Review Summary: Probably the easiest way to get in FNM. Once you put this hits package to memory, go fishing for their official albums.
To be truthful, it's very difficult to review a greatest hits package, especially for a band I absolutely adore. This my new friends, is blow-for-blow my favorite band. While I hate having favorites, Faith No More is usually who I say when somebody asks who my favorite band is (and their reply is usually a nervous "Who?"). They seamlessly blend all sorts of music together to make a catchy, convincing body of work that still speaks to me (and many others) after so many years of listening. At 22 years of age, FNM broke up when I was a mere 12 years old, so they were certainly before my time. If I find myself going to the one of many Mike Patton-led bands' shows, I always ask the older in attendance if they saw the mighty Faith No More. One time a guy told me Mike Patton invited the entire audience on stage to watch them perform at The Tower theater in Philadelphia in 1995 during the King for A Day
tour. I almost fainted. I remember seeing the ad in the paper about Faith No More's last Philadelphia appearance (September, Electric Factory, 1997), but I didn’t know who they were, or why it was sold out.
By chance in 1998, I was at a Flea Market and came across what is considered to be FNM's masterpiece, Angel Dust
. I picked that up along with Prince's Graffiti Bridge
for an awesome price of four dollars (yes I’m the guy writing all the Prince reviews, so what’s it to you? lol). I hated Angel Dust. My young ignorant mind was looking for that particular song I always heard on the radio (something about wanting it all and we cant have it?). Well, it wasn’t on there, so Angel Dust hibernated in my cd collection for the time being. By chance I got an offer from BMG Music to get eight free cds for the price of shipping. One of my choices was Who Cares A Lot? The Greatest Hits
. For 13 years of age, it blew my mind. I had no idea FNM was so capable of making such astonishing, unheard of music. This compilation is without a doubt the perfect launching pad to get into the brilliant and severely underrated world of Faith No More.
The songs represented on this Hits package are fine examples of their fantastic albums. On average, about three songs each are chosen. Some songs could have been left off from each era in favor of others (and I wont mention what songs), and the Rhino-issued collection This is it
is a bit better as that particular collection shows their off-kilter side a lot more clearly. Suffice to say this isn’t bad at all. It’s actually quite easy to digest, which was probably the point the whole time. To be fair, the songs chosen each have their own identity for their respected albums they were lifted from. For example, "Midlife Crisis" has that essence that Angel Dust brings, while "Digging The Grave", and "Last Cup Of Sorrow" are prime examples of how just about every band from the late 90s and early 00s have tried to steal from FNM (imagine how Korn felt when Mike Bordin agreed to play the drums for them on their 2000 tour, which I saw and Bordin was the first member of FNM I’ve seen live).
The second cd on this package is where the fans go wild. A mix of (FANTASTIC) outtakes, demos, and live tracks, this is the primary reason why the other seasoned fans would even buy this. Taken from the Angel Dust sessions and performed live in or around 1991, "The World is Yours" is one helluva listen. It has the infamous Bud Dwyer public suicide put in the middle of the song, with the sounds of an elephant thrown in for good measure. Up next is the ultimate summer song, "Hippie Jam Song", an unbelievably funky and groovin' track that truly shows off the beast of Billy Gould and Mike Bordin's solid rhythm unit. And of course, Roddy Bottum's organ. Some lyrics are worth mentioning too as Mike Patton is ever so good with double meanings ("That’s about as funny as a bake sale/Just about as boney as a butt cheek"). The next track dubbed "Instrumental" is a cool little tune as well, and I have a feeling it wasn’t meant to be an instrumental, but more or less something Patton forgot to put lyrics over. No worries, as it is a fun track. One thing that puzzles me is the next track up; "I Won't Forget You" was never released on King For A Day. By far their heaviest song, it makes even "Jizzlobber" sound tame. With another groovetastic rhythm, this track features no keyboards and an impressive vocal performance from Mike Patton. This is where Patton gets to shriek, and go insane on the microphone which is always entertaining, and intimidating.
The Introduce Yourself 4-Track demo is cool enough, but the quality slips for obvious reasons, and they sound uninspired. That’s ok though, I hold no grudges whatsoever. The next three tracks were taken from FNM's last appearance in Australia. These clips can easily be seen on Youtube, and they put on a great show. Track six starts with the Deep Purple classic "Highway Star", which is shortened and FNM'd out. Its fun, it means nothing, and leaves you with a smile on your face. Mission accomplished. Then of course up next is the loved "Midnight Cowboy", which strangely sounds like a band falling apart, as their demise was around the corner. Alas, we end with "This Guy's In Love With You", a Burt Bacharach staple that made its way on their set lists throughout 1997-98. A fantastic performance, Mike Patton even brings out the Mellotron and does a nifty little solo with the brilliant musicians backing him in such a magical way. I really can't say enough about this cover. Youtube it, it is absolutely worth it.
And so it ends. Faith No More broke up, and it breaks my heart to know I would never really get to see this band live. It’s funny to see how much they have caught on recently, mainly due to Mike Patton and his zany projects he does. It's disheartening to see Mikey Bordin play for Ozzy, when he could easily play for FNM and his talents could be put to use again. People are always curious about FNM, and they ask me about them all of the time. Usually I burn them a sic mix, and tell them to study. No lie, every person I’ve burned cds for, have loved them in return. I’ve even heard "Incubus has tried to be this band for so long, and they don’t even come close". Strangely, that’s kind of accurate. Regardless, Mike Patton has recently been kind to questions of a reunion, and I know of the other members agreeing to play once more. Life would be put on hold if this were to happen. I’ve read everywhere that the USA was indifferent to FNM at the time, but to hell with that, FNM has and still does matter to me. Ever so true is the quote "You don’t know how good something is until it's gone". Lucky for me, I wasn’t even old enough at that time to have the chance to either praise or ignore. But now, I hold them in such regard, and this package will do the trick to any person willing to see and feel what we have seen and felt for so long.