Listen: Foo Fighters’ “The Pretender” (2007)

Soundtrack: Foo Fighters’ “The Pretender” (of course)

I don’t remember that exact date in 2008, but I do remember that one fateful afternoon when I was talking to a friend of mine while we were on our usual MRT ride back home.

Mr. Rollins[1], that friend of mine I was talking about, asked me what my favorite Foo Fighters songs are.  Of course I love “All My Life”, the first song I heard from them, and their music video of it was the first I have seen from them. I also love the stage anthem “Best of You” and the motivating-and-feel-good “Learn to Fly”. And take note that I am only a casual fan of the band by then.

Mr. Rollins said, “Awesome! But have you heard of ‘The Pretender’?”

“No. Not yet,” I said.

“No way. You should check it out right now. I think you will like it.”

He gave me his earphones for a while, I plugged in it and after just a few seconds of the song’s gloomy Led Zeppelin-isque guitars and strings, my eyes got wider, my whole surroundings became more vibrant and I can feel the blood flowing all over my arteries and veins. (And for good reason.) That a very day, not only I discovered and liked “The Pretender” very much, I discovered my favorite song of all time. And I have my eternal thanks to Mr. Rollins for that.

This very song has energized my soul and affected my life in a very good way that if I were to have my own biopic or if the universe grants everyone to pick their own theme song of their lives, this is my go-to song. The Foos’ ability to wonderfully juggle this somber melody with hard rock riffs and rhythm shifting back and forth is in full display with “The Pretender”, and it turned me from a casual fan of the band to a worshipping fan who knows all of the songs by lyric and music.

And whenever I listen to this song, the song’s music plus the very-well-written lyrics screamed melodically by my hero Dave Grohl lift my spirits up whenever I am down, and it drives me to become good at my job or anything I do really. Of all the songs I have ever heard, the chorus  “What if I say I’m not like the others?” touched my heartstrings the most. The song screams who I really am—in constant struggle with myself, and also in constant interaction and probable conflict with a lot of characters in my surroundings.

And can you see the featured image up there? That’s from the song’s music video, which is also a masterpiece. If you watch the video, you can see Dave Grohl’s Knight Kats shirt from Johnson Motors. And guess what? I bought one for myself in honor of that, nevermind the heavy price to pay. That shows how much I love the song, the band and Grohl himself.

Recommendation Notes

If you love hard rock that sounds anthemic enough to be your own life’s theme song but is not cheesy at all,  this song is for you. If you want a more orchestraic version, you can check out the Foos’ performance at the Grammys 2008. And while you’re at it, you might want to check out how the Foos changed the song’s intro for a bit.

[1] Mr. Rollins is a very good friend of mine when we were still in college. I will always owe my life to him because of “The Pretender”. He’s living in Canada now, and I wonder when we will meet again and jam on a song or something.

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