RANKED! The Best of the Foo Fighters Ahead of Their 25th Anniversary Tour
The Foo Fighters are a band that almost never was. When Dave Grohl stepped into the studio to record the first album, he’d decided to do it as a sort of therapy to get over the death of his Nirvana bandmate, Kurt Cobain. The result was an album that took the music world by surprise. Since the entire album was the labor or one man, it left Grohl with the monumental task of pulling together a band that would give the sort of epic rock sound he was going for. Nine albums later, the Foo Fighters established themselves as so much more than “the drummer from Nirvana’s band.” To celebrate their 25th anniversary tour, we’re ranking their best albums. Keep reading to see where your favorite lands.
Photo: Alexandre Schneider (Getty Images)
9. 'Sonic Highways' (2014)
What was truly innovative about Sonic Highways wasn't the sound, but the accompanying HBO documentary. It was described as "a love letter to the history of American music" by Dave Grohl. The album was recorded in studios across the U.S. in a variety of studios using different producers. Outside of that, it's just a good rock 'n roll concept album that didn't have any real singles.
8. 'One by One' (2002)
One by One was recorded during one of the roughest times for the Foo Fighters. Drummer Taylor Hawkins overdosed and was in a coma for two days. The result was an album as fractured as the band. However, the singles "All My Life" and "Times Like These" pulled together the wreckage by becoming some of the most notable Foo Fighters singles. Plus, "One by One" earned FF their second Grammy, so it wasn't all bad.
7. 'Concrete and Gold' (2017)
Although Foo Fighters proved they were a mainstream rock band years before the release of Concrete and Gold it wasn't until they collaborated with high-profile producer Greg Kurstin that they went pop. Kurstin is best known for his work with Adele, Sia, and Pink, so the resulting album is as cohesive as it is mainstream. It does all this without overpolishing the sound that made the Foo Fighters famous.
6. 'In Your Honor' (2005)
The 2005 album In Your Honor was a major achievement for the Foo Fighters. This double album was a pivot point for the band with one side of the album championing the melodic arena anthems that made them famous like "Best of You," "DOA," and "No Way Back." The other side of the album is filled with softer acoustic tracks that round out the band's sound. Not only that, ex-Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones makes a cameo on the mandolin on two songs, which is really how Dave Grohl flexes that in music, he knows everyone.
5. 'There Is Nothing Left to Lose' (1999)
Nothing Left to Lose earned the Foo Fighters their first Grammy. The album is totally stripped down and acoustic, and recorded inside the basement of the Virginia home Grohl had just purchased. The title, theme, and feel of the album all reflect the time when the Foo Fighters achieved their desperate desire to no longer be compared to Nirvana.
4. 'Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace' (2007)
For the Foo Fighters, the aughts were a time where they took a lot of risks to flesh out their own sound. This resulted in one of their most overlooked albums, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace. They'd just finished with their experimental live album Skin & Bones and had an entirely new sound to tinker with, which they definitely did on this album. Like In Your Honor, this album vacillates between the big stadium rock sound and acoustic ballads, resulting in a musical experiment that helped the band further refine their sound. Not only that, singles like "The Pretender," "Stranger Things Have Happened," and "Let It Die" made sure it's an album we reach for over and over.
3. 'The Color and the Shape' (1997)
The Color and the Shape is a perfect album from start to finish. It's also the band's sophomore effort and what solidified them as a band instead of just the drummer from Nirvana.
2. 'Foo Fighters' (1995)
We all know the story behind the first Foo Fighters album. However, if you're new, here's what you need to do. After Kurt Cobain passed away, Grohl went into isolation. After a few months of mourning, he went into the studio to lay down tracks for songs he'd been writing while on tour with Nirvana. The result is one of the best Foo Fighters albums of all time. Grohl says that he took what he learned about writing songs from Cobain and made it his own. You can definitely hear the influences, but there remains an integrity to what Grohl made that was something totally new. The title track, "I'll Stick Around," became a mid-'90s anthem and as well as a declaration of independence.
1. 'Wasting Light' (2011)
When you canvas the Foo Fighters albums, there's a sort of apex they hit when they get to Wasting Light. The album utilizes super-producer Butch Vig, with whom Grohl worked on Nevermind when he was in Nirvana. They recorded the entire thing in Grohl's garage on analog equipment. From star to finish, each song seems to blend seamlessly into the next, while somehow making each track a perfect radio single like "Walk," "These Days," and "White Limo." It's always a good time to rock out to.
What’s your favorite Foo Fighters album? Is it what you would listen to on the way to see them perform? Let us know your pick(s) in the comments!