Foo Fighters' Times Like These - Time Signature?

Okay musician Dopers, what is the time signature of the main riff of the Foo Fighters’ song “Times Like These”? While most of the song is 4/4, near as I can tell, the main riff is not. As I have figured it out (and it wasn’t easy), each “bar” within that main riff has 14 beats (pretty fast - these are sixteenth notes at least).

Would that make it 14/4?

So I guess there are two questions, really:

  1. Have you tried to figure out the song and do you think the riff has 14-beat bars?

  2. Is something with 14 beats to the bar in 14/4?


Man, no disrespect, but Dave Grohl’s music is hardly overly complex.

Most of his songs, with the exception of Generator, hover around 132 to 136 beats per minute.

Taylor Hawkins is known for his nice hi-hat work, but “Times like These” is one of those tunes Dave writes in his sleep.

Indeed, the album One by One was far from a labour of love, rather it was a true labour of chore. The band recorded it entirely in late 2001 at Dave’s home in Virginia, and then by April were so unhappy with it they threw it all out and re did the rythm tracks back in Virginia, and then moved to Los Angeles - and faced with mucho MUCHO pressure from RCA pumped out an album which STILL was nowhere near the level of quality in terms of refinement compared to the album which preceded it.

Consider if you will that both Machine Head by Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin II were recorded in just 3 weeks and you’ll see what I’m driving at here.

The opening chord is real dumbed down chord…

E 5
B open
G 5
D open
A 5
E 5

The beat and temp is pure straight 4/4 - but Taylor Hawkins simply does a reverse trailing 16th snare hit on the 3rd beat per measure. It gives the impression of something tricky going on but it’s a no brainer - honestly. The riff itself is lifted straight from The Cult’s “She Sells Sanctuary” - indeed the guitarist in the band Chris Shifflett has copped a fair bit of plagiarism flak for it actually.

The chords are dumb as…

Emin, C, Amin, D.

That’s it. Different variations through the song - but that’s it.

As rock songs go, even as Dave Grohl songs go - it’s one of his laziest yet. Even he admits it. But it says something about the state of songwriting in this modern era that the tune, nonetheless, is a standout.

One thing though - the opening chord sounds very nice through a Gibson ES335 and a VOX AC30. Dave has nice taste in guitars I’ll give him that - but whoever they used as their producer on this last album needs shooting. Sure, it’s loud - but you can actually hear digital clipping and distortion in the final product if you listen with headphones - and in reality it sounds like dogshit. I can’t listen to this last album - it sounds like one long drawn out song.

The acoustic version isn’t too bad sounding - probably less distorting and clipping too.

Although: “I’m a one way motorway” ???

Boo Boo Foo -

You are obviously an accomplished guitarist - I downloaded that mp3 of you playing an ES 335 (I think) from a thread I had started some time ago…

However, your post to this thread really depressed me - not only did you shoot down my question about the time signature for this song, but then you dismissed the song out of hand. You have a right to your opinion regarding the quality of the song, but I found your tone really condescending. I was so humiliated at blowing something like a time signature that I slinked off and didn’t even reply to your post.

Anyway, as you might know from a previous thread, I started a mid-life crisis band. About two weeks ago, we decided to work on this song. I was breaking it down with my drummer and my bassist when I remarked on the fact that I thought the intro and lead break were in an odd time, but I was mistaken, per this thread. And my drummer said

“it is in a different time signature - it’s in 7/4”.

And I said “nah, I thought it was, too, but this guy corrected me on a message board when I asked about it - he said it was drum trickery that sells it like it has a different time signature.”

To which my drummer - and have I mentioned that my drummer was a professional touring drummer for 15 years, has played with Billy Idol, Chuck Berry, at Carnegie Hall and Royal Albert Hall and in front of over 100,000 people at a couple of music festivals; and studied at the Berklee School of Music and with Bernard Purdy, legendary drummer for Aretha Franklin and other R&B legends? - said “well, that guy is smokin’ crack, and you’re right - the intro’s in 7/4; lemme count it out for you” then he proceeded to play the track and count it out, calling out the time and all the drum hits being used.

Bottom line? It’s in 7/4.
And SirRay? I hear you about the lyrics - the One way Motorway bit and the give and give again bit are a little insipid, but I still really like the song - and the other single off the album, All my Life…but that is a matter of opinion, and everyone is entitled to their own. Unlike a time signature.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I was at a guitar store and saw the sheet music for the album. When I checked - although, granted, sheet music accuracy is suspect at best - the time signature for the intro and the lead break was listed as 7/4…

Difficult != Good & Easy != Bad.

BTW, I had to pick up the acoustic and strum that opening cord you mentioned. It is very acdictive. What would you call that, and A/D? You sure he’s not fucking around with the tuning?

Jesus Christ. I swear I know how to spell.

Nope, no funny tuning stuff - you just hit that chord rhythmically, lifting your index finger off the A string at the fifth fret every other strum to play that string open. I don’t fret the low E string and keep it dampened/mute with my thumb…

If played wrong, it sounds like noise, but played within the context of the song it is cool. Near as I can tell, the chord is a D13 - you have a flatted 7th note on the G string, fifth fret ©, and a 6th note with the open B string. When you have a 7th in the chord along with another note that isn’t a 1, 3 or 5, you take that additional note and add 7 to it. 6 + 7 = 13, therefore this is a D13…I think…

Yeah, after listening, the intro is 7 beats per measure. Then the theme of the singing part is 2 measures of 4 beats per measure (or 8), then the theme of the chorus is 3 measures of 4 beats per measure (or 12).

I’ve never been able to figure out the time signature for B’boom on King Crimson’s Thrak though.

bump - I gotta know if Boo Boo Foo sees this thread…

I just read this thread again WordMan, I did indeed - and further, I consider myself reprimanded, and justifiably so. :smiley:

To that end, I’m going to make an extra special point of opening the wave file of the song today into a DAW and build a rudimentary drum track along side it just to really confirm your OP. With hindsight, I went off on a tangent about Dave Grohl’s songwriting and the chords used far more than I should have actually paid attention to the rythm signature and I’m very sorry for that.

Indeed, it’s a great tune to play in a band like yours Wordman - great tempo for dancing etc. Part of my innate dissapointment in the song, and indeed the whole album was how dreadfully overcooked and overlimited and overcompressed the album was.

I’m a huge Foos fan - just look at my handle here on the board - and this last album was a long, LONG time in the waiting for us fans and when it came out most of us all shared the same opinion - that is, the whole album sounded like one big long song - and further, the production was just woeful… so utterly totally overcompressed and maxxed out just to make it as loud as possible on a CD.

Accordingly, my disappointment crept into my first post and I’m very sorry for that.

I have every faith in the world that your drummer is indeed totally correct. I’ll report back shortly. I suspect, with hindsight, that I was concentrating specifically on the opening staccato chord played in isolation which is totally 4/4 - however, immediately after that when the band kicks in in full force and the supplemental melody phrasing kicks in, yes that part is definitely 7/4 without doubt.

No hard feelings my friend.

Very cool Boo Boo Foo - I appreciate the response.

I am a casual Foo’s fan - haven’t bought albums, but have appreciated all the songs I have heard - they get played a lot on local radio, with acoustic versions and non-singles tracks - and just think Grohl is pretty much the guy with the coolest life in rock - amazing drummer, strong songwriter, rocking band, part of history, etc…

Again, I like both the tunes off of One by One that I mentioned - All my Life and Times Like These. I actually have the whole CD, but have been so freakin’ busy learning songs for our first gig - it’s this Sunday and apparently everyone in town is coming, so no pressure! (one of the prices to be paid for everyone knowing our drummer and having heard how good he was back in the day) - that I haven’t listened to it at all except for Times…

Give the song a listen for time sig’s and I will keep you posted as to whether it rocks the crowd…