Foo Fighters

What does it mean to be a Hero? Foo Fighters – My Hero Lyrics Meaning

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Foo Fighters – My Hero Lyrics Meaning

Unless you want to be the guy that has been getting lyrics wrong for decades, finding out the true meaning behind the greatest hits is essential. Don’t get us wrong, really fun conversation can follow from your friends finding out you thought it was “hit me with your pet shark”, not “hit me with your best shot” or that “the wild dogs cry out in the night as negro wrestlers longing for some solitary company” not “as they grow restless longing for some solitary company”. But unless you want to be intentionally funny, learning deeper meaning behind song lyrics can be really transformative. Let’s learn the meaning behind the lyrics of the song ‘My Hero’ by Foo Fighters.

Allegedly written about Kurt Cobain, Foo Fighters’ “My Hero” features a remarkably stolid Clark Kent figure, a damsel in distress, acts of heroism that make the video seem like a mini-action movie, and some remarkably interesting lyrics.

While “There goes my hero, watch him as he goes” is pretty self-explanatory, what about “Truth or consequence, say it aloud, Use that evidence, race it around”? Race the evidence around? Is this about the FBI transporting valuable cargo? And why the choice between truth and consequence? Can’t we have both? Truth and the consequences of the truth? Let’s see if we can make some sense out of it all, and hopefully, there will be some closure. 

Introduction: My Hero Lyrics

First things first, is it really about Kurt Cobain? Despite endless speculations,and  Grohl himself being very evasive about it for years, according to Radio 1045 and Ultimate Guitar, in his interview on Produce Like A Pro, Bradley Cook, the recording engineer, told Warren Huart the following: 

Huart: So, My Hero, what can you tell us about this track?

Cook: It’s about Kurt Cobain.

Huart: Oh it is, oh I never knew that.

Cook: That’s what he [Grohl] told me, yeah.

However, although that’s possible, there doesn’t seem to be conclusive evidence to back up this story. It’s more likely the quote (below) by Grohl about the origins of this song is more accurate. 

What else is interesting? We never see the man’s face, and that, in conjunction with the line “he’s ordinary”, seems to suggest that heroes are normal people (and normal people can be heroes).

While there is nothing ordinary about saving children from burning buildings, “he’s ordinary” seems to mean that heroes can look like normal people and in truth be much more. Does that sound transformative? How many people you thought were ordinary are actually heroiс? Does that make you feel differently about them? We can think of a few. Foo Fighters referred to this song as “as a celebration of the common man and his extraordinary potential”. 

My Hero Lyrics Meaning

Let’s dissect the meaning behind the lyrics of the song ‘My Hero’ by Foo Fighters section-wise.

[Chorus] 

In this case, it could be someone you admire. Someone you had a crush on in school, your Mom, a soldier…They walk past you (very probably in slo-mo and with someone air-blowing their hair off-camera). 

Ordinary people can be heroes. A mother that works double shifts to send her child into college. A child who chooses education instead of crime. A grown-up with a mental health issue that decides not to take their life. And yet we don’t often seem to notice them and consider (at first glance) ordinary people ordinary. Noticing that they are, in fact, heroic is a beautiful thought: 

“I’ve had a lot of people in my life that I would consider heroes – nobody that you people know – just people, my friend Pete Stahl, Chip Donaldson, people in my life the I really looked to as heroes that, you know, weren’t in KISS, they were just people and I think that’s probably what I was talking about in that song.”

[Verse 1]

“Take your pictures down” seems to mean people don’t have to be Hollywood celebrities to be admired. “Too alarming” (seems to) refer to the trend of masses worshipping idols who may or may not deserve the fame, but everyday heroes like firefighters who actually save people or people who struggle with drug addictions or PTSD, who actually deserve attention and help are overlooked.

What if you could see the battles people who are entirely alone are fighting? No-one comes for the homeless, lonely old people and the victims of sexual abuse and survivors of sex trafficking because everyone is too busy watching Miley Cyrus: 

Alarming? We think so. What will be the consequences of this? Will anyone speak up? The song encourages you, the reader, to stand up and let your voice be heard. 

[Verse 2]

The ordinary people who have a tough life often seem to be overlooked. Fighting depression or substance abuse takes incredible willpower. Somehow adversity seems to bring out the best in people. Tragically, those who are the most intelligent, talented, and emphatic often seem to struggle with life the most.

Generations of young people have been swept away by drugs, wars shattered the lives of millions, and the rates of depression are on the rise. This song is about noticing people who suffer who may have amazing qualities but genuinely struggle. Check out “Lullaby” by Nickelback to discover more about suicide prevention.  ( I’ll write this next – N) 

[Bridge]

This verse appears to be about the heroes who left or died (“leaving all the mess” meaning physical existence with all its limitations). “The one that’s on” seems to refer to news stories on TV that feature news about a death.

Conclusion: My Hero Meaning

“My Hero” is about the struggles in the lives of everyday people who fight their battles, unnoticed by the society that doesn’t pay nearly enough attention to problems of poverty, drugs, substance abuse, and so on, instead preferring meaningless pop culture (“take your pictures down”).

The song is a warning to spread the word (“take the evidence, race it around”), otherwise, the world may wake up to another news story of a meaningless death of another hero who no-one noticed.

What do you think is the meaning behind the lyrics of ‘My Hero’ by Foo Fighters? Let us know in the comments section below.

Read the meaning behind the lyrics of “My Hero” by Foo Fighters on Genius in detail.

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