Foo Fighters: The Pretender
"The Pretender" is a song by the American alternative rock band Foo Fighters. It was the first single from the group's 2007 album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace. It is one of Foo Fighters' most successful songs; peaking at #37 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 (making it their third Top 40 single), only "Learn to Fly" and "Best of You" beat its position on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
Grohl described "The Pretender" as "a stomping Foo Fighters uptempo song, with a little bit of Chuck Berry in it." The song is written in the key of A minor and showcases the shifting dynamics which Grohl wanted to employ on Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, starting with a very stripped-down introduction, featuring Grohl on guitar and vocals along with a small string section. Then comes an escalating hard rock sound, interrupted by breakdowns and escalations in the bridge, including a repeat of the intro. Mixing engineer Rich Costey stated that making all these dynamics work, as well as balancing the instruments, was challenging, as Grohl and drummer Taylor Hawkins always want more focus on their instruments. The amount of guitar overdubs also worried Costey – "The guitars on 'The Pretender' are quite full on, with countermelodies and so forth, and they all tend to be in the same range, so it gets quite dense. The challenge of this type of mix is to retain the power of the track, yet define a space for everything. Handling the guitar balance was a slight chore, and in comparison the drums and vocals were quite easy."
In a 2007 interview with XFM, frontman Dave Grohl stopped short of explaining the meaning behind "The Pretender", but alluded its roots go to current political unrest.
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