Frontman Dave Grohl described this to Billboard magazine as "A stomping Foo Fighters uptempo song, with a little bit of Chuck Berry in it."
Grohl revealed in an interview with the XFM Radio station that they put this song together in a day, while other tracks on the record took several weeks. In the same interview he alluded that the song referred to political unrest and people not getting what they're promised but would prefer people to have their own idea or interpretation.
When "The Pretender" achieved its 17th week at the top of the Modern Rock Tracks chart in December 2007 it became the longest-running chart-topper in the history of this tally until Muse's "Madness" reigned for 19 weeks in 2012-13. The 3 songs it beat, each with 16-week runs at the top of the Modern Rock Tracks chart were: "Scar Tissue," Red Hot Chili Peppers (1999) "It's Been Awhile," Staind (2001) and "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams," Green Day (2004.)
Foo Fighters performed this at the 2008 Grammy awards on a stage set up outside the main venue. The song won for Best Hard Rock Performance, and Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace won in the Best Rock Album category.
Courtney from PerthThis song is about mind control The U.S. military and government has access to your mind past and present.
Kristyn from Haw River, NcI've always loved this song, ever since I first heard it. My mom was friends with one of the bandmembers' girlfriend or fiance, I can't really remember since I was younger at the time. I do remember my brother and I playing outside their house while they were working on their music though. I wonder how they're doing. Every time I hear this song I'm reminded of that memory and I cherish it.
Megan from Stevenson, AlLove, love, love this video! This song is amazing:)
Dennis from Grande Prairie, AbI'm glad David said he would prefer people have their own idea or interpretation. My interepretation: The beginning of Christianity, the Church and a conspiracy of lies (Divinity, Resurection) used to exert power and control over the mindless masses. Dogma and how it elicits confusion and stifles Truth. "Spinning Infinity..." Man if that isn't the "selling eternity" I don't know what is. Same old story; its all BS. The chorus is ultimately about refusing to be a pawn in the Church's power and control game. The Church is the Pretender. "In time or so I'm told..." speaks to prophecy and how its used to gather mindless minions who will support (financially) the cause. The page is out of print (The Bible, Dogma, etc). A Nugget of Truth...we are not permanent. Where would the Church be if they sold that line...hehe. What if I say I'm not like the others...I will not be kept in the dark...I will do what I have to do to expose you so that others can be free. Dennis
Liela from Corona, IrelandI think it is"done pleading ignorance, that old defense"
Alf from Liverpool, United KingdomThis song must be one of the best openings to an album I've heard in years.I reckon this must be one of the best Foo Fighters albums.
Aaron from Manistee, MiIt was National Guard. Not SWAT. Great song any way you look at it.
Patty from China Town, United KingdomI does kinda sound like "Stairway to Heaven." Well, I'm not entirely sure about this but I think this song is about the same thing as Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young's "Ohio." That song is about a shooting at Kent State, there was a riot and SWAT people shot students. It's an interesting story, people should look into it. One of the people who went to the school went on to join a band called "The Pretenders." There were two rows of SWAT I think, well, there was a row in front on their knees and a row behind them standing up (like in the video of the song). Led Zeppelin was influenced by Young (if John Paul Jones helped this song, he might have heard it), and Kurt Cobain (Grohl's previous band's frontman, from Nirvana) was influenced be Young and could have shown him to Grohl if he wasn't already listening to him. So, it's probable someone in the mix has heard this song. It's a story that deserves another song to get out. There might be a couple of more connections I might not be thinking of right now. Soooooooooooooooo, anyway, that's what I think about this song, anyway.
John from Houston , TxThis has to be one of their greatest songs. The song sounds like its about politics and about the voters..................really good.
Candice from Arlington, WaDude i dont think Taylor has rubbed off on dave, cause Dave has even said that "they have music A.D.D." so every album they like to try somthing diffrent. and every album is diffrent and thats why they are so great cause they have such a range that no matter what they always have great music.
Stew from Rye, NyI don't know if this is coincidental, but John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin helped with the orchestral arrangement of the song. I also think they pull off sounding like the Beatles about halfway through the song.
Bert from Pueblo, Nmactually, I was playing this on guitar, and when I was doing the intro, my buddy said, "Stairway??" So, yeah, it kinda does.
Anybody see some political theme to these lyrics? "Done bleeding ignorance at home defense"
Scott from Boston, MaDoes anyone else think the very beginning sounds like "Stairway to Heaven"? I mean the very beginning for like 10 seconds before the pace picks up.
Troy from Roy, UtI love this song, and I love about half of this album. The thing I'm most dissapointed with is that it seems to me that Taylor Hawkins' musical taste has rubbed off onto Dave too much and we're not hearing the "original" Foo Fighters sound anymore. This song and Let it die are pretty much the only songs on this album that sound like Dave Grohl Foo Fighters songs. Don't get me wrong, I like this album because it's the Foo Fighters boys and all, but I think Taylor's taste has kind of leaked into Dave's creations. I'd like to see Dave take total control of the creative reins and put out a "real" Foo Fighters album next.
Jessiah from Kingston, OhI love the music video to it i love what this songs all about.