from the hushed opening and distorted guitar strums;
to the moment Dave Grohl first whispers, "Hello, I've waited here for you," trailing the word "everlong" with a knowing whimper;
to the first appearance of the guitar's exclamation-point doot-doot-doot counterpoint;
to wonder, and the drum's quickening rat-a-tat response;
to the windmill-chord chorus, hanging onto "forever" with suspended animation;
to the doot-doot-doot's sung by Veruca Salt's Louise Post at 2 a.m., lore shared by this TikTokker.
Released in August 1997 as underground punk and emo overtook my alt-rock interests, this song — which followed the perfectly-fine-yet-still-grunge-hanger-on single "Monkey Wrench" — felt like none and all of those things. Instead, "Everlong" was a middle path garlanded with emo's soft-loud dynamism — of course, Sunny Day Real Estate bassist Nate Mendel had become a full-time Foo by this point — and a stadium-ready bombast that wasn't afraid to bleed. It was the first time I really took notice of Dave Grohl's "new band."
The dramatic trajectory of "Everlong" is mapped by those extreme cyclists that bike on mountaintops. So when I tell you there's a drum fill that makes me cry, it could appear anywhere. But starting at 3:03, the hush returns, joined again by the doot-doot-doot counterpoint (now a motif), and, first, a drum fill that builds from feedback. But then at 3:31, the second fill is a triumphant tempest. The moment only lasts three seconds, but the stick-breaking snare drum crescendos past wonder into enlightenment — it's the moment that love's unknowing becomes known, or at least worth the abyssal jump with abandon. Everything after is an ecstatic sigh.
Taylor Hawkins didn't play on the studio version, but he's the only other drummer I wanted to see play "Everlong" besides Grohl. Turns out it's the last song Hawkins played live before he suddenly died — I'm not sure that means anything, yet it feels like everything. Maybe I should get the Halloween cover band back together this year, pandemic willing, to fight some foo, as David Letterman would say. —Lars Gotrich
P.S.: Here's my second episode hosting the Best Music of the Month podcast from NPR's All Songs Considered! We talk about Kilo Kish, Jenny Hval, Soul Glo, rusowsky and Jóhann Jóhannsson's posthumous Drone Mass.
Stream the new Viking's Choice playlist via BNDCMPR. Tracklist below:
Otoboke Beaver, "PARDON?"
H Music Deperception, "Minami-kaze α Wave"
Burnt Sugar, "Love to Tical"
Peggy Gou, "I Go (DJ Koze Remix)"
Negative Plane, "A Work to Stand a Thousand Years"
Blut Aus Nord, "That Cannot Be Dreamed"
Mary Lattimore & Paul Sukeena, "Altar of Tammy"
Charles Stepney, "Step on Step"
8 Bit Mixtapes, "2 Minutes to Midnight"
Diatom Deli, "Disarray"
Tree River, "Crossroading"
Annie Blackman, "How"
Portrayal of Guilt, "Chamber of Misery Pt. III"
Bahratal, "Zmizet Jako Rudý Trpaslík"
Kelly Lee Owens, "Sonic 8"
Petrol Girls, "Clowns"
Haunt, "Windows of Your Heart"
Gates of Hopeless, "True Justice Never Die"
Frail Body, "Traditions in Verses"
Kadja Bonet, "Dear Gina"
Glenn Jones, "Away"
Richard Thompson, "Treadwell No More"
Summer Home, "dream summoning"
Steven R. Smith, "Spring"
Fievel Is Glauque, "the River"
Kalia Vandever, "Pick It Up (and Drop It Again)"
Try the Pie, "New Dust"
Morrow, "Fugue Plague"
François Tusques, "Sunny, Archie, Clifford, Même Combat"
Bad Breeding, "Human Capital"
Laddio Bolocko, "Nurser"
EUNOIA, "Mozambique Drill"
Abated Mass of Flesh, "In the Absence of Time"
Turner Williams Jr., "hat floating away"
Sadness, "sunset girl"