Sunday, March 1, 2009

Faith No More

Whether or not Faith No More's just-announced upcoming tour actually hits America, the thought of one of the weirdest, catchiest and most innovative metal bands in history getting back together has me howling at the moon. Here's a brief playlist for us non-Europeans, while we refresh Blabbermouth every five minutes awaiting news of more tour dates.

"Falling to Pieces" (from The Real Thing)
Even after I had picked up The Real Thing and Album of the Year, my middle-school self was certain that Faith No More had three guys singing for them. Listen to "Falling to Pieces" and see if you can blame me, but be sure to also watch the video, which is perhaps the pinnacle of '80s music video special effects. "Epic" was the far bigger hit, but "Falling to Pieces" has a stronger melody and a more idiosyncratic sound. Although in hindsight, it's strangely basic for something with Mike Patton's name on it.

"A Small Victory" (from Angel Dust)
Far too eccentric for the audience that "Epic" brought them, FNM followed up with their masterpiece, Angel Dust, and head-scratchers like "A Small Victory." Any one of this song's elements--Roddy Bottum's ascending keyboard line, Patton's soaring vocals and Michael Jackson whoops, the hip-hop-flavored breakdown--could probably have made this a hit, but the band preferred to blend them all into something that sounds like an early '90s pop dream gone horribly awry. Or an avant-metal must-hear. Be sure to check out their MTV performance of this song, which proves too much for the VJ.

"Midlife Crisis" (from Angel Dust)
As with many iconoclasts, Faith No More are probably most unsettling at their accessible and straight-forward moments. The furthest they got in that area was probably their cover of the Commodores' "Easy," but the original "Midlife Crisis" is up there. Mike Patton has stated that he's more concerned with the sounds of the words he sings than his actual lyrical content, but this is a relatively candid song. "Midlife Crisis" sounds like it's building up to something abrasive, but it ends with the hook and bridge blending into an almost pretty crescendo.

"Everything's Ruined" (from Angel Dust)
A tuneful, almost danceable Angel Dust highlight that's unfortunately remembered for possibly the worst dance moves and use of a blue screen in music video history. And yet, it's more watchable than most good music videos, few of which have such awesome soundtracks.

"Epic" (from The Real Thing)
The one song from Mike Patton's illustrious, unwieldy career that everybody knows. Rapping over a hard rock riff may not be as groundbreaking as it was 20 years ago, but I defy you to find someone who can match Mike Patton's howls and Jim Martin's chugging, modestly-titled composition. Allegedly the video's starring goldfish belonged to Björk.

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