Mike Patton has always been one of my favorite performers. Everything he does is both interesting and varied. The thing is, most people wouldn’t have ever known he existed if his second band, Faith no More, hadn’t broken through with a song that served as a foundation for what became “Nu Metal.” “Epic” is a song that changed everything, and while most people forget about the band after that initial hit, they continued making albums for nearly a decade more.. Today I present to you the top ten songs by the marvelously eclectic Faith No More
Again, listen as you read.
10. Helpless, Album of the Year
When you first hear the aggressive guitar opening the song, you expect a certain something. Insead though, we cruise into a mid tempo number, full of Patton’s patented(see what i did there?) crooning. The track has some of the best playing on the entire record, and while the song can be thought of as retrospective, it also has a warm quality to it. Patton is amazing as a lyricist, and the line “I even tried to get arrested today, but everyone looked the other way” is one of the best lines I’ve ever heard. The whole band is especially tight, but Mike Bordin on drums adds both precision and force to the song. This would end up being part of their massively underrated initial swan song(they’ve since reunited and are releasing a new record very soon), but from the quality of the album, you would never know this was a band on the brink.
9. RV, Angel Dust
A creepy, piano driven song that fits perfectly in a smoky, downtrodden freak show finds us next. Once again the lyrics are odd, and the variations Patton uses in his voice keep the listener guessing as to where it’s going next. The song reeks of loneliness, hopelessness, and the idea of failure. The song changes pace briefly though, picking up the pace at the about the 75% mark, but quickly the western vibe returns, and this time the song has more purpose than the early goings. Getting back to his voice though, many times you get surprised at what he brings to the table, but it’s always innovative, and it’s never done just because. ,
8. Mouth to Mouth, Album of the Year
Another from this great album features a signature 90’s sound, with the guitars courtesy of Jon Hudson, has some of the most intense vocals from the band. Now he’s not screaming in your face like you might expect from my choice of words, but it’s sort of like a growl mixed with actual singing, and every now and then Patton lets this amazing type of chant out. By the time the second chorus comes, your body is moving, and you get lost in the song. All around great track, full of gusto and power, in only this band is capable of.
7. Stripsearch. Album of the Year
This track always reminded me of if Mike Patton did a song with Depeche Mode. It also happens to be a song that stands out among their more rock oriented arrangements. It’s a midtempo electro blast that features soft melodies and the usual clear cut vocals. The drums here are perfectly steady, and not only do they drive the force of the song, but it’s easy to get lost in them. That’s not a thing you see often, in any genre. That’s what's great about FNM. They have all these different weapons to force on you, and you never know what you will get. That makes a memorable band. Most incredible bands are able to make a switch in style look effortless, and FNM certainly are good at that.
6. A Small Victory, Angel Dust
My favorite part of the number six of my top ten Faith No More tracks lands. The highlight here is without a doubt the soaring vocals. Patton does a great job of not overdoing it, and the airy guitars only add to the feel and greatness of the track. This record is among their best known, and it’s tracks like “A Small Victory” that cement the special quality of this record. I mean, who doesn’t love Small Victories, seriously? They make the burden of everyday life a little easier to swallow, and in music form, this track is indeed a victory worthy of a celebration. It’s a triumphant track full of funky styles, killer rhythm sections, and one of the best voices in terms of rock music of the nineties.
5. the Gentle Art of Making Enemies, King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime
For my money, there’s not a bigger “Fuck you” song than this one. It’s completely in your face, and the sarcasm is through the life. The lyric “I deserve a reward cause’ I’m the best fuck you ever had,” is in my top ten all time lyrics, and the songs intent is clear: Faith no More is here to seize the day, regardless of if you want them to or not. The bass line B. Gould delivers is fantastic, and while the lyrics are great, the vocal range Patton throws down here is even more memorable. I imagine him running around like a deranged lunatic with a knife, tormenting a quality hilltop community.
4. Collision, Album of the Year
From the first second, this top ten song lives up to it’s name. Soaring vocals, big guitars and a slamming of the drums immediately pull at us, and the song doesn’t let up with the momentum for it’s entire duration. The band does something interesting here. The music never gets soft, but it’s a steady wave the whole time. During this though, Patton’s voice continually alters to accommodate his band members. He goes where they go, and you feel them as one entity. The album opener is the perfect example of how to start a record off right, and although the rest of the record isn’t this heavy, you know for in for something special.
3. From Out of Nowhere, the Real Thing
Number three of our countdown of the top ten Faith No More songs reaches back to the early dies. The song itself has a less prominent production quality than most of their other records, but give them a break will you? They were just getting their legs stretched with this one. Having said that, the keyboards are incredible, and don’t take away anything from the force of the song. You can see from early on that this wasn’t just your typical band, and although it’s a dated track from the early days, it still kills. It has this hip swinging energy to it that’s impossible to get away from, and the best part of the track is Bordin’s drumming. It’s a pure force of energy, and without a doubt the best song from “The Real Thing.”
2. Ashes to Ashes, Album of the Year
Man, this song. It was a doozy trying to decide between this one and the number one, but in the end this lands at number two. Everything About this song is simply epic. The guitars are lush, on point, and exacting in their methods, while Patton’s voice is at his low pitched, and soaring best. “Smiling with the Mouth of the Ocean” unleashes a force of emotions the band rarely hits, and while the song is a reflective song full of good bye memories and missed chances, it’s Patton’s voice that is the main selling point. Don’t get me wrong, the drums, and especially guitar(That Solo man omg) are the waves pulling Patton into the force of the track. The whole song is simply incredible, and every time I hear it I’m reminded why I love it so much.
1. Midlife Crisis, Angel Dust
And here we go.Number one of the Top Ten Faith No More songs, “Midlife Crisis” takes our heart with a track that exemplifies all of the versatility in one fail swoop. The opening drums are reminiscent of bongo’s, and Patton’s early husky whispers soon give way to the normal soaring nature of singing he provides so well. This song wasn’t a huge hit when released, but for the life of me I can’t figure it out. It’s a driving nature and the momentum it builds throughout is better than most everything that was on the radio at the time, and although the keyboard, sample section of the track might have turned some casual fans away, it’s that that made me realize not only the intelligence of the song itself but also of the band. Although I haven’t had a “Midlife Crisis” yet, I hope that it goes down as easy as this song fills me ears and my heart. Seriously, if you haven’t heard this song, stop what you’re doing and find it. Number one on the list of Top Ten Faith No More songs, “Midlife Crisis.” That is all. See you Monday]]]
Landon Murray is a published writer and an avid lover of music, books and films. He's also a lover of the New Orleans Saints. He was born in 1982 and has a chainsaw tattoo on his arm.
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