Advertisement

All 146 Foo Fighters Songs Ranked From Worst to Best

Sorting through 28 years of pretty colours and shapes with everything to lose...

Illustration by Steven Fiche
Advertisement
Advertisement

    This article originally ran in 2017, but we’ve given it a big overhaul to cap off Foo Fighters Week. All week, we’ve been publishing interviews, lists, editorials and videos — it’s all things Foos, all the time. You can see everything in one convenient place here.

    Rank and File finds us sorting through an exhaustive, comprehensive body of work or collection of pop-culture artifacts. This time, we sort through every Foo Fighters song and admire all the pretty colours and shapes.


    Dave Grohl won’t go away. That’s a good thing. We like the guy. He’s friendly, he’s one hell of a drummer, and he loves rock ‘n’ roll. So much so that he’s managed to stand at the top of the genre for decades, and despite some major hurdles — you know, like losing Nirvana — he’s yet to miss a beat. He’s basically the closest thing Generation X has to McCartney.

    Advertisement

    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. The kids just can’t get enough of the Foos.

    Because of this, we’ve decided to rank every Foo Fighters song, including every song off their latest release, Medicine at Midnight. 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:

    Advertisement

    — Grohl knows how to pick a single.
    — Foo B-sides are B-sides for a reason.
    — This band’s highs are as high as any other artists’ highs. High!

    Scroll to the end for a playlist of every track (with two exceptions, they’re just that rare), and enjoy this long road to… success! We were certainly “exhausted” when all was said and done, but “big me” to talk about it. Here’s the best, the best, the best, the best of…


    146. “Cold Day in the Sun”

    In Your Honor (2005)

    Oh, don’t get so up in arms. Something had to go here. And if we can be perfectly honest, it’ll be a cold day in hell before we feel the need to revisit “Cold Day in the Sun.” Everything we love about the Foos has been sanded down, polished up, and neutered three times over. This song should be playing in a hammy movie montage of people over-enthusiastically shopping for pants and sweaters in chain department stores. If that’s the demographic Hawkins and Co. were aiming for (the khaki contingent), they nailed it. — Matt Melis

    Advertisement

    145. “Walking a Line”

    One by One Special Limited Edition (2002)

    Proof that a bonus isn’t always a good thing, this One by One bonus track can be filed under “too much of a bad thing.” Forget the painfully strung-together clichés or the tedious repetition that make the song play three days over its actual runtime; a rock song that agitates a bit can be a good thing, but this B-side is the equivalent of a fly you just can’t swat away, one that keeps buzzing you “over and over and over again.” Sorry if anyone reading danced at their wedding to this song. That’s your problem, not mine. — M.M.

    144. “The Line”

    Concrete and Gold (2017)

    Concrete and Gold’s most forgettable song stands out for the wrong reasons: It disrupts the paisley-fringed sonics for a bizarre detour into big, ‘80s guitar jangle like it mistook the Psychedelic Furs for actual psychedelia. It’s big and plodding, of course, but it doesn’t really belong, nor would it add much to any other Foos record either. Maybe a cell phone commercial. — Dan Weiss

    143. “The Feast and the Famine”

    Sonic Highways (2014)

    The cruel joke of the Foos’ tribute to the D.C. hardcore movement of Grohl’s youth is how thin it all sounds. Even when the members of his old band Scream join in for the shout-along chorus, their voices are buried so low in the mix that the song never achieves the scene-power Grohl is so fond of singing about. — Dan Caffrey

    142. “Medicine at Midnight”

    Advertisement

    Medicine at Midnight (2021)

    The title track of Medicine at Midnight is an ode to the late ‘70s, and it feels specifically made for a mid-period piece movie montage, perhaps with a choreographed disco sequence sandwiched between neon-lit night drives. Like lead single “Shame Shame,” there is deliberate restraint from Foo Fighters, and while the quiet vocals, expressive guitars and layered harmonies work in their favor, “Medicine at Midnight” still comes across as a bit general. — Paolo Ragusa

    141. “Word Forward”

    Greatest Hits (2009)

    Grohl’s eulogy to a dead friend has moments of emotional resonance, which soon get sapped by the repetition of the awkward title pun. — D.C.

    140. “Spill”

    “Best of You” single

    The most rewarding aspect to any Foo Fighters B-side is the way you can pinpoint how the band goes through the motions in the studio. More often than not, they sorely lack in any hooks or melodies and have as much flavor as a slice of Melba Toast. They also go on for far too long. “Spill” hits the bull’s-eye on every one of these points. It’s like being stuck in a waiting room with a friend who can’t talk because he or she’s got their tonsils removed. Fun. — Michael Roffman

    139. “Cloudspotter”

    Medicine at Midnight (2021)

    “Cloudspotter” brings the energy from the very first Taylor Hawkins drum hit, and finds Foo Fighters taking inspiration from ‘70s funk — that is, until the chorus arrives with some classic Foo Fighters high-caliber rock. Though they could benefit from a more holistic blending of genres from moment-to-moment (the song goes from funk, to southern rock, to metal, and it feels like they could have settled on one), there’s still a certifiable drive and enthusiasm from the full band that’s compelling and rich. — P.R.

    138. “Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners”

    Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace (2007)

    This entry deserves, at the very least, some slight admiration for its intent. After meeting an Australian miner who survived the Beaconsfield mine collapse, Grohl was moved to discover that, while trapped, the man requested an iPod with In Your Honor on it. As a tribute to him and the rest of the miners, Grohl dedicated a song to them on the band’s next album. Unfortunately, the instrumental “Ballad” sticks out like a blackened thumb on the otherwise rock-heavy Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace. Grohl and guitar virtuoso Kaki King pluck up a storm, but the rusticity becomes nothing more than a (thankfully short) interruption in the heavier work at play. — D.C.

    137. “Concrete and Gold”

    Advertisement

    Concrete and Gold (2017)

    The title track to the Foos’ most sonically ambitious album ever succumbs to its weakness for, well, everlong tracks in the third act, slouching and droning onward rather then dazzling with dexterity and poise. This is a closet shoegaze band for many (“Aurora!” “February Stars!”) so I get it, but this is closer to exhausted than “Exhausted.” — D.W.

    136. “Something From Nothing”

    Sonic Highways (2014)

    The first piece of new Foo music we heard post-Wasting Light was in the trailer for the HBO documentary series Sonic Highways. It was a snippet of this track, and had we known what was to come, we would have created a petition on Change.org to cease production. Nickelback has better riffs. — Justin Gerber

    135. “Better Off”

    Wasting Light Deluxe Version (2011)

    Imagine a tamer version of “The One,” and you have this track. The line “you are my favorite disaster” is a derivative take on Sheryl Crow’s “My Favorite Mistake” from many years earlier. A mid-tempo throwaway of a bonus track that wouldn’t have ruined Wasting Light, but the record is definitely “better off” without it. I apologize for nothing. — J.G.

    134. “I Am a River”

    Sonic Highways (2014)

    On Grohl’s full-length album of geographical mad-libs, the album-closing New York ode doesn’t even attempt subtlety with its quick references to Soho and subways. Instead, it is one of the most pandering tracks in the band’s catalog, aiming for drama and catharsis with its titular refrain, but landing on something you’d rather would float away with the rest of the Hudson’s trash. — Philip Cosores

    133. “Virginia Moon”

    In Your Honor (2005)

    Bossa nova isn’t the best look for the Foo Fighters, especially on a double album whose second disc is already fighting against its own invariant softness. The backing vocals from Norah Jones only thicken the lethargy. — D.C.

    132. “Subterranean”

    Advertisement

    Sonic Highways (2014)

    Recorded in Seattle for that city’s moment in the HBO doc/album Sonic Highways, “Subterranean” is very much about Grohl’s rough (to say the least) period between Nirvana and Foo Fighters. “Subterranean” is Grohl finding the drive to keep going for it. We’re happy as hell that Foo Fighters happened, but we’re down in the dumps its seeds were told in such a boring song. — J.G.

    131. “Disenchanted Lullaby”

    One by One (2002)

    Lullabies are designed to coax the listener to sleep. Unfortunately, it’s usually a bad sign when a rock song has the same effect. This is a perfect example of how the soft-loud dynamic that the Foos built their legacy upon requires more than just cranking the volume at some point. This song feels like your kid brother screaming into your ear seconds after you finally nod off. That ain’t pleasant. And guess what — he does it again a bit later and then proceeds to run around the room banging a pot and a pan. Why did mom and dad, um, I mean Dave Grohl, think we needed this aggravation? — M.M.

    130. “The Deepest Blues Are Black”

    In Your Honor (2005)

    It’s hard to pinpoint the worst sound to happen on a Foo Fighters song. But high on the list would be during the chorus of the high school diary poetics of “The Deepest Blues Are Black.” When Grohl goes for broke screaming the song’s title, it sounds strikingly close to regurgitation. It’s probably the “blaaaaaaahhhh” sound. — P.C.

    129. “Holding Poison”

    Medicine at Midnight (2021)

    The fragmented, percussive verses of “Holding Poison” are genuinely wonderful, as they help build tension and anticipation for yet another big Foo Fighters chorus. And though the chorus of “Holding Poison” ends up being a bit forgettable, the band still manages to take the risk and break the song wide open for its bridge, adding a cascading metal jam that feels like it was cut from a Queens of the Stone Age track. — P.R.

    128. “Wheels”

    Greatest Hits (2009)

    I’ll always be an apologist for the shameless crossover bid of this song’s chorus but a stubborn critic of its pop-country production. Genre-spanning aside, it’s rare that the Foos ever need more gloss on their already stadium-sized songs. — D.C.

    127. “I Should Have Known”

    Advertisement

    Wasting Light (2011)

    Grohl will probably go the rest of his career with fans reading Kurt Cobain into his songs. After singing the lyrics of “I Should Have Known,” which he wrote about someone other than Cobain, even Grohl started seeing connections and second-guessing himself. With former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic in tow, it’s a song about regret that regrettably never quite achieves the catharsis that its confessional epiphany aims for. An admirable stab, though. — M.M.

    126. “In the Clear”

    Sonic Highways (2014)

    Almost a decade since Hurricane Katrina nearly drowned New Orleans, the message that the city and people are still fighting to overcome that disaster ranks as important as any found on Sonic Highways. Grohl’s internalizing the city’s plight as one man’s struggle works well, but like so many of the cuts on this project, we’re left wondering what might have been if the recording process had been more deliberate. It’s a damp song that might have yielded a truly triumphant ode had it been given the time and air to dry out and reveal its true hues. — M.M.

    125. “The Colour and the Shape”

    “Monkey Wrench” single

    A younger cousin of “Weenie Beenie,” this would-be title track has nary a hook to be found in its riffage — something that was always the secret weapon of its older relative. The heaviness never took away from the catchiness and vice versa. — D.C.

    124. “Win or Lose”

    “All My Life” single

    “Make a Bet” and “Win or Lose” are the same songs released as B-sides one album apart. The latter is a bit heavier than the former in order to better fit on One by One, but as for which one is “better?” To paraphrase the Alien vs. Predator tagline: Whatever wins, we lose. — J.G.

    123. “Love Dies Young”

    Medicine at Midnight (2021)

    “Love Dies Young,” the closer of Medicine at Midnight, is not only the most indie rock song they’ve ever made (complete with a dance beat from Taylor Hawkins, a soaring lead line from Chris Shiflett, and warm, ’80s alternative-influenced guitar tones), it’s a commitment to retaining the love and energy that continues to drive Foo Fighters forward after all these years. It’s fitting that “Love Dies Young” closes the album without a full-throated roar from Grohl, without a cathartic rock explosion, and without any real climactic energy; instead, it’s something more of a modest meditation on the state of the band. Love dies young, but Foo Fighters have every intention to keep the love between them alive. — P.R.

    122. “Make a Bet”

    Advertisement

    “Learn to Fly” single

    See the above entry for “Win or Lose.” Oh, did we mention Alien v. Predator? Just checking. — J.G.

    121. “Sunday Rain”

    Concrete and Gold (2017)

    The longest tune on Concrete and Gold overplays those Beatles moves for six minutes, jamming on a “Come Together” beat without really accomplishing much that Noel Gallagher hasn’t already. That said, it would probably be the best Oasis song in years if those guys thought of it first. — D.W.

    120. “Skin and Bones”

    “DOA” single

    The soothing, albeit ominous, vibes of this In Your Honor B-side are intriguing enough to let you ignore the fact that it’s exceedingly repetitive. It sounds like a church hymn and wouldn’t be out of place in one given the song’s bleak existential imagery and themes. Let’s just say, it warranted a great DVD concert experience of the same name. — M.R.

    119. “What Did I Do?/God as My Witness”

    Sonic Highways (2014)

    Of Sonic Highways’ many sins, high on the list is the Foo Fighters abandoning the revitalized urgency of Wasting Light in favor of half-baked classic rock callbacks. “What Did I Do?/God as My Witness” splashes in that uninspired puddle for its first half, but things get particularly muddy when it turns on a dime for an overwrought conclusion. What’s worse than one ho-hum song? Two of them. — P.C.

    118. “Dear Lover”

    Scream 2 Soundtrack (1997)

    The melody of both this and the first half of “February Stars” are very similar. It would be easy to assume Grohl had to decide which would make the album, and he obviously made the right choice (as you’ll read later). This forgettable track wound up on the Scream 2 soundtrack (a movie that is underrated, but you won’t read about that later). — J.G.

    Advertisement

    117. “No Son of Mine”

    Medicine at Midnight (2021)

    We know Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters love metal, and “No Son of Mine” is one of their most furious metal-inspired tracks to date. Its chugging riff seems to unite three different eras of hard rock, and the way the song devolves into a blistering jam in the bridge is pure fun. “No Son of Mine” — along with several others from Foo Fighters’ last three LPs — also feels directly inspired by Southern rock, both in its powerful riffs and its folkloric lyrics. It’s songs like these where you see the influence of Grohl’s Virginia childhood, his fondness for heavy bands, and his undying commitment to raising hell. — P.R.

    116. “FFL”

    “Best of You” single

    “FFL” (an acronym for Fat Fucking Lie), if nothing else, can let you blow off some steam. Just don’t drive to it. You’ll end up getting a fat fucking speeding ticket from a fat fucking… okay, quitting while behind. Shit, my probation officer’s calling me. Great, perfect, grand. — M.M.

    115. “Summer’s End”

    Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace (2007)

    For a guy who grew up in Virginia, Dave Grohl has always had a hard time writing about its natural beauty with any kind of specificity. As with “Virginia Moon,” the lyrics never move beyond the stereotypical country imagery of cherry wine, moonshine, and the like. Bottom’s up. — D.C.

    114. “Normal”

    “Times Like These” single

    If it didn’t feel so 2002, we might give this one higher praise. But c’mon, this sounds as if it were recorded strictly for an early season of Smallville, and before you start giving me shit for that remark, know that this writer owns all 10 seasons of that show on DVD. But even I’m willing to admit some parts were pretty damn cheesy. Like this song. — M.R.

    113. “Tired of You”

    One by One (2002)

    It’s not just the title; Grohl sounds absolutely exhausted on “Tired of You.” You can really feel the weight on his shoulders, which may or may not have been a result of the arduous recording process rearing its ugly head. (One by One was not a fun time for the band.) According to the man behind the microphone, Queen’s Brian May over-dubbed the four-part guitar harmonies in the chorus, which is about the most interesting part of it. This is one instance where the repetition becomes, well, tiring. — M.R.

    112. “Waiting on a War”

    Advertisement

    Medicine at Midnight (2021)

    Foo Fighters have been attempting to write something with the same level of immediacy as “Learn to Fly” and “Times Like These” since 2002, and “Waiting on a War” is Medicine at Midnight’s attempt. There’s an undeniable warmth to the song, particularly in the comforting acoustic guitar and Grohl’s outstanding vocal performance — and as the band speeds up to a climax, it’s a truly impressive display from Foo Fighters, even after all these years.

    That said, Grohl can’t seem to articulate the poetic universal truths that made “Learn to Fly” and “Times Like These” special, and now, with the world in an even more divisive and troubled state, his fumbled attempts to summarize our collective state could do with a bit more nuance, risk, and specificity. — P.R.

    111. “Podunk”

    “Big Me” single

    When in doubt of a song’s tunefulness, smother it in distortion, give the vocal the ol’ “Weenie Beenie” treatment, and call it a B-side. — D.C.

    Advertisement

    110. “M.I.A.”

    There Is Nothing Left to Lose (1999)

    Admit it. Three tracks into There Is Nothing Left to Lose and you thought the Foos had caught lightning in a bottle again and delivered The Colour and the Shape II. By the time Hawkins taps us out of closer “M.I.A.,” we know that’s not quite the case. Still, kudos to Grohl growling us back awake after a fairly quiet Side-B that could use a bit more racket. — M.M.

    109. “Empty Handed”

    Songs From the Laundry Room EP (2015)

    Songs From the Laundry Room was a 2015 Record Store Day Release, and it’s a cool get due to early demos of both “Alone + Easy Target” and “Big Me,” both recorded in the waning days of Nirvana. The previously unreleased “Empty Handed” is just the scream section from “Everlong” stretched out to two minutes. Not quite as cool as you’d think. — J.G.

    108. “Iron Rooster”

    Saint Cecilia EP (2015)

    Following Sonic Highways, the Saint Cecelia EP found the Foos playing the part of orange-vested road crew out patching things up in more ways than one. On one hand, the EP saw release in response to the Paris terrorist attacks and was intended to be something positive to help those healing. On the other, it also found the band mending themselves. If Sonic Highways had been a heady concept (a goodhearted one, too), songs like “Iron Rooster” brought the Foos back to the mantra of “keep it simple, stupid.” When you’re a rock band as talented as the Foo Fighters, that’s sage advice to heed. — M.M.

    107. “The Sign”

    Advertisement

    In Your Honor (2005) Bonus Track

    The lead guitar line is like a mosquito that won’t stop filling up with blood, growing from harmless to grating in the space of four minutes. Eventually, you can’t remember any of the positive traits in “The Sign.” Bzzzzz … POP! — D.C.

    106. “Seda”

    “Long Road to Ruin” single

    Part of me thinks “Seda” deserves a higher spot on this list for its soothing properties. Then again, the brushed drumming and gentle acoustic guitar never break through the trappings of coffee-house prettiness. Like several of the B-sides from Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, there’s just not a whole lot going on. — D.C.

    105. “Over and Out”

    In Your Honor (2005)

    This track was actually written during the There Is Nothing Left to Lose era but wasn’t fully realized until the recording of LP5. Instead of landing as a forgettable B-side a year earlier, it serves as padding for a double album. Can you imagine how good that album would have been as a single disc? Sigh. — J.G.

    104. “Fraternity”

    “Generator” single

    Dave Grohl has managed to get away with subpar or just plain nonsensical lyrics in the past by obscuring them with the instrumentation (see most of the Foo Fighters’ first album). Unfortunately, on “Fraternity,” his condemnation of frat culture (we think?) rings loud and clear. The whole concept feels a little strange, given that so many of the band’s fans are bros drawn to the machismo of songs like this. As such, the words undermine what’s actually a fairly decent bit of power pop. — D.C.

    103. “Outside”

    Sonic Highways (2014)

    Most of the songs on Sonic Highways suffer from disparity — of the musical guest never fully gelling with the Foo Fighters’ sound. “Outside” has the opposite problem. Joe Walsh blends in so well with the MOR Foo track, it never justifies its own existence. Where’s the talkbox? Where’s the flair? Somebody call Don Felder. — D.C.

    102. “Lonely as You”

    Advertisement

    One by One (2002)

    Grohl once likened “Lonely as You” to Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band; or rather, he discussed the album in the context of the song’s pseudo metal vibes. Don’t scoff. Listen long enough and you actually start to see where he was coming from. In the background, right before the chorus, the guitars seem to rain down these little harmonies that are very akin to George Harrison’s work. But The Beatles were fabulous — hence, the Fab Four moniker — and this song’s more fit than fabulous. In other words, the track blends well with One by One and not so much anywhere else. — M.R.

    101. “Making a Fire”

    Medicine at Midnight (2021)

    “Making a Fire” introduces us to Medicine at Midnight’s joyous sound, complete with auxiliary production and, believe it or not, background singers. Grohl is as enthusiastic as ever on “Making a Fire,” and with its soulful, retro stomp, he ends up sounding like Daryl Hall after about five shots of whiskey. It’s certainly Foo Fighters at their most pop-centric and dance-worthy, but much more in the classic sense — “Making a Fire” exhibits a clear thread to their 2021 Bee Gees homage EP as “The Dee Gees,” Hail Satin. — P.R.

    100. “End Over End”

    In Your Honor (2005)

    …I’m circling. Middle-of-the-road Foo that wears out its welcome despite a welcoming beginning. It’s a song about repeating mistakes, but unfortunately the track is repetitive as F. More like “Never end over and over never end over and over never end…” — J.G.

    99. “Miss the Misery”

    Wasting Light (2011)

    Tucked towards the back of Wasting Light, “Miss the Misery” probably isn’t the track that first comes to mind when most fans think about the album. However, the cut contains the lyrics that lend the record its title: “Don’t change your mind/ You’re wastin’ light/ Get in and let’s go, go.” For a group pushing AARP age in band years, you gotta believe this is a regular mantra for Grohl and the Foos. Or a reminder to switch off the lights when exiting their tour bus. Both are important. — M.M.

    98. “Happy Ever After (Zero Hour)”

    Concrete and Gold (2017)

    A pretty tune that’s easy to make fun of, since it sits sonically between Donovan and “Hey There Delilah,” but this delicate ditty still does a good job of illustrating how much interest Concrete and Gold has in melodies and harmonies. Those kind of textures aren’t exactly the blunt Grohl’s stock in trade, and it’s nice to hear him challenging himself some, even if the result is merely pleasant. — D.W.

    97. “Come Alive”

    Advertisement

    Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace (2007)

    The best thing that can be said about “Come Alive” is that its journey ultimately proves worth taking. By the second half of the song’s five minutes, the drums kick in and the song finds a distinct direction. The problem is the song’s first half, which takes its time getting to the point, might lose listeners in its meandering. — P.C.

    96. “Bangin'”

    “The Pretender” single

    Given the drum metaphor of the title and the lyrics’ fear about a relationship growing stale, the repetition seems very much intentional. But the device also loses its charm since the band doesn’t mix up the chord progression until almost three minutes in. — D.C.

    95. “Erase/Replace”

    Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace (2007)

    Take away that stupid noodling in the very beginning, and the song ain’t too shabby. — M.R.

    94. “Ain’t It the Life”

    There Is Nothing Left to Lose (1999)

    At this point, you’re probably thinking: “God, these writers are some miserable pricks.” But don’t fret. We’re inching towards the part of the list where we cease taking cheap (or at least inexpensive) shots and start rolling up our cuffs to display our Foo tattoos – we call them “Footoos.” In the meantime, we’ll let Grohl take potshots at his own work: “‘Ain’t It the Life’ sounds like an Eagles song or something, and I hate The Eagles.” Damn, Dave. Don’t be so hard on yourself. That’s our job. — M.M.

    93. “On the Mend”

    In Your Honor (2005)

    “It’s a simple, easy-feeling song,” Grohl told NME of “On the Mend.” “It was written in London. I wrote it sitting in a hotel room. It’s another example of how we’d start with an acoustic guitar, do that first, and then start adding to it.” Pleasant story for a pleasant song that does absolutely nothing for their catalog except move along an album that’s much too long to begin with. — M.R.

    92. “Halo”

    Advertisement

    One by One (2002)

    “Halo” is one of those frustrating, mid-tier Foo Fighter tracks. The ones that threaten to become interesting before settling for filler. At the time Grohl heard elements of Tom Petty, Guided by Voices, and Cheap Trick in the track, whereas we would just prefer to hear those artists’ songs instead. — J.G.

    91. “If Ever”

    “The Pretender” single

    What plays like the Foo Fighters’ version of “Tuesday’s Gone” perks up the ears whenever Taylor Hawkins interrupts with a fill, then sinks back into slumberland with the verses. Not a bad B-side, but far from essential. — D.C.

    90. “Statues”

    Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace (2007)

    I don’t approve of a song that could be mistaken as a bad Phish song, and I like a number of Phish songs! “Just two ordinary people/ You and Me/ Time will turn us into statues/ Eventually.” See you at Bonaroo circa 1998, Dave! It’s a harsh criticism, but while the band was trying to find a balance between the hard and soft from their previous album, it isn’t steady here. — J.G.

    89. “Chasing Birds”

    Medicine at Midnight (2021)

    Grohl makes himself small and understated on the gentle “Chasing Birds,” and its contemplative nature is refreshing for Foo Fighters. Grohl seems to be looking back on his life with an air of wisdom: “The road to hell is paved with broken parts/ Bleeding hearts like mine.” The indie rock-leaning “Chasing Birds” is proof that Foo Fighters can, in fact, age gracefully — albeit without much risk or sonic experimentation.

    It would be fascinating to hear what an album of songs modeled after “Chasing Birds” would sound like; is Grohl capable of pushing himself further into this emotive territory, similar to understated classics like In Your Honor’s “Friend of a Friend?” If Grohl can acknowledge that the world has become much more complex and broken, what will it take for Grohl to reflect that difference with curiosity and artistic courage? Only time will tell, but at least “Chasing Birds” is scratching the surface. — P.R.

    88. “Free Me”

    Advertisement

    In Your Honor (2005)

    I would never accuse Foo Fighters of taking a cue from latter-day Metallica, but the riff in “Free Me” definitely takes a cue from that less-than-appreciated haircut era (cue outrage comments … NOW!). The harder the Foos try to “rawk” in the 21st century, the harder it is to fall in love with the material. “Free Me” is also 60 seconds too long, like most tracks on In Your Honor. — J.G.

    87. “Savior Breath”

    Saint Cecilia EP (2015)

    What is it with Foo Fighters and boneheaded puns? “Savior Breath” is right up there with “Word Forward” in terms of the stupidity of its wordplay. The song does have a tangible energy, though, even if the riffing goes into full-on butt rock at times. — D.C.

    86. “T-Shirt”

    Concrete and Gold (2017)

    Foo Fighters’ best album opener in a while is a mere 82 seconds long, sound familiar? But it compresses a nice, big, heartworn melody that borrows more from Rivers Cuomo than Paul McCartney before a brief, wailing guitar riff that could’ve been Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes. In its short time it accomplishes everything it sets out to do; prepping us for the rarity of a Foo Fighters album that may not actually sound like the others. — D.W.

    Advertisement

    85. “The Neverending Sigh”

    Saint Cecilia EP (2015)

    “Woe is me/ The end is near/ Thought you’d never leave,” Grohl sings on the closing track of their Saint Cecilia EP. It’s an agreeable closer to a commendable collection of songs, and as I wrote in my original review, it’s “a mountain of riffs and distortion that digs into the band’s love of ’70s rock.” Yeah, that’s about right. — M.R.

    84. “Congregation”

    Sonic Highways (2014)

    At this point, the verdict has been handed down on Sonic Highways. It’s an ambitious, innovative, and even inspiring project, but it ultimately made for a rather scatterbrained and bland record by Foo standards. “Congregation,” recorded in Nashville with previous Grohl collaborator Zac Brown on board, might be the most successful recording of the batch and even drew a clever comparison between the local music community and a religious congregation; however, like so many of its brethren, the song proves almost instantly forgettable and feels like it should end about two minutes before it actually does. Can I get a hallelujah? Naw, I didn’t expect so. — M.M.

    83. “The One”

    Orange County Soundtrack (2002)

    Another Foo Fighters song where the verse makes a better chorus than the actual chorus. There’s half of a good song here, and it works a little bit better than most of the other songs written for the Orange County soundtrack. Dave Grohl’s acting in the music video ain’t too shabby, either. — D.C.

    82. “Still”

    Advertisement

    In Your Honor (2005)

    Like the the album itself, the major fault with In Your Honor’s “Still” is its length. If this was a 90-second intro or a bridge into a more deserving, “epic” track, then it would be more forgivable. The music glides along with its pleasant acoustic guitar, but with a promise of a build that never delivers. For being based on a harrowing true story (a crime scene post-suicide), it somehow doesn’t earn its runtime. Fine, but could have been better. — J.G.

    81. “Burn Away”

    One by One (2002)

    “We’ll burn away, burn away, burn away my pride,” Grohl pines again and again and again on, you guessed it, “Burn Away.” Similar to a few almost-there cuts off of One by One, this track’s marred by a dreadful use of repetition. And while it’s clear that Grohl’s repeating himself to convey a sense of bleeding-heart compassion — ahem, something they were particularly fond of around this time; just take a glance at the album’s artwork — it becomes one swell of white noise. Enjoyable white noise, to be fair, but nonetheless white noise. — M.R.

    80. “Run”

    Concrete and Gold (2017)

    It’s probably safe to say this is one of the heaviest Beatles ripoffs ever recorded, considering those baroque McCartney chords aren’t normally accompanied by death-metal shrieks. If you squint a little, the split between the earnestness of the melody here and the Cannibal Corpse-inflected vocal is almost extreme as Damian Abraham from Fucked Up roaring over, well, Foo Fighters-esque riffs. But Dave Grohl has surprisingly few songs that strive for this size grandeur. One of them is “Everlong.” — D.W.

    79. “Shame Shame”

    Medicine at Midnight (2021)

    “Shame Shame” is an odd Foo Fighters song by any means. Where Grohl and Co. would usually take a skeletal track like this and build it to a screeching, anthemic climax, they instead demonstrate their sonic maturity and opt for the high road. As the chorus creeps in, Grohl laments “beneath a mountain of emptiness” and adds a carefully-mixed orchestra to make the song feel more heartfelt and deliberate, as opposed to rocking for the sake of rocking.

    The riffing is minimal, there’s an intentional lack of grit from Grohl’s performance, and its flirtations with pop music (a usual for Foo Fighters) comes across less as an ’80s power-pop homage and much more like a subtle, authentic attempt to create something new. Not only does it serve as another unique entry point into Medicine at Midnight, it shows what can happen when Foo Fighters deliver with restraint. — P.R.

    78. “How I Miss You”

    Advertisement

    “I’ll Stick Around” single

    One of Grohl’s hindsight fears about the song “I’ll Stick Around” was that listeners would read harsh sentiments about former bandmate Kurt Cobain into its title and lyrics. It also probably didn’t help the single’s B-side was called “How I Miss You.” The brokenhearted song marks an early, less-sophisticated stab at an abrupt shift from near-whisper minimalism to full-band explosion. Consider it part of the band’s fossil record or a solid stepping stone towards what came next. — M.M.

    77. “Winnebago”

    “Big Me” single

    It’s nearly impossible for me to listen to “Winnebago” and not think of Spaceballs (the movie, not the flamethrower). The name Foo Fighters, of course, comes from the term given to WWII UFOs, and early Foo artwork often featured flying saucers. So, if Grohl and, well, Grohl sounds like he’s blowing out the windows in a garage here, why not rock out in a Winnebago cruising through space at ludicrous speed? I’d actually go see that sequel. — M.M.

    76. “Dirty Water”

    Concrete and Gold (2017)

    On Concrete and Gold, Dave Grohl uses negative space like he hasn’t since 1997, and on the muted jangle of “Dirty Water” he even sneakily incorporates some flamenco guitar fills that aren’t the least bit jarring, and the rare female vocal in this largely testosterone-identified batch of boys. It’s so skillfully layered that you may not even notice these elements until three or four listens. A Foo Fighters tune subtle enough to reveal itself over time? Not quite; around 2:41 it promptly bludgeons you with riffs for another few minutes, but what did you expect? — D.W.

    Advertisement

    75. “Hell”

    In Your Honor (2005)

    With In Your Honor, you could tell the band was desperately trying to shake things up. They were uninterested in writing another radio staple, which, let’s be real, they could do in their sleep. And so, this is why we got a quick gasp of a song like “Hell.” At less than two minutes in length, the band hop on a bunch of horses, race toward the edge of a cliff, and leap forward. It’s like The Who on speed, and it’s a cool look on them, one that lasts as long as it takes to read this paragraph. — M.R.

    74. “A320”

    Godzilla Soundtrack (1998)

    Possible alternate title: “Here Come the Strings.” Whenever “A320” leans fully into orchestral prog rock, it soars, making one wish that the rest of the song was as memorable. Also, its association with 1998’s Godzilla somewhat sullies its better qualities. Even Dave Grohl has admitted that what he has at times called his “favorite Foo Fighters song” lands with somewhat of a lizard-footed thud when placed at the tail end of the film’s credits. All of this keeps “A320” relegated to being a minor success rather than a major one. — D.C.

    73. “The Last Song”

    In Your Honor (2005)

    Sometimes, a song becomes memorable for a single inflection. In the case of “The Last Song,” that moment is the way Dave Grohl belts “You got to talk the talk, the talk, the talk…” At that point, it doesn’t matter if best days of In Your Honor’s first disc are long behind it. — D.C.

    72. “Long Road to Ruin”

    Advertisement

    Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace (2007)

    The best part of “Long Road to Ruin” is its accompanying music video, directed by Foo Fighter fave Jesse Peretz. The video stars a wigged-out Grohl alongside Rashida Jones, both playing soap stars who happen to be histrionic lovers both onscreen and off on their long road to ruin. The song is pretty fun, but it’s part of a bigger issue that permeates Echoes: It’s pretty good in the moment, but just not very memorable. — J.G.

    71. “A Matter of Time”

    Wasting Light (2011)

    The freewheelin’ spirit to the Foo Fighters is a powerful thing, and that goes twofold when they’re not leaning on ’70s-style jams and instead writing simple pop songs. No, when they can nail down a chewy track that bounces and stands up straight, they’re absolutely unstoppable. “A Matter of Time” is one of those tracks, the end of a trilogy of outstanding deep cuts off Wasting Light that shimmies and shakes and everything in between. It’s also intriguing where they take the song (scan to the psychedelic bridge at 3:12) as it would have been so easy to lean hard against that sticky, icky chorus. Ooh wee. — M.R.

    70. “Home”

    Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace (2007)

    Simple, sweet, and written about missing one’s family on the road, “Home” is one of the few quiet closers to a Foo Fighters album (the only other being “Razor”). On its own, it feels slight — perhaps even disposable — but when played after the tonal whirlwind of the rest of Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, it’s more than a suitable comedown. It could also be an unofficial sequel to the louder and longer “New Way Home,” the final song on The Colour and the Shape. Dave Grohl was once searching for a sanctuary after the tour. Now, he’s found it. He is there, and he is happy. — D.C.

    69. “Have It All”

    One by One (2002)

    So much of One by One operates on the idea that Grohl and co. were flying by the seat of their pants. You know, operating on instinct? For instance, “Have It All” never sounds like they actually sat down and figured the song out, and that’s not exactly a bad thing. From beginning to end, the whole thing greases by unopposed, punctuated only by the shifting guitar lines, from those chugging railroad chords to the repetitive scale that sounds like it’s coming from a ’50s phone operator. Still, a little editing would have gone a long way, and it also didn’t need to be nearly five minutes long. — M.R.

    68. “See You”

    The Colour and the Shape (1997)

    You can’t listen to tracks off The Colour and the Shape in isolation without losing something. That’s because Grohl designed the album to mimic a therapy session, the constant volume and speed changes (between and within songs) representing the frontman’s conflicted feelings at the time. So, it’s no mistake that as the feedback dissipates on the most uplifting rock ballad in the Foos’ catalog, “My Hero,” we get the change-up “See You,” a skittering little swinger that reveals Grohl shelving his denial and accepting the positive effects his ex still has on him. As you get older, this track goes from one you used to skip to one you quietly anticipate. Okay, gramps. — M.M.

    67. “La Dee Da”

    Advertisement

    Concrete and Gold (2017)

    It’s not hard to imagine Robert Plant singing “La Dee Da,” or Rob Tyner for that matter, because this high-tech update of the MC5 even mentions “the American ruse” between its quantized slabs of one-note-synth and guitar. For once, the Foo Fighters could be taking alt-rock out of its comfort zone instead of defining it. — D.W.

    66. “Come Back”

    One by One (2002)

    With its length, abrupt shifts, and start-stop chord progression, at times, “Come Back” feels like the Foos are attempting to recreate “New Way Home.” They never quite get there (it could have used some more speed at the end), but it’s still one of the stronger tracks on One by One, trudging forward with a sense of purpose, determined to deliver a strong finish to a mostly average album. — D.C.

    65. “Arrows”

    Concrete and Gold (2017)

    The woozy “Arrows” continues Dave Grohl’s developing interest in using notes he doesn’t tend to lean on, and it’s nice to hear his larynx and guitar voicing them. The closest cousin to this melody in his catalogue may just be the spooky cover of Gary Numan’s “Down in the Park,” which never quite breaks into anthem as he does here, punctuated by Archers of Loaf-style guitar screeches of course. His most rewarding deep cut in some time. — D.W.

    64. “Back and Forth”

    Wasting Light (2011)

    The second half of Wasting Light admittedly pales in comparison to the album’s muscular upper body, but a song like “Back and Forth,” to borrow a lyric from the song, “shows a little backbone.” It’s the Foo Fighters doing late-era Replacements — think Don’t Tell a Soul — and it’s an unpretentious blast of energy that’s slick but boisterous enough to feel like a late-night college party. It’s also another example of how this band can write exceptionally great verses and super-good choruses or vice versa; a back-and-forth conundrum, no pun intended, that the band continues to struggle with on occasion. — M.R.

    63. “Another Round”

    In Your Honor (2005)

    It’s funny the little things that make you love a song. For me, it’s the inflection on the chorus as Grohl asks, “Can you go another round?” It’s a pledge as much as a question, and I’m not sure that it’s possible to exist as long as Grohl has (or I have or you have) without someone offering that support at some point. Likewise, I couldn’t imagine never having been that crutch for someone else. Damn, that line gets to me for some reason. — M.M.

    62. “Let It Die”

    Advertisement

    Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace (2007)

    Before recording Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, Dave Grohl revealed that the band wanted to squeeze the tonal variances on In Your Honor — a double album — into a single disc. With “Let It Die,” they squeeze it into a single song. The end result is one of the Foos’ better exercises in soft-loud dynamics. Although it’s softer overall than the track that comes after it, “Erase/Replace,” it has a stronger — and more nuanced — power. — D.C.

    61. “Cheer Up, Boys (Your Make Up Is Running)”

    Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace (2007)

    Taylor Hawkins’ drums are set to detonate as “Cheer Up, Boys (Your Makeup Is Running),” a working title that stuck, explodes out of the gate. Echoes has as many shortcomings as a record as I do as a son-in-law, but “Cheer Up, Boys” isn’t one of them. It’s a melodic assault that’s pure fun and another example of how well a nimble Grohl knows his way around a rock song. Hey kids, that’s Taylor Hawkins and Chris Shiflett on backing vocals! — M.M.

    60. “Low”

    One by One (2002)

    Maybe because it was a nightmare to create, who knows, but One by One has long been seen as the evil stepchild in the Foo Fighters’ discography. Which is kind of strange given that it birthed classics like “All My Life” and “Times Like These.” One track that deserves to be tossed in that pile is “Low.” The third single off the record is a jagged tornado of noise, sounding as if it was recorded in a rusty cyclone, which happens to fit the subject matter. It’s about a pair of fuck buddies who get off on each other over anyone else, and that edgy material warranted an edgier song. As Grohl argues, “It’s unlike anything [they’ve] ever done,” and it’s a shame more people weren’t receptive to it. Oh, well. — M.R.

    59. “The Sky Is a Neighborhood”

    Concrete and Gold (2017)

    Grohl’s full-throated vocal performance evokes Paul McCartney, while the pounding shuffle is undoubted informed by his other pals in Queens of the Stone Age, and yet the best single from Concrete and Gold manages to be itself. Gotta love that Eagles-style choir of backup Daves buttressing the chorus too. — D.W.

    58. “Enough Space”

    The Colour and the Shape (1997)

    Seems like every Foo Fighters album has to have at least one song that lets Grohl go fucking nuts. “Enough Space” is the proverbial exhaust pipe for The Colour and the Shape, a total expulsion of rage that captures some of the singer’s finest bloodcurdling screams. But it’s smarter than that; the entire song is shouldered by a handful of melodies and a couple of key change-ups, specifically when the song warps into a 16-bit jam two minutes in. Apparently, the song was inspired by a 1992 flick called Arizona Dreaming, which stars Johnny Depp and Faye Dunaway, but you’d never know. Though, come to think of it, Depp probably sounded a little like Grohl here when he fucked up his hand on a wine glass while arguing with former wife Amber Heard. Lifestyles of the rich and famous, my friends… — M.R.

    57. “Stranger Things Have Happened”

    Advertisement

    Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace (2007)

    Grohl has said that the quiet nature of “Stranger Things Have Happened” is the result of feeling stuck in the hotel rooms he constantly finds himself in on the road. He (or perhaps a bandmate or producer Gil Norton) takes that conceit one step further by placing what sounds like a metronome under the song’s verses; we even hear it getting cranked up in the beginning. It’s a subtle flourish that breathes life into a song about being bored, keeping it from being, well, boring. — D.C.

    56. “Sean”

    Saint Cecilia EP (2015)

    The root of many Saint Cecilia songs are from as far back as the ‘90s, but “Sean” wouldn’t feel out of place on Wasting Light. Clocking in at a mere 2:11, the track serves as a more-than-appropriate, less-is-more model. Too often Foo tracks wear out their welcome, but Grohl and the gang know when to cease fire here. “Sean” blisters along before the bubbly, easy-peasy chorus refrain of, you guessed it, “Sean!” Goofing around but that’s no insult. — J.G.

    55. “X-Static”

    Foo Fighters (1995)

    Part of what makes Foo Fighters such an enjoyable listen is how everything just connects. Of course, that’s easy when it’s only a single guy in a studio with a lot of emotions, words, and hooks. But execution is a whole other thing, and while pretty much every album by the Foo Fighters runs about a track or two too long, stunted by filler and would-be B-sides, the debut is a concrete statement front to back. Even an unassuming track like “X-Static” speaks volumes. It’s not particularly catchy, or even outright memorable, but it’s a moment that feels compelling, and that’s a rewarding feeling. In the past, Grohl has gone on record and said songs like this are “the only way [he] can express grief or happiness,” which explains everything. — M.R.

    54. “These Days”

    Wasting Light (2011)

    If Dave Grohl was making this list, “These Days” would rank near the very top. We won’t argue too vehemently against him, though. In the same straight-on vein that made Wasting Light so rejuvenating, Grohl beautifully adds to rock’s long tradition of “you don’t really get me” songs, and the shift in his voice from vulnerability to frustrated growling absolutely injects the song with utter sincerity. So, lay off him already. — M.M.

    53. “Oh, George”

    Foo Fighters (1995)

    There are no clunkers on the band’s first LP. Not every song blows you away, but they’re all worthy of at the very least a polite nod. I’m underselling a song like “Oh, George,” although Grohl would likely say I’m overselling. The bandleader has cited this as his least favorite Foo song, but we can’t always go by what the writer says. Once it’s out there it’s ours, and I’ll always go to bat for this verging-on-jangle pop number. — J.G.

    52. “Next Year”

    Advertisement

    There Is Nothing Left to Lose (1999)

    There’s nothing subtle about “Next Year.” Foo Fighters were continuing to experiment with ballads that could both expand their fan base and provide necessary change-ups during live sets. Sure, the band is as wimpy as ever on the song, but the track’s central conceit does resonate, with Grohl’s returning home narrative avoiding its trite possibilities and earning its sentimental stripes. — P.C.

    51. “Wind Up”

    The Colour and the Shape (1997)

    Grohl does his best straight-up screaming on their second LP, with “Wind Up” serving as one of the finer examples. While the music doesn’t deviate much from point A to point B, Grohl’s voice sure does elevate come that third verse. It’s the one where the rock star is fed up with being pigeonholed by the music journalist. “It’s confession you sell.” “Spare me your questions since you know me so well.” “Keep you at a distance from the things that I felt.” It isn’t hard to imagine the number of times Grohl has been asked about Cobain. This track is Grohl finally losing his patience. — J.G.

    50. “Headwires”

    There Is Nothing Left to Lose (1999)

    “Headwires” is really the last track (sequence-wise) on There Is Nothing Left to Lose that we can recommend in good faith. Grohl calls the song a tribute to the Stones and says if you hold the track up to your ear, you can hear a bit of Tattoo You in there. I’m not sure about all that, but when Grohl sings, “Better than a bullet being fired,” I totally hear “Monkey Wrench.” Am I alone here? Wouldn’t be the first time. — M.M.

    49. “Hey, Johnny Park!”

    The Colour and the Shape (1997)

    It’s hard to say that bassist Nate Mendel, formerly of emo icons Sunny Day Real Estate, had much to do with the sound of early Foo Fighters albums. That era was almost exclusively the vision of Grohl. Still, it’s interesting to note a song like “Hey, Johnny Park!” — one of the most emo-sounding songs the band would ever release. Of course, this isn’t Sunny Day’s brand of emo, but more a forbearer of the screamo that would come in the next decade. But on an album that takes pleasure in its disparate styles, “Hey, Johnny Park!” is an experiment outside of their comfort zone that works, packing drama into its harmonies and served up with massive dose of Grohl’s wide-eyed earnestness. — P.C.

    48. “Gimme Stitches”

    There Is Nothing Left to Lose (1999)

    Joe Walsh would guest on the Foo Fighters’ Sonic Highways, but the band had actually written a James Gang-esque song on their own 15 years earlier. The classic-rock bid works much better than “Outside,” perhaps because 1999 was a lot closer to the ’70s than 2014. Or maybe it was a result of the band recording as a lean and mean three-piece for There Is Nothing Left to Lose. Or maybe it was written the way most good songs are written: with little reasoning or explanation. Sometimes, when three people get together in a room with their instruments, this sort of successful classic-rock tribute just happens. — D.C.

    47. “For All the Cows”

    Advertisement

    Foo Fighters (1995)

    Irreverent humor is a large part of what makes the Foo Fighters a cut above the mainstream schlock they’re traditionally roped around. “For All the Cows” isn’t irreverent, per se, but the country-fried wash of each verse, namely how Grohl’s guitar sounds more like a lasso than a six-string shooter, has always made this early, early track sound quasi tongue in cheek. Again, it’s not. Sure, the opening line (“I’m called a cow/ I’m not about/ To blow it now/ For all the cows”) is curious with a capital C, but then he starts talking about money being exchanged (“It’s funny how money allows all to browse/ And be endowed/ This wish is true it falls into pieces new/ The cow is you”), and the joke isn’t funny anymore. Well, it kind of is … c’mon, cows. — M.R.

    46. “Wattershed”

    Foo Fighters (1995)

    Part love letter to Mike Watt and a defunct Austin rock band (“I wanna swim in a wattershed/ I wanna listen to Flowerhead”), “Wattershed” is another reliable track on the solo effort, er, debut self-titled Foo Fighters LP. Grohl flexes his musical abilities throughout the record and not just by plodding and fiddling about. This song is evidence of such praise. It’s hard to imagine that the same guy who put together that weird time signature shift for the chorus of this song created “Wheels” 15 years later. Everything still seems so real here. — J.G.

    45. “In Your Honor”

    In Your Honor (2005)

    Outside of Sonic Highways, have the Foo Fighters ever not had a killer opener to one of their albums? On the title track of In Your Honor, they one-up themselves at every turn. A drone soon explodes with howling and drum thunder, and right when it seems like the song can’t handle any more power, a false ending gives way to one more round of wordless screams. The only downside is that it sets such a high bar for the rest of the album. — D.C.

    44. “Doll”

    The Colour and the Shape (1997)

    “Doll” feels like a mere intro to sophomore album The Colour and the Shape – no different than, say, an opening PSA or skit on a hip-hop album – that is, until you find yourself humming along to the minute-and-change ditty and hitting repeat. Catchy as hell, the little lullaby-like plea pulls its weight and then some: establishing the soft-loud emotional dynamic of the album, shrinking Grohl’s head following his divorce the year before, and acting as the perfect launch pad for one of the most blazing alt rock hits of the ‘90s, “Monkey Wrench.” Hey, we’ll meet you there. — M.M.

    43. “Overdrive”

    One by One (2002)

    On One by One, the band often overcompensates in an effort to be more “raw” and “hard.” Fortunately, “Overdrive” is the exception to that rule. The track has a bob-your-head quality to it as opposed to a bang-your-head hindrance that plagued other album cuts. The lyrics are dumb fun, but on a such a self-serious record, it’s more than welcome. No other song is as breezy on their fourth LP. “Times Like These” has a murderous melody but definitely carries a weight with it. “Overdrive” represents what the Foo Fighters do best: pop-rock dressed up in hard rock. Nothing wrong with that. — J.G.

    42. “Friend of a Friend”

    Advertisement

    In Your Honor (2005)

    For two decades and counting, Grohl has had to dodge endless questions on which songs are about Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, or his overall experience with Nirvana. (On the plus side, it was probably a great icebreaker when he first met Sir Paul McCartney. You know?) But “Friend of a Friend” is an actual meditation on that time period: “I’d just moved up to Seattle and joined Nirvana,” Grohl told NME. “I’d moved in with Kurt in this dirty little apartment. That was the first song I’d ever written on an acoustic guitar with vocal. It gives a nod to the past, where the rest of [In Your Honor] is about looking ahead.”

    Source material aside, what really fuels this song is the use of repetition, specifically the back-and-forth chord progression and the haunting use of “No one speaks,” which slowly closes all of the doors around you. Kind of spooky, but also kind of relaxing. — M.R.

    41. “Floaty”

    Foo Fighters (1995)

    Only on an album as front-loaded (and, hell, back-heavy too) as the Foo’s self-titled debut could a cut like “Floaty” possibly fall into the category of afterthought. Rubbing riffs against so many songs topping this list, the Side-A closer hints at just how capable a songwriter Grohl already was at this stage. Those may be early gibberish lyrics (though the idea of people “floating away” sure seems relevant enough to those times), but the acoustic tease, the surprise vocal start, and Grohl’s choice to let both the hazy verses and choppy choruses crest and float atop the arrangement show how the young songwriter could turn an incredibly simple jam into something un-Foo-gettable. Blame Justin Gerber for that pun. — M.M.

    Advertisement

Personalized Stories

Around The Web

Advertisement