Day 17: A song that you hear often on the radio
When pop radio stations find the next big song to play, they really like to milk it for all it’s worth. I can’t tell you how many songs I dislike hearing simply (or mostly) because they were severely overplayed when they first came out. Occasionally, though, repetition can help familiarize my brain with a certain melody, or lyric, or emotion evoked in a song, and the more I hear it, the more I grow to enjoy it.
Today’s entry is not one of those songs.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve been listening to the Foo Fighters since “This is a Call” hit the airwaves in 1995. Most of their albums are solid beginning-to-end rockers, from their self-titled debut all the way to 2011’s Wasting Light. Even an album I used to consider a hiccup, One By One, has really grown on me. But when that album first came out, it felt a little strange. The songs largely felt repetitive, energetic but monotonous in the literal sense of the word—not a lot of dynamics within a given song, musically or lyrically. Was this merely a bump in the road of an otherwise wildly successful rock band, or was it an omen of greater troubles ahead? (Incidentally, the band was also disillusioned with the album and its performance. It was recorded during a time of great turmoil within the band, when front man Dave Grohl was involved with Queens of the Stone Age, and when serious infighting between band members nearly led to the Foo Fighters’ demise.)
When the first single of the next album, In Your Honor, dropped, it seemed to me like One By One really had been the beginning of the end. “Best of You” features incessant chord-strumming, relentlessly obnoxious snares on nearly every beat of every measure, and constant screaming. No dynamics at all. I couldn’t stand it the first time I heard it, and hearing it on heavy rotation for several rock radio stations didn’t help the song ingratiate itself to me. Maybe other people really like it, but to me it represents the worst of the Foo Fighters. And just like One By One nearly destroyed the band, “Best of You” almost killed my interest in any new music from them.
It took me quite a few years to revisit In Your Honor, the double album that spawned “Best of You,” but I’m glad I did, because it really put my expectations to shame. There are some fantastic songs on this epic release, songs that should have replaced “Best of You” as the lead single, or any single for that matter. Rediscovering In Your Honor also prepared me for their later releases, especially the heavy-hitting, rock-solid Wasting Light. But hearing “Best of You” every thirty minutes on pop-rock radio very nearly ruined all of that for me.