Faith No More
Album of the Year


4.0
excellent

Review

by Super Grover USER (32 Reviews)
March 25th, 2010 | 202 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Underrated? Yes. Up to par? Debatable.

Let's get something squared away off the bat-- Album of the Year is easily the most maligned Faith No More release with Mike Patton as the vocalist. Critically, the album was under heavy fire from the start, with Pitchfork and Rolling Stone dumping less than stellar reviews (2.4/10 and 1.5/5, respectively), and commercially the album severely undersold, not moving half as many units as Angel Dust (whose sales totaled less than half of The Real Thing's), despite arguably being the more accessible record. Even the band cites the album as their least favorite, and their imminent breakup finally happened less than a year after its release with Patton's explanation of "we were starting to make bad music."

It's sad to say, but some of the knocks on Album of the Year were more than justified. The first glaring issue is the guitar work-- Jim Martin, the axeman behind FNM's first four releases, had long since jumped ship, and Mr. Bungle fill-in Trey Spruance took his leave after lending his talents to King for a Day. The job of replacing Spruance fell to Jon Hudson, whose performance on the album is adequate and nothing more. The frantic energy of the band's previous releases seems to be completely abandoned, and despite some tracks that play to Hudson's strengths, such as the electronica-tinged "Stripsearch," the album develops a bit of a dull backbone that plagues many of the uptempo cuts. The lack of a dynamic feel can't be pinned completely on Hudson however-- bassist Billy Gould is essentially absent on all songs, save "Last Cup of Sorrow," and keyboardist Roddy Bottom can't seem to conjure up the atmospheric feel he thrives on. In fact, the aforementioned two tracks are the only two with any real sense of atmosphere or dynamic, excluding the grungy plodding of "Home Sick Home" and closer "Pristina."

But alas, Mike Patton's vocals serve as a saving grace. From his soaring performance in "Ashes to Ashes" to the gentle crooning of "She Loves Me Not," Album of the Year provides his best pure vocal performance as a member of Faith No More. You won't find any of the pure insanity he provided on the band's previous two releases, but his smooth, laid-back style fits the album perfectly and allows it to gain a dimension that most of the band's other work lacks. "Helpless" is a prime example of this-- musically, it's five-plus minutes of very little extraordinary going on, but the band feels tight, connected and smooth, perhaps more than they ever have before. Patton turns in another laudable vocal performance and delivers the hook of "I never felt better" with such earnestness that it's difficult not to get swept away by the song's soothing melodies. "She Loves Me Not" operates the same way, a quaint, barbershop quartet-esque piece which sees Patton flying in and out of falsetto with ease. "Pristina" and "Stripsearch" are also standouts, the former one of the more emotional songs FNM ever wrote.

That's not to say Album of the Year only succeeds with the volume and tempo low-- lead single "Ashes to Ashes" works well enough with the catchiest chorus on the album, and it's all too easy to fall into the mesmerizing bass-heavy groove of "Last Cup of Sorrow." "Mouth to Mouth" is the most dynamic of the faster tracks and yields generally positive results.

Album of the Year isn't a masterpiece, but it's far from the disaster it's made out to be. It's not a stretch to label it as the least impressive Faith No More release with Patton, but that doesn't make it poor by anyone's standards. Sure, it fails it match the other albums musically and it has more clunker tracks than one would like with a band of FNM's caliber, but the added dimension of a slow, ballad-esque side works impressively well and there are more than enough standout tracks to make Album of the Year a worthy addition to the Faith No More catalog.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Romulus
March 25th 2010


8436 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not terribly necessary but I thought this needed a non-tbt.

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
March 25th 2010


7026 Comments


lol at album title

Digging: Perfume Genius - Too Bright

Inveigh
March 25th 2010


24968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agree with everything abou this review except the rating haha. But it's very well-written and sums up my feelings on this album quite nicely. Best AotY review on the site, bravo.

NeutralThunder12
March 25th 2010


8742 Comments


this band does cool stuff but it aint my style.

BigHans
March 25th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You might surprise yourself.

Meatplow
March 25th 2010


5524 Comments


I really like this album, some parts are less then stellar but I wouldn't consider it bad by any stretch.

sexpoi
March 25th 2010


599 Comments


good review... I luv Last Cup of Sorrow

Inveigh
March 25th 2010


24968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

no, it's definitely not bad. Mouth to Mouth, Collision, Stripsearch, Last Cup of Sorrow, Ashes to Ashes and Pristina are all pretty great. Other than that it's pretty boring though. Naked In Front of the Computer's pretty ok too I guess, but about half this album bores me to tears (tears mainly because I know what FNM is capable of).

Romulus
March 25th 2010


8436 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah it's definitely not at the level of their other stuff but there are just too many good songs on here for me

Zettel
March 25th 2010


597 Comments


Your last paragraph sums it up all perfectly. The album is the least impressive of the four, and yet, it is great. Also a lot of fun.

deliberately
March 25th 2010


187 Comments


wait, which year? should i check this out?

Urinetrouble
March 25th 2010


5760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

akbum has definite flaws but its still pretty good on my terms

RobotFrank
March 25th 2010


344 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I want to give this a 3.5 because it is faith no more, but there really is nothing "great" on this record. It's good, but it's also a letdown when compared to everything that came before it. I think Introduce Yourself might actually be as enjoyable as this. Nice review, +1up.

porch
March 25th 2010


8460 Comments


album is pretty good

kygermo
March 25th 2010


994 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

FNM always said that they were never able to catch the energy of their live show onto record, and this album is the definition of that statement. The songs on this album performed live are beastly, and I do agree that the album lacks backbone in a way. Its still a great album that holds some really great stuff, with "She Loves Me Not" being quite possibly Patton's best vocal work in FNM. But then again, this band can do no wrong in my eyes, so perhaps my judgement is diluted. Either or, it's still worth a great listen. Wonderful review, too.

Buccaneer
March 25th 2010


692 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ashes to Ashes is like my all-time favourite song. Think it was the first FNM song ive heard as well (apart from Epic obv)

Great review man, pos'd

Urinetrouble
March 25th 2010


5760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

faith no more ranked
angel dust
the real thing
king for a day fool for a lifetime
we care a lot
album of the year
introduce yourself

its where i stand

Inveigh
March 25th 2010


24968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

basically same for me:

Angel Dust
The Real Thing
King For a Day
Album of the Year
Introduce Yourself
We Care A Lot

Romulus
March 25th 2010


8436 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I need to listen to We Care a Lot cause I actually really enjoy Introduce Yourself. My rank is the same as Inveigh's but KFAD over The Real Thing depending on my mood.

Urinetrouble
March 25th 2010


5760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

waddya guys think of chuck moselys solo album?



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