REVIEW: Foo Fighters – Greatest Hits (CD/DVD set)

These 16 songs are what we’re calling our “Greatest Hits.” Not to be confused with “Our Best Songs” or “Our Favorite Songs,” it is a collection of the songs that have defined our band’s identity to most people over the years. The other 65 album tracks… well, some of those might be our greatest songs. “Aurora”, “New Way Home”, “MIA”, “Exhausted”, “A320” … depends on whom you ask. Personally, I don’t think we’ve written our greatest songs yet. But that door is always open. – Dave Grohl, 2009

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FOO FIGHTERS – Greatest Hits (2009 Roswell Records CD/DVD set)

November 2009 was a great month for Dave Grohl fans, with this release of their Greatest Hits CD, a slew of Nirvana, and Them Crooked Vultures. As far as the hits disc goes, I would recommend that you purchase the version that comes with the bonus DVD. It includes almost all of the Foo’s wonderful witty and goofy music videos as well as live cuts.

I actually don’t have too many beefs with the CD track listing itself. Granted, Foo singles and Foo album tracks are often two different beasts and equally good. As Dave points out in the liner notes (great liner notes by the way) maybe “Aurora” should have been included in a tracklist of the “best” Foo songs. More songs from the first album could have been here. I’m sure you could pick out a dozen more. All the tracks here are singles or new songs. By and large though, no big deal, as long as you dig deeper into the Foo catalogue after hearing this CD.

What about those two new songs?

“Wheels” has a neat opening riff that sounds like country music with feedback! I like this song alot. Honestly, I think this is a country song in disguise. Imagine Dwight Yoakam doing it. See what I mean? As far as Foo songs go, maybe this would fit right in with There Is Nothing Left To Lose material. Great chorus, there’s even a little twang in the chorus. It has an epic quality. Cool crashing chords in the chorus, too.

“Word Forward” starts acoustic, punctuated with some electric guitar. Not quite as strong as “Wheels”, the melody is a bit more awkward. This sounds more like B-side material to me. It’s a shame because I quite like the clean-picked opening guitar, the dynamics, and a lot of the chords, it’s just the melodies of the song that don’t work for me.

IMG_00001618_editThe flow of the songs isn’t perfect. A song like the electric version of “Everlong”, to me, is a song that goes on the later half of a CD (aka “side 2” to us old folks). To me it’s a song that builds up to a closing climax of an album. If I had chosen this exact same track list, I would have had the songs in a different order so they flow better in terms of mood. Also, I think a few too many fast Foo tracks are presented in a row without enough of their wonderful slower songs to break things up. Look at the first four tracks in a row: “All My Life”, “Best Of You”, “Everlong” and “The Pretender” are four fast heavy ones in a row, followed by “My Hero” which is still pretty heavy. It’s like putting your foot on the gas pedal and not taking it off even when your passenger is giving you terrified looks!

The album ends with an acoustic version of “Everlong” (not from the Skin and Bones CD, this is an unreleased 1996 demo). While this spare, Grohl-only version of the most epic of epic Foo songs is great, as a closer it’s not my choice, at least not for an album like this. It kind of left me hanging.  I’m not bitching about getting an unreleased demo of a classic song, I just don’t think last was the right place in the running order for it.

I can only give the CD-only version 3.5/5 stars, because it’s a little underwhelming and I’m sure you, as a fan, could have made a better mix CD. Pick up the version with the DVD — 4.5/5 stars on that one.

11 comments

  1. That’s awesome Grohl acknowledged that “greatest hits” doesn’t mean best, good for him. Love the foos videos, hadn’t seen that big me one in ages – I’m currently leaning towards everlong as my favourite of the videos

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  2. I only own two Foo albums, but over the course of years I have owned others, and heard still others at other peoples’ houses. I liked it all. This is one of those bands that, honestly, I wouldn’t envy the person who had to make a one CD hits mix of this band. It’s nigh on impossible. I kinda like what the Tragically Hip did with their 2CD set, Yer Favourites. They just let the fans decide. They knew everyone owned all (if not most) of the records anyway, so just include the songs that get the most votes. Easy. Maybe the Foos coulda done that.

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    1. Maiden also did the “fans decide” thing for Ed Hunter. It’s definitely a valid method of compiling a CD that can give solid results. However none of those discs are as good as the ones I make for myself :)

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  3. I really like how the songs aren’t all in chronological order. Most “Best Ofs” tend to list tracks by their release date. I think what’s cool about this is that they took the time to create a unique playlist.
    I usually listen to it on shuffle so I can’t say much about the order.

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    1. I think a lot of the time I do like a chronological order. When I make my own discs, I sometimes enjoy doing that. It often depends on the purpose of my compilation, who it’s for.

      Maybe it’s just me and my obsessive thinking but I really do think that some running orders are a better experience than others.

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  4. The Foo Fighters are all over both rock radio and commercial radio in Sweden. Well, maybe not the most mainstream boring crap radiostations, but most of the stations anyway. But eben though I don’t think they are bad, I have never gotten into them. My fiancee thinks they are great and a bunch of my friends just loves them, but they just don’t do it for me. I must say that Dave Grohl seems like a great guy, though. And I don’t have a problem with the Nirvana connection.

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    1. I don’t know if you have seen the movie Sound City that Dave Grohl directed. He’s obvious a smart guy, with a good ear. He has respect and reverence for a lot of the same artists that I do. I enjoy that Foo Fighters might reflect his pop side, but then he hits you with side projects that are different and with deeper influences.

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