Review Summary: Just in case the first five confused you, this one IS The Very Best Definitive Ultimate Greatest Hits Collection. We think.
Faith No More are a particularly difficult band to categorize. From the rap-infused-with-funk-infused-with-rock styling of The Real Thing
to the bizzare masterpiece Angel Dust
to King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime
, which unleashed basically every trick in the book, the band seemed to have made a conscious effort to reinvent their sound on each record. This m.o. did nothing to hinder their success, however, both commercial (The Real Thing
and its smash hit "Epic") and critical (Angel Dust
, dubbed "one of the more complex and simply confounding records ever released by a major label"). What it has done, however, is make the band very difficult to describe with a core group of songs. Thus it's mildly shocking that The Very Best Definitive Ultimate Greatest Hits Collection
is now FNM's sixth swing at a compilation album, released in anticipation of their reunion tour.
The first disc is fairly straightforward, serving as the eighteen-track best of. While previous compilations leaned heavily towards the first two Patton-era albums, The Very Best
serves up more than half of Angel Dust
and very little of anything else. Predictably, all of the big-name singles are present and accounted for-- new listeners should seek out "Epic," "Midlife Crisis" and a cover of The Commodores' "Easy," serving as the closer. In fact, only two Patton-era singles are absent from the album. Their exclusion allows for a bit of welcome experimenting, as it's nice to see the eight-minute epic "The Real Thing" opening, and it just wouldn't be a Faith No More compilation without the hard-charging keyboard-led "From Out of Nowhere" following at its heels. The aforementioned chunk of Angel Dust
includes "Kindergarten" and "Land of Sunshine," two standouts from the album that balance accessibility and a true FNM sound well. Still, there are a couple disappointments for long-time fans, the most obvious being the strange inclusion of "R'n'R" from the band's debut-- if another Introduce Yourself
cut was truly necessary (it wasn't), the choice should have been the second single, "Anne's Song." Also, King for a Day
and Album of the Year
get minimal representation, with three and two singles respectively.
The second disc has much more for fans to sink their teeth into with ten unreleased demos. The quality is bare, and few songs actually sound album quality, but all are at least somewhat enjoyable. "The World is Yours" is the clear standout, with an dark and epic Angel Dust
feel, and "Hippie Jam Song" is a tempo kick in the a$$ away from fitting in perfectly on The Real Thing
. The all-out mayhem of "Das Schutzenfest" is additionally very welcome after a rather by-the-book compilation.
The Very Best
is a decent best of, yes, but it feels unnecessary after the five that preceded it. Any new listeners looking to get into Faith No More would be better off starting with a full-length album, or if they must, The Platinum Collection
. Still, fans will enjoy the second disc and the few surprises on the first disc ("The Real Thing," "Caffeine," "Be Aggressive") are worth noting.
Recommended for new listeners:
"From Out of Nowhere"
Go buy all of FNM's albums
Recommended for fans:
"The World is Yours"
"Hippie Jam Song"
"I Won't Forget You"
Go listen to all your FNM albums