Over time, the Foo Fighters have managed to not only break out of the shadow of a certain Nirvana lead singer, but have also gone to be an extremely successful band. This is due to the genuine love of music by the band, but it also has to do with the great skill of song writing that the band has. With Dave Grohl leading them, Pat Smear, Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel and Chris Shiflett have made hit after hit, and yet they just seem to be warming up. Here's the list of the Top ten Foo Fighters songs. Hope you enjoy
10. Stacked Actors, There is Nothing Left to Lose
We start with the the album opener from the band’s third release, the highly underrated 'There is Nothing Left to Lose.” The opening thump of guitar and drums is particularly gnarly for this band, but we're quickly dashed up into a more familiar sound from the band. I've always thought of this song as pretty gritty and angry, and the lyrics don't do anything to persuade you of otherwise. The song also has that more immediate feel to is because unlike the other albums, this was recorded as a three piece. It's been rumored this is a fuck you to the always horrible Courtney Love, but no one has ever confirmed this. Overall though, it's a pretty heavy song full of angst and power, and if you haven't checked it out, you should. It's the Foo Fighters at their unabashed best.
9. February Stars, The Colour and the Shape
Among this album are many gems, but this remains one of the tracks you don't hear mentioned too often. The song itself is a more mellow, sweeter side than what we're used to from them, but it never feels out of place or misguided. The subtle buildup and hopeful lyrics really do make you want a certain type of love and trust. “You ask for walls I build them higher” is a perfect reflection of how one person is willing to do anything for the person they love the most. Once the song hits the high notes though, that's when the emotional core of the song really becomes present. It's one of their most uplifting songs, and for a band that has many of them, that's saying something.
8. All My Life, One By One
Maybe the best opening song in the band's entire career, and also one of the most rocking they ever created. The buildup is awesome, and the effect when the song explodes is unavoidable. What's even more impressive about this track is how it manages to have an immediate punk rock feel to it while also feeling like a traditional rock n roll song. It also happens to have one of the best guitar parts in modern rock history. Grohl's focus and unrelenting screams towards the end of the song solidify the song as a hard core rocker, and for many it's their favorite song by the band. When this song came out it served as a reminder that they could still rock the fuck out, and they still haven't let up.
7. Arlandia, Wasting Light.
Probably my favorite song off of this album. I was lucky to see it live not once, but twice. The opening blast gives way to a simple guitar and drum part, but what really stands out here is the overall message. I feel like it's directed at a imaginary relationship that has long run it's course. It also has a certain hint of hypocrisy to it, and the main character in the track seems less than desirable. Truth be told, the song serves more as a letter to the area of Virginia where Grohl grew up, but there's no denying certain aspects of the song remind you of a specificperson. Having said that, the vocals near the bridge of the song are some of the best delivered lines I've ever heard, and it really proves to take the song in a different, albeit interesting direction.
6. Let It Die, Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace
The acoustic opening is very well managed, and the accompanying sounds that slowly build up get the song off to a solid but gentle start. Honestly I wished Dave Grohl would sing softer a little bit more often because it's so enjoyable. I'm aware he won't use it if it's not warranted, but it's really good. This song though is one of the darker tracks, and it's pretty obvious it's a song about suffering and loss. I'm going to assume the focus is of the struggles of becoming overwhelmed by addiction. Personally I've been through difficult situations, but thankfully hardcore addiction to something has never been one of them. I'm unaware if band members have struggled with it, but at least we can be sure that people affiliated with the band have. It's a difficult thing of course, and the power of song is a reminder that we can all fall at times, but that strength and perseverance is one of the most important tools to have in that fight.
5. Hey, Johnny Park!, The Colour and the Shape
One of the most amazing songs I've ever heard from this band, without a doubt. The drums are the real kick starter to the song, and with that as a lead off the song never dissipates. Although scattered lyrically, the full sonic force of the track can easily be felt. For a long time I thought it was about reaching an unattainable goal, but lately certain lyrics have made me feel like it might be more about forced love, tendencies towards stalking, and resentment. Either way, the ending section has some of the most powerful lyrics I've ever heard, and it's a main reason why the song has stuck with me for so long. “Now that I've found my reward, throw it away long before, I share a piece of mine with you” speaks to me about the courage to be honest in a difficult situation and feeling like after you've made your peace, everyone is free to go about their lives.
4. Times Like These, One by One
I was hearing this song a lot during a severely tricky time in my life, and as cheesy as it is, it really did help me to learn to not get overwhelmed and sucked down by negativity. The positivity bleeding through the entire song serves as a great indicator that life goes on, even when we think we don't want it to. When this song reached me, it relayed all the pain, fear and torment I was going through and made it more bearable and easier to deal with. You can tell also that the song is genuinely powerful to the band. It helps when you can tell the band believes in what is coming through the speakers, and without a doubt, you can feel it here. Next time you're struggling, try to think about something good, and soon enough, things will seem better.
3. Best of You, In Your Honor
This song is a fucking force of nature. Relationships are incredibly hard, and life is hard also. The song, which tells the story of a couple whose lives are increasingly at odds with the foundation they once nourished. While it's not a super optimistic song, it's one of their best and most solidly well written songs. When I do these lists, I try not to pick the most well known songs, but there are times you simply can't avoid it. Songs like this are both amazingly wonderful and very well regarded, and there's a reason for it. The Foo Fighters have the uncanny ability to relate to real life troubles. One reason for that, I think is because they never lost sight of why they were in the game. That what makes them still so awesome after so long. When a band loves what they’re doing, it's extremely obvious. And for the Foo's, it's obvious
2. My Hero, The Colour and the Shape
Another very worthy track in regards to their legacy of great rock n roll. The guitar part is so simple and badass that even after hearing this song hundreds of time, it's still one of the stand out sections for me. Just listening to the track makes me think of days as a younger kid, playing with my dad, and laughing and joking. I guess I don't have a hero per se, although the lyrics have always made me feel like it's a song that has a fatherly feel to it. Whether it's from the point of view of a father, or a child looking upon with amazement of a parental figure, I can't be sure. The video very much ties into that also. The man saving the family, and then simply walking away after the work had been done. He does it gladly, and he's grateful he could do it. The video is pretty powerful, but it doesn't compare to the force of the song, and that's saying a lot. The song, in the end though, remains
1. Everlong, The Colour and the Shape.
I feel like this was very obvious. Not to say it isn't totally worthy though, because without a second thought, it is. There are few times in music where the awesome quality of the song is matched perfectly by the greatness of the music video, but “Everlong” is one of the rare moments. The video is full of majesty, and while it's a bit silly, to me it's one of the most original videos of the last twenty years. Getting to the song though, it's completely amazing in almost every way possible. The brooding but quickly guitar opening, giving way to the initially subdued lyrics, paints a perfect picture of a happy, loving relationship. As a person who has shared incredible moments with the person I love, I can't help but smile when I think of that. The chorus is also very easy to sing along to, which I think makes it even easier to allow yourself to be taken captive by it. This remains a song that I'll always crank up and scream the lyrics to, simply because it's a fucking amazing track, and when a song this unreal and magical appears, it doesn't do it justice to just quietly hum and sing along to it. A powerful song needs to be met with a powerful reaction, and every time I've seen it performed live, it's been met with the kind of love that only comes from a song being truly great. One of their most pure, honest, and among the best that they've ever graciously given to the world. The number one Foo Fighters song, “Everlong.” Thanks for reading!
For my money there’s no band closer to the profound Talking Heads then the James Murphy led LCD Soundsystem. Breaking onto the scene in 2005, the climate was ripe for change. With the help of Nancy Whang and the incomparable Pat Mahoney, among others, LCD was able to grow into something that had been just a solitary man making music, with no intent on touring. Multiple albums, a breakup, and a reunion later, LCD is back proving to many uninitiated how fun, important, and danceable they are. Modern day disco punk fans rejoice, LCD is back and killing it. Here’s the top ten list for your reading pleasure.
10. Tribulations, LCD Soundsystem
One of the best things about this band is the tones they use in their electronic instrumentations. Sort of old feeling, but not in a contrived way. It feels very much like a disco movie with rough edges. This mood is very evident in our number ten choice, ‘Tribulations.’ It’s easy to move to, but it also packs a punch on the emotional level. The song is jointed together by resentment and mistakes, through various courses in life. Murphy’s voice also has the sway of a torn man dependent on dance and moving to escape his pain. It’s an early sign of what would come, and is every bit as fun.
9. One Touch, This is Happening
One of the things this band, and Murphy in particular do so well is building of sounds then exploding them into something more bombastic and prominent. The first example of this today comes from “final” album track ‘One Touch.’ Not that the third album isn’t brilliant, but there are only a few areas where the album defies ultimate expectations. The first listens to this showed me that. One of the longest tracks on this list, ‘Touch’ manages to build together gaps with virtually the same beat at the start of the track. It’s not hard to follow, which I think is why the track is fun and menacing at the same time.
8. Daft Punk is Playing at my House, LCD Soundsystem
In your face from moment one, ‘Daft Punk is Playing at my House,’ manages to be everything you need to know from LCD and Daft Punk. it manages to sound like both bands without much effort or hackery. It has that DP beat to it, and even though it’s not electronically oriented to a high degree, it feels like something the Robots would produce, or at least play at random moments. I also have to say I can’t think of any band saluting someone else on a track so obviously. Wouldn’t you be nervous if you knew your favorite didn’t like the song you made to profess your love?
7. I Can Change, This is Happening
One of the most uplifting songs on the countdown also happens to fall near the bottom, which is still better than 95% of other music around today. The way Murphy’s voice croons through discoballs, and in that moment you’re in a little club brightened by electronic pulses and shimmers in the dark air. It’s one of the easiest songs to move to on this album, and makes it a little more sentimental. The lyrics also take a brilliant but dark path towards the end, which depicts yet again the romantic tendencies in this band. Really pretty, but also really honest when it needs to be.
6. Home, This is Happening
Last songs on records aren’t as easy as you might think. The great last song either crescendos up to glorious highs, or descends to somber lows that quietly take over a space. Of those two, ‘Home’ is the first type mentioned (We’ll get to the other kind in a bit..). Again the use of building is used to gorgeous effect, the song coming at you like a circus themed dance club in the middle of Autumn. It eases into things, slowing adding to the rhythm and beat overall. LCD is essentially at this point an electronic, dance oriented version of Tool. Long, big songs, consistently adding or changing aspects as well as expectations. They also happen to be brilliant.
5. Get Innocuous!, Sound of Silver
The first time this enters your ears, you realize everything is right with the world and this band will almost certainly deliver on another masterstroke of an album. Again with the upward build, number five on the Top Ten LCD Soundsystem songs, has the added advantage of a boom of a voice at the top of the elevation. It always reminded me of a man serenading you at the climax of an escalator, except with weird visuals all over the place. Seeing this live not two weeks ago was simply wonderful, and the intensity of the energy of that crowd made it all the more of a moment to be at peace with everything.
4. Movement, LCD Soundsystem
Ah yes, the bands one true punk song. ‘Movement’ is everything is claims to be. The synth starts with purpose and intensity, and James’ hurried, increasing aggressive vocals only add to the tensions waiting to get ripped apart with not hurting, but more dancing. It’s a track that inspires you to hoist fits in the air and lose your mind for a small amount of time. It’s also shorter than most LCD songs, so it doesn’t feel overly long. It gets to the point fast, and shows you how to rock even faster.
3. New York, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down
And here’s the depressing last song. Truth be told, I’ve felt brought down by my city of choice, New Orleans, more than once. Maybe that’s the curse of living in the same place you were born. In the number three selection, Murphy sits solo and taps away on the piano a tale of love, but also of honesty, and anger in how the city makes you forget everything good, and envelopes itself around you, unable to get those choices back. Murphy doesn’t often try to hit high notes when he’s as naked as he is now, but for this track is works better, way better than expected, and with that the last track of Sound of Silver wraps up and we proceed to number two...
2. Dance YRself Clean, This Is Happening
Like i said earlier, slow building tracks are sort of a thing for Murphy, Whang and Mahoney, along with all the other eclectic members of the band. For nearly two minutes the song gradually tops itself, although never in an over the top fashion. By the time the drums ramp in and the belting vocals start peaking out, the song is transformed to a dance club masterpiece. It’s not only the second best song from the band, it starts off this incredible album with a slow burning bang that proceeds to set the pace for a wonderful evening listening to jams from NYC, the only place that could invent that sound.
1. All My Friends, Sound of Silver
Very rarely in life, you find a top 10 all time song. “All My Friends,” the number one LCD Soundsystem song, gets all the way to my top five favorite all time songs. There’s something so carefree, resilient, and thought provoking that makes it all work so well. The build and gradual nature of the song do miracles. They instinctively come together in a cordial weave of spontaneity, the way yawn eventually makes something warm and welcoming. I’ve listened to this song more times that i could ever count, but it never gets old, not even for a second. It’s a gift to us all, and i’m thrilled to have it in my life.
It all started in 2007, nearly a decade ago. I ventured onto the glorious grounds known as the farm, and for four long, substance expansive days I was in paradise. Since that inaugural year I’ve been four other times, including the festival that ended slightly more than seven days ago. Today we’ll be discussing the good, the bad, and all the rest of the 15th anniversary of Bonnaroo.
Now half the battle of Roo is getting there. For my group, this involved actually getting everything into the car (we had no room for bodies once everything was packed), dealing with car issues of the frustrating and perplexing type, and finally, actually avoiding those pesky Tennessee state troopers.
Finally though, we arrived, set up camp, and began our journey into the heart of music and freedom, although using the word freedom to describe Roo these days doesn’t mean anything close to what it used to mean. You see, since Live Nation took over the fest, more and more things have change every year. Sets started early or ended early, gone seems to be the tradition of letting the last bands on a particular day play way past their scheduled end times, and let’s not forget the over abundance of police everywhere. I mean seriously...tons of cops, just trying to ruin everyone’s good time.
Anyway, Roo is a marathon, not a sprint, and over the course of four long ass days you really do get the chance to make lifelong friends, short-term friends, and to see tons of bands you may not have been super interested in who end up being some of your top shows of the weekend. In the past I’ve written day by day reviews, but this year I’m trying something different, if only because there was so much awesome to go around. Here are the top ten sets from the Roo weekend:
10. Kamasi Washington
Friday was the big day for me, and an awe inspiring, powerful performance from avant garde jazz musician Kamasi certainly made the impending night shows step up their game. For an hour Washington more or less owned the stage, and demonstrated why his prominence in thinking man's music circles has grown over the last year or so.
9. Marian Hill
Coming near the end of the opening night, the members of Marian Hill covered the “Other Tent” with gorgeous layers of synth pop, amazing vocals, and a saxophone that only added to the sexual tension both onstage and off. The three members work really well off of each other, and the way lead vocalist Samantha Gongol is able to slither around the stage and make you feel as if she’s only paying attention to you added to the element of seduction that was highlighted throughout their set.
One of the more surprising and raucous sets of the weekend came from Nashville’s Bully. Somewhat serving as a homecoming show for the foursome, Alicia Bognanno and company ripped through a set full of more energy and crowd surfing than you’d expect from an audience trying to escape the unbearable heat. Thankfully though, the crowd and band seemed in sync and on similar energy levels, so the set went off marvelously well.
7. Father John Misty
Soulful, haunting, tongue-in-cheek, and sometimes full of shit, J. Tillman has quickly become one of the most fun and riveting performers in the indie world to watch over the last few years. The band’s sunday set was pleasing in many ways, and while the music was top notch and engaging, the between song banter elevated the performance to festival highlight quality, and I suspect more will keep pouring out from this vastly interesting band.
6. Lamb of God
Metal is always tricky at Roo, but after a brief festival shut down for a storm that didn’t do much at all, Richmond, Virginia metalheads descended upon the stage to provide one of the best sets of the entire weekend. They were heavy, in your face, and musically sound as they poured through ninety minutes of material. Song after song resonated with the crowd, and a sizable portion seemed to love every second of it. If you missed this show, I feel bad for you, simply because it proved how well metal can actually go over at big music festivals, and why more fests should give it a try.
5. Death Cab for Cutie
For the record, I will always think slightly overweight, dorky Ben Gibbard is the best at conveying the themes in Death Cab's music, but the thin, somewhat suddenly handsome Gibbard who showed up Sunday on the main stage will do just fine. Performing for just an hour (like seriously, what the fuck Bonnaroo), the band pushed as much into their ridiculously short time as they could, and well, it all worked out beautifully.
4. Tame Impala
So beyond the fact that Kevin Parker and company didn’t play the advertised two hours they were supposed to get, this set was face melting good. Over the course of three albums, Impala has managed to make progressively thought provoking music, as well as melding various styles. Friday night’s late night show showcased all of that, as well as more spectacles than nearly anyone else I saw at Roo. They delivered classic tracks like “Elephant,” as well as showcasing more of “Currents” than was initially present in the early days of their tour.
3. J. Cole
One of the great things about Roo is the research you get to do on acts you aren’t familiar with. J.Cole ended up being one of the ones I was most excited about once I got to the farm. From the moment Cole entered, the crowd was on his side. Hit after hit washed over the large What Stage field, and of course, DIY indie star Chance the Rapper showed up for a killer rendition of “No Problem.” All in all, not only one of the best shows of the weekend, but one of the most energetic, vibrant hip hop shows i’ve ever seen.
Day two, or Friday of Roo honestly might go down as one of the best days I’ve ever experienced at the farm. Cole, LCD, and Tame Impala all brought it on day 2, and the great vibes of the day were only made better by the presence of Glasgow natives CHVRCHES. For sixty minutes the trio, comprised of Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty brought their synth pop dynamic to a huge crowd and tons of volume to the Main Stage. Song after song delivered better than their records, and finally seeing this band in the flesh made everything feel right with the world. The show would have benefited greatly from being more showcased at night time, but it didn’t seem to deter the band one bit. Day or not, CHVRCHES delivered, and there didn’t seem to be any differing of opinions when it came to their live prowess.
1. LCD Soundsystem
Not surprisingly, my number one band to see also ended up being the best thing I witnessed at Roo. I was thinking the crowd would be small beforehand, but that wasn’t even remotely the case. People took a chance on someone they may not have thought was headliner worthy, and thankfully Murphy and company didn’t let them down. From the onslaught of opener “Us V Them,” to the chaos of “Movement,” LCD was spot on both in the precision of the tracks showcased and also the willingness of the band to get heavy and in your face when needed. Easily one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, and the gift of watching the band close with “All My Friends” brought a gift into my life that I’m not likely to forget anytime soon, maybe ever.
Thanks for reading!
Incubus has been a band for me awhile that I've either loved or ignored. For quite a few years I was a really big fan. Even seen them alone, because I just wanted to. I got all the albums, checked them out when they played here and really spent a lot of time checking out their music.Today we’re going to talk about some of their better tracks, as well as why a lot of people don't take them seriously even though they've had more than a few consistent albums. Enjoy it
Even early on the band been slightly outside the box. The early albums bring on the stylings of everything from jam, the funk and even a twist of nu metal. “Science” was pretty great, as was “Fungus Amongus,” but i feel like the band really molded into brilliant maturing artists with “Make Yourself,” and the brilliant musings of “Morning View.” These records were absorbed with energy. Some energy was frantic and blasting, while others were more relaxed and romantic. Even a track like “Mexico” was a sleeper dramatic song no one saw coming for the band. Had the band not come initially from that nu metal curse, I think people would have given them more credit. One of the funkiest songs the band has is “Sick Sad Little World.” the bass line alone is heavy and rocking like one of the early RHCP tracks. Just a tremendous track perfect for driving.
So yeah over the years the band has proven themselves to be consistently engaging. But for some reason you rarely hear their name when it’s time to talk brilliant modern rock band. Which for me is somewhat baffling. Sure they have some standard fare sprinkled throughout, but in many of these records lies things that not only wouldn’t you hear on the radio, but tracks that also surprise you at how well Boyd, Einziger and company are able to execute these ideas.
One of the best examples of this are “In the Company of Wolves.” At first the track seems familiar and a retread of the typical Incubus sound, but as the song takes over and moves ahead, the band takes a very different approach. The resulting minutes are strange, meandering and powerful, and ultimately the band gets better because of the risks they still choose to take.
In closing, yeah they have some tracks that don’t pull you in, but plenty of tracks do, so next time you want to discount incubus and write them off as generic, do yourself a favor and check them out more than what you hear on the radio. You might end up being converted.
Landon Murray is a New Orleans native, who thrives on painting the world he interprets through the useful forms of all types of art he feels connected to. He's seen over 1000 bands, and had loved mostly every minute of it. He has an amazing 10 year old dog, and is loving life.
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