From early hardcore punk rarities to blockbuster rock anthems, Planet Rock presents the 12 heaviest Foo Fighters songs of all time.
Formed essentially as a Dave Grohl solo venture six months after Kurt Cobain’s untimely death in 1994 before evolving into a fully-fledged band, it didn’t take long for Foo Fighters to become one of the biggest rock acts on our humble planet. Not usually associated with the darker side of the rock genre, over the past quarter-of-a-Century the Foos have in fact unleashed a number of songs that are surprisingly heavy; from stoner rock riff juggernauts to caustic, blood-vessel busting hardcore punk numbers to more melodic chart-denting hits with a bruising edge.
Here are the 12 heaviest Foo Fighters songs ever (warning: some contain swears):
12. Walking A Line (2002)
Dave Grohl has stated in interviews that ‘Low’ is the most Queens of the Stone Age-esque Foo Fighters tune he’s ever recorded, but we’d argue that title belongs to ‘One by One’ bonus track ‘Walking A Line’. Penned while Dave was balancing his Foos career with playing drums for QOTSA, ‘Walking A Line’ is relentless stoner rock juggernaut that’s powered by muscular, chugging riffs and pummelling drums. Deliciously heavy if a tad one-dimensional and repetitive.
11. The Pretender (2007)
Buoyed by instantly infectious lines like “What if I say I'm not like the others?”, ‘The Pretender’ became an instant Foos classic when it was unleashed to the world back in 2007. A monumental rock track that sees Foos play to their strengths, it starts off restrained and melodic before a whirring riff kicks things up a gear as the song builds in heaviness and intensity. Unlike other tracks on ‘Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace’ that took several weeks to record, ‘The Pretender’ was laid down in just a day. Thematically Dave says the track’s meaning is open to interpretation but also alluded to the fact it could have political undercurrents; “Everyone's been f***ed over before and I think a lot of people feel f***ed over right now and they're not getting what they were promised, and so (the song has) something to do with that.”
10. Enough Space (1997)
Propelled by a meaty bassline, the pulsating track has shades of Pixies’ ‘Tame’ in the screechy “SPAAAAAAAAACEEEE!!” bits and Nirvana’s caustic ‘Nevermind’ track ‘Stay Away’ from some six years earlier. A no nonsense and electrifying rock anthem, the ‘Enough Space’ lyrics were inspired by the 1993 surrealist comedy Arizona Dream starring Johnny Depp.
9. All My Life (2002)
A regular set opener at recent Foo Fighters tours that immediately gets the crowd pumped, ‘All My Life’ was born from an instrumental track, as Dave explained to Kerrang! a few years back: “At first it was really dissonant and noisy. The middle section sounded like "Wipe Out" (by the Surfaris). It was just nuts! We recorded the instrumental and I had no idea how I was gonna sing it. Again, that was another one that our manager said, ‘That's the song!’ And we said, ‘Really? You think that's the one people will like?’” Towering, anthemic, riff heavy and packed with lyrics that (allegedly) allude to oral sex, ‘All My Life’ is not only one of Foo Fighters’ heaviest songs but it’s also amongst one of their best.
8. Stacked Actors (2000)
Just like ‘Run’ some 17 years later, ‘Stacked Actors’ is sonically a song of light and shade. Opening with muscular, Kyuss-esque stoner rock guitars, it quickly switches to a melodic and softly sung segue before Dave’s spitting distain for thespian types grows in intensity and he blasts “Stack dead actors / Stacked to the rafters / Line all up the b*stards / All I want is the truth” amidst a cavalcade of riffs. Despite holding the title as one of the nicest blokes in rock, Dave still has his gripes, as he explains: "I wrote 'Stacked Actors' about everything that is fake and everything that is plastic and glamorous and unreal, so if that pertains to anyone that comes to mind then there you go. It's about having nothing better to do than trying to be other people, it really grossed me out. Actors, just in general make me f***ing sick."
7. Wattershed (1995)
Inspired by Dave’s undying love for hardcore and old school punk, the title of ‘Wattershed’ references influential Minutemen bassist/vocalist Mike Watt. Aurally nodding to a number of Dave’s influences, the largely nonsensical lyrics compliment the somewhat cathartic and adrenaline-pumping music perfectly. Interestingly, ‘Wattershed’ is one of only four songs on ‘Foo Fighters’ (the album) that was penned after Nirvana came to an end.
6. Run (2017)
Surprise released to the world in June 2017, the lead ‘Concrete and Gold’ single lulls the listener into a false sense of the security in the opening 40 seconds thanks to Dave’s delicate guitar notes and hushed vocals. Fully embracing the quiet/loud dynamic, ‘Run’ soon explodes into a face-meltingly-heavy hard rock behemoth, with crushing riffs, thunderous drums and alternating melodically sung/screaming vocals from Dave. Definitely the hardest Foos track since ‘White Limo’ six years earlier, ‘Run’ even scooped the Best Rock Song gong at the Grammy Awards ahead of Metallica’s ‘Atlas, Rise!’
5. White Limo (2011)
Arguably one of the most metal songs Foo Fighters have ever penned, the ‘Wasting Light’ offshoot is an absolute behemoth of a track. Abrasive riffs from Pat Smear and Chris Shiflett are melded with Taylor Hawkins’ pummelling beats and screeching, gutteral howls from Dave Grohl that are highly reminiscent of Nick Oliveri’s vocals on Queens of the Stone Age’s Rated R track ‘Tension Head’. The fact that Foo Fighters had the audacity to release this as a single can only be commended. Oh, and extra kudos for drafting in the late-great Lemmy for the video too!
4. Weenie Beenie (1995)
‘Weenie Beenie’ is a heady brew of gargantuan riffs and heavily distorted, gloriously erratic vocals from Dave that (once again) have shades of Pixies frontman Black Francis’ trademark madcap yelps circa the ‘Doolittle’ era. Dave was critiqued for the words “one shot nothing” in the song as some claimed it alluded to Kurt Cobain’s death, however Dave actually wrote the track in 1991.
3. Podunk (1995)
One of Foo Fighters’ earliest tracks appearing as b-side to ‘This Is a Call’ in June 1995, ‘Podunk’ couldn’t be any more different than the anthemic and radio-friendly a-side. Thrashy, raw and with highly distorted vocals from Dave, the hardcore track very much adheres to the cliché that it sounds like it was recorded in a garage. Although the lyrics are indecipherable, the song title itself refers to a hypothetical small town regarded as dull or insignificant.
2. The Colour & The Shape (1997)
Despite sharing the same title, ‘The Colour & The Shape’ never made it onto Foo Fighters’ second studio album (except on an expanded 10th anniversary 2007 reissue) and instead appeared as a b-side to ‘Monkey Wrench’. More reminiscent of ‘Weenie Beenie’ and Nirvana’s ‘Tourette’s’ & ‘Territorial Pissings’ than the other songs on ‘The Colour & The Shape’, it’s fast, volatile, screamy and second only to ‘FFL’ in its heaviness.
1. FFL [Fat F***ing Lie] (2005)
Harking back to Dave Grohl’s hardcore punk days with Scream more than 15 years earlier, fearsome ‘Best of You’ b-side ‘FFL’ is a high-octane musical blitzkrieg of spitting, expletive-strewn vocals and deliciously raw riffs. Hard-hitting throughout its frenetic two-and-a-half minutes, the blistering track ends satisfyingly with a blood-vessel-bursting scream from Dave. It’s little wonder that ‘FFL’ is a firm favourite amongst keen Foo Fighters aficionados.