So, what’s a good way to get people to buy your greatest hits collection? Sure, it’s a good place for new fans to start, but how do you get people who already own all the music your band has put out to rebuy songs they already own? The answer recently has been to put a few new singles on a ‘greatest hits’ CD, more as an attempt to get more buyers than pre-emptive wishful thinking (though they do often end up being hits in their own right in the marketing push of the greatest hits collection). Now, Foo Fighters have done the same, writing 2 brand new songs, Wheels and Word Forward, for their 2009 Greatest Hits collection.
‘Wheels’ was the first new single to see the light of day, and is actually has a slightly different feel than you would normally get from an electric Foo Fighters track. It has a little bit of a southern rock swagger to it, and it dominated by a jangly lead guitar, rather than the distorted rhythm you would usually expect. While it is a little reminiscent of the work of Tom Petty, to reduce it to that wouldn’t do ‘Wheels’ justice. It’s Foo Fighters putting something a little bit new in with all their hits, and it’s a welcome addition to their catalogue. Lyrically, it feels like a bit of a homecoming for Foo Fighters, which suits the greatest hits idea well. It’s almost saying, “Ok, here’s our greatest hits, we know it’s not a new album, but we’ll be getting on to new stuff soon. For now, lets just chill out and look back on everything that’s gone well so far.”
Both these songs seem to hark back to the work of earlier artists, but not in a lazy way. They almost seem like a tribute, be it intentional, or just a coincidental sign of those bands influences. What I mean by this is, if ‘Wheels’ takes cues from Tom Petty, then ‘Word Forward’ is a love letter to The Beatles and their song A Day In The Life, at least in the opening verse. This song feels much more like you would expect from Foo Fighters. The soft verse, loud chorus format, the build to an ecstatic climax, the song along chorus, it’s all here. Again, this seems to scream, “we’re not done yet” and rightly so. If this is an indication of what’s to come, then Dave and the boys can’t stop now.
Word Forward: 8/10