25 Years of Foo Fighters
A Foo Review
By KASEY CARR
January 25, 2020
This year we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the sheer greatness that is the Foo Fighters. It’s an exciting year ahead for rock fans in general as the genre seems to be on fire as of late, and that same blaze includes a tenth studio album from these legendary rockers due for release in 2020. Whether you are an avid Foo fan or just a good old-fashioned lover of rock and roll, it is indisputable that it is a substantial milestone for a band to put out two and a half decades of consistent material. Numerous groups cap out after a handful of years, (or until someone turns 27) but these Foos just refuse to stop fighting. As the silver celebration continues, we’ve compiled a list of 25 tracks that you need to grant a listen to. Join us as we reflect on 25 exceptional years of music and dig a little bit deeper than hit-song “Best of You,” by focusing instead on the Best of Foo.
- Baker Street
Unless you’ve got a physical copy of The Colour And The Shape (including bonus tracks), this song is a rare commodity. The track is no longer available for streaming on Spotify or Apple Music, but fear not — as YouTube always comes to the rescue. One of the many feats that Foo Fighters have always excelled at is their ability to conquer obscure covers. The band tends to cover tunes a listener or fan would least expect them to take on. Instead of covering Beatles classic “Come Together” or Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” they dig a little deeper and cover songs such as Prince’s “Darling Nikki,” The Psychedelic Furs’ “Sister Europe,” and my personal favorite, Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street.” Growing up with The Colour And The Shape at a constant spin (along with every other Foo record), I clung heavily to “Baker Street” because of how much soul the main riff carries. I originally had no idea that this brilliant tune was a cover, but after some digging I found that the feeling behind that sweet riff held the soul of an originally saxophone-driven song by Gerry Rafferty. Dave Grohl is indeed a master of his trade, but the knowledge of this ‘70s wind-instrument-led original track causes this particular stand-out obscurity to make complete sense for the Foos to tackle.
- Cold Day in the Sun
Two Foo Fighters songs showcase lead vocal action from drummer Taylor Hawkins, and in this one Hawkins and singer Grohl completely switch roles. This beautifully acoustic-driven number fits right in with the rest of the B-side of “In Your Honor” with an extra dose of Southern-California vibes. Each member of Foo Fighters have their own extensive arsenal of talent, and tracks like this one highlight the incredible diversity of the band. If you’re a “White Limo” kind of Foo fan, I’d spin this B-Side with an open mind. But anything Foo Fighters, whether it be sour or sweet — is worth every listen.
- Disenchanted Lullaby
Lullabies are typically nice and soothing in nature, yes? Well, not this one. This one is dis-enchanted, but beautiful nonetheless. Feeling scattered? Shattered? Doesn’t matter. Crank this tune to either amplify or mend those feelings. It holds the power to do both, whichever you may choose.
- Sunday Rain
This track made the cut just simply because it’s another with Hawkins on lead vocals. Us die-hard Foo fans can’t ever get enough of Grohl’s voice, but some variety in the mix keeps us on our toes. It took a staggering 12 years to get another Hawkins-carried song, and us fans were more than ready for it. Two special aspects are unique to “Sunday Rain.” The first being that Sir Paul McCartney took the studio-drumming-throne for this number, nailing the tracks in only two takes; and the second being the live performance of the track itself. You might be thinking “Awesome! We get some Grohl on the kit!” And you just might be lucky enough to see that live, but not with “Sunday Rain.” Almost as well, and — depending on your taste — maybe even a step above, Hawkins does it all with this one (and on an elevated drum platform, too). If you said that it’s not impressive to watch a drummer of Hawkins’ caliber sing lead vocals AND drum at the same time while in the middle of an over three hour set, not only would you be a big fat liar, you’d be sadly mistaken.
- February Stars
My favorite, from arguably the best Foo Fighters record, The Colour And The Shape. “Everlong” steals the spotlight on this record, which is a shame because tracks like this one share an equal amount of emotion and are just as worthy of the same accolades. The best way to listen to this tune is exactly the way the title intended: right underneath the beautiful February stars themselves. Why don’t you give it a try? After all, February is just around the corner.
- Hey, Johnny Park!
Again, it’s borderline heartbreaking to me how Foo Fighters songs like “Hey, Johnny Park!” get overshadowed by the hits. Not only is this one a great tune, it has a fun story behind the title. At this point in 1997, Grohl hadn’t heard from his childhood best friend, Johnny Park, since he was 14 years old. Cheeky as usual, Grohl simply thought if he named a song after his long-lost friend, Johnny might just give him a call.
- Let It Die
The highlight of this particular masterpiece lies at 2:40, the final break. One of my favorite things about this incredibly versatile band is that they stand out against the formula followed by most rock bands. Most have their heavy songs and then they also have their slower songs. Foo Fighters, on the other hand, have mastered the build and break game to perfectly combine the two and there is no better song to prove that very point than “Let It Die”. The break is almost too powerful. “Let it Die” is also rumored to serve as shade thrown in Courtney Love’s direction (you know, because Kurt Cobain did not kill himself). https://open.spotify.com/track/2XvrMHbSO077Ajg7QTTNdY
- Once and For All
Another rarity almost never found on any Foo fan’s radar. This demo (along with many other gems) is no longer available for streaming. If you’re lucky enough to have a physical copy of Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace with bonus tracks, then you know where to find this tune. But once again, there’s always YouTube. After all, the greatest treasure is often worth a bit of digging, right?
- Make It Right
Calling all Justin Timberlake fans. Not sure why you’d be here in the first place, but that makes just about as much sense as Timberlake on a Foo Fighters record. An unknown fact to most, Timberlake (as per his own request) is featured on this tune for a little bit of backing vocal action. This one is definitely not one of my favorite Foo Fighters songs (sorry Justin), but it’s worth a mention all the same, if only for this unexpected fun fact.
- Stranger Things Have Happened
Sweet and melodic from beginning to end. Another beautiful acoustic number, yet beefier than your typical acoustic-driven track. Many Foo Fighters songs start slow and end on a heavier foot, but this one stays consistently somber throughout while still containing that extra robust element. With heavy emotion that you can feel with each strum and every strained word, this one is surely a cut above the rest. “Stranger Things Have Happened” is guaranteed to unveil feelings that you didn’t even know you had.
- The Neverending Sigh
Ah. I nearly forgot about the Saint Cecilia EP. It’s a nice little treat when any of these tracks are shuffled into my daily mix, especially this one. In 2015, this EP was released as a free download to show gratitude to fans. Another honorable quality of Foo Fighters: their fan appreciation. This number also serves as a dedicated memoir to the victims of the then-recent terrorist attacks in Paris, France.
- Tired Of You
Two words: Brian May. Why wouldn’t you want to listen to a collaboration featuring Queen’s legendary lead guitarist? This track stands out amongst others due to its bare-boned structure. Two guitars and vocals. That’s it. There is not much more you could ask for with both Brian May and Dave Grohl well equipped, each an axe in hand.
With it being an extremely arduous battle to choose my favorite Foo Fighters song, it speaks volumes that I am willing to firmly stamp this one into my personal “Top 5”. Whether you are at the beach, the gym, or it’s laundry-day and you need some good tunes to help you through, this one fits just about every mood.
- Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners
This one will really tug at your heartstrings, so brace yourself. The fine finger-picking at work in this tune is surprisingly not the main attraction. Instead, the sweet backstory behind it serves as the true selling point. This ballad was written after Grohl caught wind of this incredible story: In 2006, an Australian gold mine collapsed and two gold miners spent 14 days trapped nearly an entire mile underground. While awaiting rescue, their only request was an iPod full of Foo Fighters songs. Grohl promised “Though I’m halfway around the world right now, my heart is with you both, and I want you to know that when you come home, there’s [two] tickets to any Foo Fighters show, anywhere, and [two] cold beers waiting for you. Deal?” This song further proves that Foo Fighters’ music is special in the way that it works double-time: it quite literally changes the lives of others, and also helps people get through sometimes impossibly hard circumstances, more or less unscathed. Or — at the very least — with a promise of a beer-date with legendary rock-God Dave Grohl.
Further tracks to listen to:
Over and Out
End Over End