Celebrating its 25th birthday this week, we’re taking a look at Foo Fighters’ This Is A Call, the lead single from their self-titled debut and, in that, their first single.
Being Dave Grohl’s first commerical outing since Nirvana ended in such tragedy, the pressures upon Grohl at the time were massive, having to both be as good as his previous band, but not too much like it, because that would be copying. And you gotta be respectful to Kurt, but there comes a time when you have to move on. Etc, etc, it’s a lot of weight to put on your debut single.
Saying that, however, you can’t deny that it somehow lives up to all of those expectations. Though, it isn’t my favourite Foos track, they haven’t put out many tracks since that encapsulate their sense of rock music, informed by hardcore, power pop and alternative, as well as This Is A Call. Instrumentally, the sugary melodies are dissected by searing guitars and thrashing drums, like Beatles with a buzzsaw. The Pixies-loud-quiet thing is here in full effect, as it is on many of their best songs, and the whole lends itself to the raddest of 90s mosh pits. Balancing fun and frenzy is always at the forethought of the Foo Fighters catalogue, and it shows a lot that they pretty much nailed it first-go.
Lyrically, I can’t think of a better foot that they could’ve put forward. Despite the overtly weird rambling in the verses, the song’s chorus is definitively about opening up a new chapter in Grohl’s life, accepting closure and appreciation of the past, and embarking into the future. Over 25 years and numerous hits later, I’d say they’re not doing too bad.