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Essential Faith No More Tracks: Music to Worship

Michael Taylor itcherFaith No More are one of the most influential and groundbreaking groups in alternative rock. Let’s take a look at their 10 most definitive musical moments from classic albums like The Real Thing and Angel Dust. ~ Michael Taylor

Faith No More seamlessly blended metal, hip-hop, alternative rock and funk, creating some of the most groundbreaking albums of the 80’s and 90’s.

The band dissolved in 1998, but they’ve since reunited, and are set to release Sol Invictus, their first album in 18 years.
I’ve been a diehard fan ever since I heard their 1989 breakthrough album, The Real Thing. To say I’m enthusiastic about hearing new material is an understatement.
But let’s look back before looking ahead: so whether you’re a newbie looking for a jumping on point, or a casual fan needing a refresher, here’s my list of 10 essential Faith No More tracks, from their biggest hits to deep album cuts.
Obviously narrowing down the huge repertoire of Faith No More tracks was hugely difficult, and whilst some didn’t make the cut, they are worthy of honorable mention:
– A Small Victory
– Surprise! You’re dead!
– Ashes to Ashes
– Stripsearch
– What A Day
– Zombie Eaters
– RV
– Just A Man
– Woodpecker From Mars
– Caffeine
– Another Body Murdered
10. ‘We Care A Lot’ (1985)

Before recruiting vocal powerhouse Mike Patton, the band was fronted by Chuck Mosley.  His brattish delivery was perfectly suited for We Care A Lot (from the 1985 album of the same). It’s an acidic take on the self-congratulatory nature of charity events like Live Aid:

We care a lot

About you people

About your guns

About the wars you’re fighting

Gee that looks like fun!

We Care A Lot set the template for the Faith No More sound: irreverent lyrics and a balance between bludgeoning guitar and a funk driven rhythm section.

9. ‘Collision’ (1997)

Faith No More’s pre-breakup release Album of the Year was a mixed bag, but lead track Collision is a juggernaut of a tune, with Mike Patton’s mighty bellow riding a dinosaur stomping riff.

Collision is Faith No More at their heaviest and most unrelenting: both cathartic and punishing.

8. ‘Malpractice’ (1992)

The band were determined to break new ground on their 1992 album Angel Dust. The most experimental track is Malpractice. It’s a horror show of a tune about a woman addicted to plastic surgery. The songs lurches from thrash metal riffing to serene string samples making for a disorienting listen:

The crowd roars

They’ve ruined and repaired me

The rest you know

The hands removed the bad thing

Malpractice perfectly illustrates Mike Patton’s gift for demented lyrics and whisper-to-a-scream vocal acrobatics.

7. ‘The Gentle Art of Making Enemies’ (1995)

Faith No More’s album King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime, featured guitar work for Trey Spruance, recruited from Patton’s Avant-garde metal band Mr. Bungle, and his off-kilter riffs fit the band perfectly. Enemies is a prime example, with Patton mocking cutthroat corporate culture:

Your day has finally come –

So wear the hat and do the dance

And let the suit keep wearing you.

This year you’ll sit and take it

And you will like it –

It’s the gentle art of making enemies

Gentle Art is one of the band’s most muscular songs, and a spotlight on Patton’s absurdist cinematic lyrical ability.

6. ‘Ugly In The Morning’ (1995)

Ugly In The Morning (also from the King From A Day album) is a darkly comic tune with discordant riffing and Patton at his most vocally and lyrically unhinged:

I know how piggy feels

He starves without missing a meal

Look in the mirror.

 Don’t look at me I’m ugly in the morning!

It’s Faith No More’s most rhythmically violent track to date, finishing with blood-curdling vocals and a whiplash inducing band performance.

5. ‘Ricochet’ (1995)

Our last selection from King For A Day is a strident anthem that would be staunchly euphoric if not for Patton’s sly lyrics, which resonate with anyone with a sick sense of humor:
It’s always funny until someone gets hurt…And then it’s just hilarious!

Ricochet is the catchiest tune you’ll ever hear about Schadenfreude and one of the best songs by Faith No More period.

4. ‘Everything’s Ruined’ (1992)

Faith No More’s Everything’s Ruined (from the album Angel Dust) features the band at their most majestic. Keyboardist Roddy Bottum’s cinematic piano figures align perfectly with one of Patton’s best vocal performances. The lyrics are evocatively enigmatic:

And he spent himself

Would not listen to us

But when he lost his appetite

He lost his weight in friends

Everything’s Ruined has chill-inducing grandeur, and shows off Patton’s impressive six-octave range.

3. ‘Epic’ (1989)

Epic is one of the first notable fusions of hip-hop and metal. It’s also a strong showcase of the band’s talents: Patton’s mix of rapping and strident vocals, Bottum’s haunting keyboards, Billy Gould’s seismic bass slapping and Mike Bordin’s pounding drums mesh perfectly.

However, the MVP goes to former guitarist Jim Martin thanks to his killer riff and widescreen solo.

Epic’s massive success has unfairly overshadowed the rest of the band’s output, but its cultural impact is undeniable.

2. ‘Easy’ (1989)

Faith No More are known for their left-of-center covers, but their take on The Commodore’s Easy is surprisingly reverent. The band plays it straight to sublime effect.

Mike Patton channels his inner Lionel Richie with respectful panache.

1. ‘Midlife Crisis’ (1992)

Fans expecting an Epic Part 2 were left scratching their heads on the band’s 1992 album Angel Dust. The band jettisoned rap-rock, hell-bent on subverting rock conventions with mad scientist intensity. Producer Matt Wallace’s opulent production was also an about face to the Grunge aesthetic popular at the time.

Lead single Midlife Crisis has a dark charm that frames Patton’s sly lyrics mocking baby-boomer navel-gazing:

What an inheritance

The salt and the Kleenex

Morbid self-attention

Bending my pinky back

Midlife Crisis fuses a dread-inducing verse and triumphant chorus with thrilling results.


What Do You Think?

So that concludes my list of best Faith No More tracks.
Think something should have been here that wasn’t? Agree with my list?
Tell me in the comments below.
My name is Michael Taylor and I′m your go-to source for finding the best in Alternative rock in all its various genres, such as Goth, Grunge, Post-punk, Shoegaze, Britpop and Electronica, with some metal thrown in for good measure. Film-wise, I′m all about sci-fi and horror, comic book movies, and cult classics. I love checking out all the best concerts and film events in my hometown of Austin, TX. I′ve written for sites such as Cracked, and I cover all my various pop culture obsessions on my site
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