Writing about Faith No More and its offshoot projects is a passion of mine. As an early fan, I enjoy spreading the word to new listeners.
Faith No More: Legacy of Awesomeness
Any Faith No More fan worth his or her salt knows the band has more than 10 awesome songs. The following is a list of some of my personal favorites through the years—nothing more, nothing less. Here they are in no particular order.
1. "We Care a Lot"
I still remember hanging out with my buddy back in our early teen years. We were big Metallica fans, listening to their cassette tapes and figuring out guitar riffs. We would see James Hetfield from Metallica wearing Faith No More t-shirts, and would wonder, ''Hmm, what band is that?''
''Epic'' hit from The Real Thing, and we were into that album. ''War Pigs'' was an awesome cover and we were especially into ''Suprise! You're Dead'' with its killer big riffs. The previous two albums We Care a Lot and Introduce Yourself were discovered shortly after.
Of all of the songs pre-dating Mike Patton as the vocalist of Faith No More and featuring Chuck Mosley, ''We Care a Lot'' from the debut album of the same name has to be the most recognizable. It's a catchy hook with the phrase hammered home in the backup vocals, and the subject matter deals with the problems of the world in a cynical take, perhaps making fun of some of the fake rockstar causes of that era. The song was also re-recorded with some different lyrics for the Introduce Yourself follow-up album.
''We Care a Lot'' Video
2. ''Zombie Eaters''
The Real Thing album had many eclectic ranges of different styles of music, a trademark of Faith No More. ''Zombie Eaters'' is a standout song on this album with its diverse dynamics.
The song starts with a beautiful acoustic guitar pattern which is sophisticated in sound, then joined in with keyboards and Mike Patton's soft vocal which goes into faint whispering in parts, before exploding into full-on Faith No More groove and style. The lyrics do a good job at touching the pulse of a fussy toddler, and gravitate towards the notion that these beings are having fun messing around with their adult counterparts.
Hey look at me lady
I'm just a little baby
If I smile, then you smile
Then I'll get mad for awhile
I melt in your mouth
And in your hands whenever I can
But I really do nothing
Except for kickin' and fussin'
I like to make a mess
I laugh at your distress
— ''Zombie Eaters'' by Faith No More
3. ''Sunny Side Up''
Faith No More came back swinging in 2015 with the awesome Sol Invictus. The album is absolutely stellar, and I think we need more bands like this one forwarding and pushing music into new territories, considering the overall drab musical environment of today.
''Superhero'' and the insanely tight ''Separation Anxiety" and ''Cone of Shame'' are album highlights. So is the super-catchy ''Sunny Side Up,'' an ode the scrambled eggs, orange juice, coffee, and the Sunday newspaper. This may well be my favorite Faith No More video ever. It's a hilarious take on nursing home life with the guys aged and looking geriatric while rocking out for some eager seniors, enjoying a killer tune for breakfast along with a cup of joe.
''Sunny Side Up'' Video
4. ''Pills for Breakfast''
This is a quick hitter instrumental piece from the band's We Care a Lot debut album, clocking in at just under three minutes. We have all groove going on here, and it has the band's quintessential bounce. Jim Martin (guitar) and Mike Bordin (drums) get the nod for the songwriting credit. Roddy Bottum's keyboards are the icing on the cake which adds to the hypnotic groove with some deep textures. ''Pills for Breakfast'' is a great tune to put on for some quick inspiration and energy and gets the blood pumping.
''Pills for Breakfast'' Video
5. ''Smaller and Smaller''
For singer Mike Patton's vocal work on The Real Thing album, things were put together quickly in the studio. On the Angel Dust follow-up, the guys had more time to work things out, including Mike for his vocals. The guys wanted to get away from the higher-pitched singing style on the record and change things up.
And they did. Patton was influenced by chanting, exotic screaming styles, and wanted to use his voice as an instrument. It was done beautifully, Mike came up with some awesome styles that were way unique. ''Smaller And Smaller'' from Angel Dust is a prime example of Patton's new vocal work with the band, and it forged the direction of things to come.
''Blood is an excellent deeper cut from the Introduce Yourself album. It features some of my favorite Chuck Mosley vocal moments. Roddy Bottum's keyboards kick it off with a short piece launching the awesome jam. Drummer Mike Bordin's breakdown rhythm towards the end gives the song a slight breather before the guys kick back in and build up for a fast and frantic finish.
The album King for a Day...Fool for a Lifetime, released in 1995, may very well be their most eclectic offering. You get everything from the down-home ballad ''Take This Bottle," a standout track, and ''Star A.D'' which sounds like twisted game show theme music mixed with something inspired by the Las Vegas strip.
You also get the full-on madness of ''The Gentle Art of Making Enemies'' and ''Cuckoo for Caca'' thrown into the mix, and all these different styles and textures blend for an awesome and cohesive listen without sounding forced. The guys were at a crossroads after the firing of guitarist Jim Martin, Mike Patton brought in Trey Spruance from Mr. Bungle, and the guys knocked it out of the park.
''Evidence'' is another example of the vast styles, just an awesome track with a jazz feel that flows, Roddy's keys are as smooth as the other side of the pillow, and Patton croons with a confident swagger. Versions were recorded with vocals in Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.
8. ''Woodpecker From Mars''
''Woodpecker From Mars'' is not only an episode from the classic Woody the Woodpecker cartoon series, and also an instrumental track from Faith No More's The Real Thing album.
This one has roughly double the run time of the previously mentioned instrumental ''Pills for Breakfast." The song goes back and forth between the two main sections building in dynamics and intensity. The tune is then broken down and deconstructed in the middle section which gives it an introspective feeling.
Then the doors get blown wide open again for the end section with the guys fired up on all cylinders. This track is a highlight for bassist Billy Gould, as his slaps and pops his bass like a possessed madman throughout the song.
''Woodpecker From Mars'' Video
While my criticism of Album of the Year is that it is a little short on run time compared to some of their albums from that era, I'Il still stack it right up there with any other Faith No More offering. It holds a special place in time for me. I and the rest of my music buddies had this in constant rotation, as we were hooked on it. And we partied to it. Hard.
"Stripsearch" was the last original single put out by the band before the breakup. It is a standout song, probably my favorite on the album along with "Pristina." It has a vibe that is not easily explained, kind of like an even-keeled feeling of peace, not too up or down, but balanced. Guitarist Jon Hudson has some great lead lines in the middle section and then opens up with a little more heaviness in the end. Great stuff, this will always remain in constant rotation for me, along with the band's other tunes.
10. "Chinese Arithmetic"
"Chinese Arithmetic" is another nice Chuck Mosely vocal performance from Introduce Yourself. Roddy Bottum (keyboards) and Mike Bordin (drums) lock together in the intro. Soon after Billy Gould (bass) joins the party followed by Jim Martin (guitar). Jim adds splashes of texture at first, before breaking into that classic Faith No More crunch with some big dirty riffs. Chuck has a cool breakdown rap piece in the middle and then ends the song with that upbeat bouncy groove that only this band can do.
"Chinese Arithmetic" Video
More About Faith No More
- Faith No More - Official Band Website
Faith No More: official news, photos, music, tour info and more.
- The Many Musical Projects of Roddy Bottum From Faith No More
Faith No More has a diverse and eclectic roster of musicians, one of whom is the one and only Roddy Bottum.
© 2017 The Write Life
Olivier on June 10, 2017:
King for a day
orenk on June 09, 2017:
Great piece! I like the way you describe the so versatile and diverse music we came to love during the 90's by fnm. I can't say these are exactly the same songs I'd pick as my favorites but I sure like most of them very much. Faith No More are definitely one of the most talented groups around. For me, they're right on the same line with Nine Inch Nails. Different genre and style but same level of sophistication and diversity.