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“It Chooses You” — My Love Letter to The Foo Fighters’ “Good Grief”
Back in 2003 I was packing for a drive down to the Outer Banks with some of my closes friends. To get through the 11+ hour drive, we all brought an endless supply of music. I hadn’t bought into the iPod thing yet, so I readied my travel-sized binder of CDs. Craving a few selections that were different than my usual diet of mixtapes and rap, I dropped the Foo Fighters self-titled debut album in my binder.
On the drive down I listened to the album over and over again. I hadn’t heard it from beginning to end in years and I was surprised how well it held up. The Foo Fighters have many successful albums, but to me their debut is the crown jewel. Though I love almost every song on the album, “Good Grief” hit me in the heart during that drive down to North Carolina. I’ve listened to the song hundreds, maybe thousands of times since then, and it continues to resonate today.
“Music, you know, true music, not just rock ’n’ roll, it chooses you.”
The song is a testament to the undeniable power of music that sometimes defies logic or explanation. My area of expertise is DJing, rap, and other forms of sample-based music. Though I appreciate music of all kinds, those genres are where most of my time and energy goes. Yet for some reason I’ve listened to “Good Grief” by the Foo Fighters more than almost any other song over the last 15 years.
My love of “Good Grief” reminds me of a quote from music critic Lester Bangs, played brilliantly by Philip Seymour Hoffman, in the movie Almost Famous. During a radio interview he tells the DJ, “Music, you know, true music, not just rock ’n’ roll, it chooses you…Did you know that “The Letter” by The Box Tops was a minute and fifty eight seconds long? It means nothing. Nil. But it takes them less than two minutes to accomplish what Jethro Tull takes hours to not accomplish.”
This quote nails it. Songs don’t always have to be profound to move us. “Good Grief” doesn’t have the most meaningful lyrics when read in a vacuum. There might be songs with better instrumentation, production, structure, and vocal arrangements. But for me, listening to the raw emotion Dave Grohl brings to that track gets me every time.
Take a moment to listen and tell me what you think.