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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
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    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.

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    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:

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    — 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

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    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”

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    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”

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    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”

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    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.

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