to this song than a lot of his others. Praying for everything to get better and several mentions of God. Interesting drum work in this one.

Breakout ... Literally about a breakout. He gets so nervous around this girl that he breaks out in hives. To the point that even though he loves this girl, he can't handle it anymore and wants her out of his life. I really like how the Foo Fighters can take a song about anything really and make it sound so heavy with the music, then add in Dave Grohl's mellow voice, but then he can start screaming at the end and make it a totally different song.

A Matter of Time ... It's just a matter of time before things get fucked up again. Looking back at the mistakes of your youth and hoping that it doesn't affect your future. "It doesn't matter much to me, if it doesn't matter much to you." Off of their 2011 album, it's an older Dave Grohl writing about a more mature time in his life. But he still has some worries.

Summer's End ... Highly metaphorical track off their 2007 album. Talks about it being winter and cold without his special lady friend and wanting to meet her in the summertime. He's sad without and her and happy with her in his life. More of an upbeat track, musically, than a lot of their other stuff.

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And, there is that. Very subjective, but you'll have that with something like this. Let it process in your heads and get back to me with some comments. Agree, disagree, etc... you can leave a comment here or over on Facebook.

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