Faith No More... King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime
After exploding into mainstream MTV culture with 1989's funk metal pioneering The Real Thing
then spitting in the face of being pigeonholed as overexposed darlings of the commercial rock music world with 1992's comparitavely inaccessible and bizarre genre bending exercise Angel Dust
, guitarist Jim Martin left the band, Trey Spruance from Mr Bungle stepped in and Faith No More released King For A Day... Fool For A Lifetime
. It was met with lacklustre commercial success in the US as interest in the band fell short, but made a mint overseas in the charts and in time grew to be a cult work and critically accepted as one of Faith No More's best.
The fresh fusion of funk metal and nasal whelping of singer Mike Patton on The Real Thing
is an artifact of the past here, KFAD generally houses a more direct alternative rock sound then anything the band had released before it or after it. Remnants of the insanity of Angel Dust
still remain with the occassional dip into genres exotic to rock/metal, but for the most part this album is very straightforward in direction.
It begins with Get Out
, a punk/metal-esque pound to the head that uses a simple, oddly timed riff in between a snare drum/hi-hat banging away at the start then moving into power chord territory. It is a fun track which starts the album off nicely, if a little awkward and unremarkable in context of the rest of FNM's awesome musical catalogue. Ricochet
makes up for any initial stumbles, a rock track through and through, the intro and verses of this song feature the band making nice use of space with sustained distortion hanging in the background powered by some simple chords. Subtle, picked ostinatos in between use of feedback really make the musical arrangements here, this is another anthemic track driven by vocal lines. The chorus repetition of It's always funny until someone gets hurt and then it's just hilarious!
is bound to put a smile on the face of the most sour, it's a very uplifting song which appears to be about adopting absurdity in the face of contempt.
If we needed anymore confirmation about the absurdity of this band, look no further then then next track Evidence
. Now it is not absurd for the sake of being absurd a'la other Patton works such as Mr Bungle or Fantomas, in fact it is an accurate construction of a jazzy lounge song which sounds eerily perfect. Billy Gould's smooth bassline, some clean waa stabs on the guitar from Trey, Roddy's beautiful keyboard section and some jazzy yet unrestrained drumming by Puff manages to escape the kind of parody value musically which often plagues genre-bending bands such as Ween to become a tangible arrangement which could rival anything in the genre it aims at. Patton croons perfectly over the top, his smooth voice and the sexy music fitting together like a jigsaw honing his image as a kind of demented Frank Sinatra featuring lyrics which seem to translate to a man having sex with some guy and covering it up from his wife. Despite the lyrical topic being almost vulgar in description it is not half as conflicting with the music as it sounds, the mere fact it works so well as a whole makes it an absurdly hilarious and beautiful song.
The Gentle Art of Enemies
comes next, this is ROCK! It's rolls along like a big stomping metal beast, the verses dropping into slow basswork as Patton softly sings over the top. The pre-chorus section up's the dynamics and is groovy as ***, a hi-hat and restrained drumming pattern slapping away in the background against a simple guitar riff. Patton adopts a muffled voice here that is not unlike Serj Tankian, screaming more hilarious lyrics that seem to have some kind of homosexual subtext (I deserve a reward/cause i'm the best *** that you ever had!/And i tighten up my hole you may never see the light again!
, also There's always an easy way out, you need something wet in your mouth!
.) The chorus just plain bangs, it is the kind of catchy anthem you will forever be singing to yourself or to the annoyance of others if you have not listened to it a thousand times and done so already.
is a return to jazzy elements, lots of trumpets and oddly timed festivities. It is a very upbeat song, featuring some great vocal parts and arrangements, along with the kind of humourous wit in the lyrics we have come to expect from this band touching on death and celebrity culture. The line A little joke thats understood, it's all over the world
is repeated almost Ad nauseam, up until the point you notice that this album has so far constantly used the repetion of the one liner on almost every track that keeps nu-metal bands like Slipknot in bread and butter (i am the push that makes you move!, you can't kill me cause i'm already inside you!
etc). The comparisons stop there though, however much inspiration FNM were to the nu-metal world they were always several classes above.
Cuckoo For Caca
plays like some twisted church mass, to the tribal beat, distorted guitars and malevolant, ethereal keys one could envision Patton standing on a pulpit as a fire-and-brimstone preacher screaming his word to a terrified, bemused crowd, hands in the air, say-ir
. What elevates it from terrifying to funny is the lyrics are about scat, the often demonised art of sex invoving people ***ting on each other and eating it. This seems to be something of a personal joke within the band here (Take it from our drummer Puff, being good it gets you stuff!
), and as disgusting as the imagery is this is a hilarious song. Patton screams and squeals with no abandon, the music utterly evil. It is followed by Caralho Voador
(Portugeuse for "Flying Dick"), an extremely laid back track in contrast to the insanity before it. It is something of a dark bossa nova number, Patton whispering lyrics which describe a night through the eyes of some guy who has nothing in his life but a car. The chorus picks up a foreboding pace, the line My lips are moving but there's no sound/Someday somebody's gonna get run down
is chilling. It features a verse entirely in Portugeuse, which as cryptic as it sounds in FNM style translates to something like I can't drive, and now my index finger shows up in my nose.
Ugly In The Morning
brings back the metal, a mid-paced, crushing monster of a song led by a tribal drum and bass rhythm. It speaks of the morning after a debauched night, in a way the FNM song The Morning After
did not capture quite as destructively. Patton's capacity for singing metal is showcased amazingly, all throughout the song he adopts several different ways of singing whilst his screaming fit at the end with the line Don't look at me, i'm ugly in the morning!
built up from a whisper the most impressive. Digging The Grave
was one of the bigger singles off the album, another anthemic rock track which further shows FNM's ability to belt up good songwriting being an underrated staple of 90's rock. It is followed by Take This Bottle
, which is something of an alternative country song. It is very minor key with some impressive singing and rock elements, and much like Evidence
it holds up well in the genre it could be in extreme danger of parioding. The lyrics are well constructed and suit the music well, despite a subtle country cliche Patton's delivery adds just the right touch of sincerity.
King For A Day
follows, driven by some open chords consistently jangling throughout, the bass interplay, keys and production really shine here. It is moody and foreboding, however the jangly guitars speak of some kind of allure to this emotion which is an almost beautiful, melancholic feeling. It is a perfect housing for the lyrics, which I interpret as describing a person who has given there life to vanity for their 15 minutes of fame. Patton's restrained vocal delivery gives him the character of a bitter asshole brooding, as the song rolls along the dynamics change to an explosive crescendo until eventually we have the final run, a return to the alluring sadness of the beginning with the sad bassline, jangly chords and a single muttered lyric Don't let me die with that silly look in my eyes
repeated over and over again. This is perhaps the most spine-chilling moment on the album, the theatrics of King For A Day
show a band with amazing potential.
What A Day
is another rock belter in a similar vein to the rest on the album such as Get Out
and Digging The Grave
, albiet a slower and slightly more forgettable one which is perhaps one of the weaker tracks on here. The Last To Know
is another beautiful and underrated song, more great vocal delivery with the arrangements consistenting mostly of power chords on guitar. There are is some great keyboard work in the background, the solo melodic and pretty with some suitably well written lyrics. Just A Man
ends the note on a high point, just when you thought the novelty of genre-bending would of gotten old they decide to dip into gospel. Oh boy, this could be woeful if it was any other band but just like Evidence
and Take The Bottle
not only do they do it they do it well. Not leaning precisely towards traditional gospel, this song is the kind of in-between genres mash only FNM can pull off this way and still sound sincere. Lyrically and musically this is gold, this is the kind of epic cut where live perfomances always hit the right spot because it just a great song.
In short King For A Day... Fool For A Lifetime
is an excellent album. It is by no means perfect, but Faith No More were one of the greatest left field rock acts of the 90's and this album is one of their very best. I would aim this one at the discerning rock/metal fan wanting to try something different, most of the album leans towards a straight rock/metal sound in comparison to much of their other work but the branching off into other genres along with the blending of sincerity and absurdity make for some strange turns. This is a band that has the ability to open doors musically for people.