Taken from 2002’s Grammy Award winning One By One, ‘Times Like These’ was the second single to be released from the album. The song was conceived by Dave Grohl during a 3 month hiatus that the band took in the middle of writing and tracking the album – tensions between band members and a general dissatisfaction with preliminary song demos led the Foo Fighters to temporarily put a halt to the One By One sessions and consider disbanding altogether; their performance at Coachella in 2002 inspired them to resume the recording process.
‘Times Like These’ has several unusual elements that aren’t normally present in a rock song that gets played on mainstream radio, the most notable of which is the time signature; the rhythmic cycle during the verse is 7 beats (I’ve opted to split the 7 into 4/4 and 3/4 as this tends to be easier to read and count compared to notating in 7/4), which marks it out as one of the few commercially successful songs that uses ‘odd’ time signatures.
The other oddity is the harmony of the song, which can be analysed as belonging to the D mixolydian mode – the key signature is G major, but D is ‘home’. The guitar plays a rather esoteric D13 chord in the introduction, which you don’t find in many other chart hits.
If you’re new to playing in odd meters then spend some time preparing this song without your bass in hand. Listen to the track while looking over the transcription, counting the beats out loud, repeating the process until it begins to feel natural – saturated listening to the song (and others that use odd time signatures) will improve your ability to perform in this area. Unfortunately, only a tiny proportion of music that most of us grow up with (in the west, at least) sits outside of 4/4 time, leading to confusion and panic when we’re confronted with anything else.