5 Exhausted – Foo Fighters
With a distinct fuzzy guitar, Exhausted is the audible embodiment of, well, exhaustion. The lyrical content of Exhausted is far more esoteric and ambiguous than almost all other Foo Fighters’ songs, making it a distinct favorite amongst die-hard fans (those who didn’t jump on the Everlong bandwagon, I suppose). Even Grohl’s voice has a drawl to it, not southern of course, but the kind that comes from waking up too early. That feeling of complete, bone tiredness pours out of the speakers. It is, you must imagine, how Grohl must have felt after the demise of Nirvana (re: Cobain’s death). Seeming too tired to keep singing, the last half of the song is simply music, which is a pleasant surprise. It does not fail to grab the attention of the listener, by playing with the dynamic sounds of the distorted guitar and melodic guitars, as well as sporadic drumming. A brilliant piece of music, Exhausted is an undeniably unique song, both within the Foo Fighters’ canon, and in the greater realm of rock music.
4 Stranger Things Have Happened – Echoes, Silence, Patience, and Grace
Coming off of one of the less popular Foo Fighters albums, Stranger Things Have Happened showcases Foo’s thoughtful side, which by now we all know Grohl has. The album, which doesn’t quite flow the way you want it to, is still filled with jewels. Mashed together, they don’t quite shine right – but regardless, Stranger Things Have Happened is undoubtedly a brilliant song. Grohl’s typical growl is self-stifled during times, giving the listener the impression that he is holding back from really screaming (a feeling, I am sure, we all know). Reflective of the album’s title, this song is full of echoes of the past, moments of deep reflective silence, struggling with patience, and the ever-present grace of the Foo Fighters softer ambitions.
3 Big Me – Foo Fighters
My personal favorite off Foo’s eponymous album, Big Me is one of the most honest songs Foo has ever penned. At this point, Foo consisted simply of Dave Grohl – which proved his musical prowess, Big Me shows a softer side of Grohl’s ability after the heavy hitting power he displayed with Nirvana. This softness is a great contrast to the expected music of the grunge era, and a refreshing one at that. It is a song that nearly anyone can relate to, and is easily interpreted in various ways, making it appealing to anyone who has ever felt what Dave Grohl espouses in this beautiful, quiet moment.
2 Bridges Burning – Wasting Light
There most recent album, Wasting Light seemed to be the final candle on the cake, as it were, with Foo Fighters current hiatus. At least Foo fans aren’t disappointed by the bands “final” (I’m still hopeful for a reunion in the future) work. Chock-a-block full of hard hitting rock songs, Bridges Burning stands out amongst the rest for its structure, as well as lyrical content. With pointedly simple, yet deeply complex lines like “a king of second chances,” the listener is for a moment welcomed into Dave Grohl’s psyche, into his world, and what makes him tick. Any musician who can successfully open him-or-her-self up to the world like that, without coming off arrogant or sappy is definitely worth noting. Not only that, but Bridges Burning also plays with Foo’s classic overlapping vocals, where your head and heart are so overwhelmed by the powerful words that you’re not quite sure what to feel, but you definitely feel it strong.
1 Everlong – The Colour and The Shape
Undoubtedly their breakthrough song, Everlong is one of the most beautiful love songs ever written. And you wouldn’t think so t first listen. Because it doesn’t have a ballady hook or deeply melancholy vocals, Everlongis stronger than any other love song to come out of the 90s (and, I would argue, the 2000s as well). With gut-wrenchingly honest lyrics, and stereo-smashingly loud guitar riffs, Everlong manages to grab you from the inside out and twist your heart into a knot. Not entirely hopeless, though, Everlong’s romanticism is what makes it so special. It isn’t simply love lost or love gained, it explores the complexity of interpersonal relationships – pushing each other, rescuing each other, being truly part of one another – breathing each other in and out. There is nothing more beautiful than that, and the Foo Fighters captured that quality in an unparalleled way with Everlong.