Songwriting: The Art of Setup Found in Foo Fighters’ “Everlong”

Foo Fighters: The Colour ad the Shape

Foo Fighter’s mega hit is indeed an amazing song, containing all the qualities you hope to see in your songs — catchy, heartfelt, infectious, groovy, and unique.  But here we’re going to focus on the art of setup.  A song is made up of many sections and one should always set up the next, so that the audience will keep listening, keep experiencing that gratification of a well-setup arrival of a new section.

  • Start the vocal melody low in the range, so that the song has somewhere else to go/build up to.
  • Call-and-response in the pre-chorus is led by the guitar first, setting up the responses by the voice — an unusual usage, but really attention-grabbing.
  • Each section features a down/down/up structure in terms of the direction of the melody, and that final up serves as the setup for the next section.  This creates a sweet, satisfying sense of resolution when the next section finally arrives.


  1. Thanks for noticing our music. This was a great analysis of the Foo Fighters classic. Well articulated and easy to understand. The good part…..I learned something! Thanks. Martin Payne. Drummer and song writer for Bold Kelly.

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