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4 Foo Fighters songs that don't sound like Guitar Center ads

The Foo Fighters, looking excited and ready to rock

The Foo Fighters, looking excited and ready to rock

It's easy to mock the Foo Fighters. The band, fronted by the self-appointed rock 'n' roll ambassador David Grohl, are both celebrated and maligned for their reliably earnest, arena-sized records that have become increasingly commercial over the years.

What started as an one-man pet project has now reached obnoxious U2-like levels of overexposure, making them one of the most easily contemptible acts in modern rock. Let's face it: Dave Grohl is like if Guitar Center was a person. The former Nirvana drummer is the commercial face of contemporary rock 'n' roll, and he wouldn't have it any other way (see new album Sonic Highways if you are not convinced).

But for all his pomp and posturing, the Foo Fighters have paid their dues and their catalog is rich with quality songwriting. The alt-rock group's contributions to the musical canon are indisputable ... or whatever a serious rock critic would say. Here are four objectively great Foo Fighters songs that don't sound like, well, a Guitar Center commercial.

1. "Stacked Actors"

Kicking off the Foo's third studio effort, There Is Nothing Left To Lose, "Stacked Actors" is a tense, muscular slab of intelligent alt-rock that showcases Grohl's penchant for hard-rock hooks and riffs. The song is a four-minute indictment of the artificiality of celebrity culture and is often considered a jab at grunge queen/most roundly despised ex-wife in music, Courtney Love.

2. "Weenie Beenie"

The Foo Fighter's eponymous debut is one of the much less talked-about triumphs of early-'90s alternative rock. Written and recorded entirely by Dave Grohl himself, the album was released a year after Kurt Cobain's untimely demise. Grohl had already proved himself a competent songwriter with Nirvana's "Marigold," but the first Foo Fighters release is rife with all sorts of propulsive, riff-heavy fun like "Weenie Beenie."

3. "This Is A Call"

The very first single Grohl released before his steady foray into rock 'n' roll greatness. Sounding like early Nirvana with a sense of humor, "This Is A Call" is at the core of what made the Foo Fighters such an intriguing and promising rock acts of the 1990s. The band made their TV debut playing the song on the Late Show With David Letterman during the summer of 1995 — 20 years ago! The performance (see below) automatically made late night's affable curmudgeon one of their first, not to mention most famous, Foo Fighters superfans.

4. "Low"

Foo Fighter's fourth album, One By One, was a dark, bloated mess. It was arguably the band's first misstep in a long and storied career. For all their seriousness and "biggest band in the world" posturing, "Low" was at once intelligent, abrasive and undeniably catchy.