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One of my favorite bands since I was 11 is a band called Faith No More. Although they havn't been the most famous band on MTV, they certainly have their devoted following and I am one of their biggest fans. Most people will know them for their "Epic" song from their first album "The Real Thing"; an anthem song that was one of the first to introduce a keyboard to a heavy metal song and actually make it sound good. That album was the most famous, but by no means their best. In 1992 the Faith No More released their 4th album (2nd with singer Mike Patton) called "Angeldust". They were still famous from their 1st mainstream album (3rd consecutive) and were in their prime.
Mike Patton was at his most creative state of writing and vocal diversity on this album. On the last album he was moslty giddy and upbeat; alhough many songs on the album were quite serious, you wouldn't know it by listening to him sing. On this album he mixed it up a bit. Mike can sing hard metal songs and switch over and sing "Easy" by "The Commodores" and he does it just as beautifully.
The coolest thing about Faith No More is they can portrait a facade of being serious all the while they are singing about nothing at all or just joking. And then there are also many songs that are quite serious. The most famous song when "Angeldust" came out was the song 'Midlife Crisis'. When the song was made into a video for MTV they had to cut a guitar part out of the song to shorten the video time and I wasn't too happy about that.
1. Land of Sunshine
Mike, like me has is an insomniac and was up late one nightt watching all kinds of info self help commercials and thought it would be funny to right a song with all of the slogans, but in his own words. The thing is, it turned out to be one of the best songs on the album.
Sort of a part two to the first song, it is subtley making fun of his addiction to caffeine; a thing that helps him stay awake while he is watching those infomercials! LOL.
3. Midlife Crisis
This is the most famous song on the album. It is a good song, but there are much better songs on the album that should have been famous. I guess it is the most catchy. Mike wrote this song about Madonna and her need to be in the lime light so she doesn't grow old. This is what he said in an interview anyway. I despise Madonna anyway. lol
This is a weird song from him. More of a mellow, but very depressing song. It is pretty much about white trailer park trash (me!) and our depressing existence. He is born and raised white trash himself so he has room to speak.
5. Smaller and Smaller
A very heavy metal song. Slow, but heavy. This song is about being poor and recieving charity, but feeling bad for accepting it. It is about feeling smaller and lesser than others because rich people make you feel that way.
6. Everything's Ruined
One of his more serious songs. This is about how money ruins everything, about how the economy works with resession and depression and so forth. It is about how money gains and the loses value.
This song is about plastic surgery and the mental effects it has on young female stars and the way that some doctors coax them into it for more money, feeding on their insecurities.
This is about growing up, but not really wanting to. Sometimes I wish I were still a kid in kindergarten with no worries.
9. Be Aggressive
This song is about egostism, selfisnesss and greed. Taking what is mine and not wanting anyone else to have it if I can't have it.
10. A Small Victory
This song is about winning and losing and the envy that losers sometimes have for the winners. Mike's dad was a coach and he had to go through most of his youth with his dads envious mentallity.
11. Crack Hitler
This is about a major crack dealer who ruined everyone elses life by selling them one of the most dangerous drugs in the world and then eventually started to use his own supply and ruined his own life.
This is about a man who gets sentenced to prison for sex crimes or for some other form of sexual deviation. In this song the man is preparing himself for sentencing and the horrors that lie ahead for him in prison.
13. Midnight Cowboy
Yes this is their instrumental rendition of the theme song to the 1969 movie with Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight.
Faith No Mores second album with Mike Patton was the first on which his strange influence became a driving force, deviating vastly in many cases from the previous huge-selling alternative metal release The Real Thing as the band explored more unusual, experimental territory more in the vein of Pattons side-project Mr. Bungle.
Many of the songs, particularly the singles towards the beginning of the album, stick to the highly influential funk metal sound that they had pioneered in the late eighties along with the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, while some of the later songs expand on the hip hop influence of The Real Thing, making this album largely, and sadly responsible for the rap metal boom of the late nineties, which now thankfully seems to have slumped again. I cant imagine any other situation where I would be recommending an album favoured by Fieldy, the maize-field-haired gangsta bassist from Korn, but the impact of Angel Dust has been far reaching to all sections of alternative metal, particularly some of the large progressive metal bands, and Kerrang! magazine has rated it the most influential album of all time (presumably in the world of alternative rock that Kerrang! pretends it caters for).
This wild mix of styles may appear, on first listen, to divide the album into complex and remedial sections to appeal to different breeds of listeners, but closer examination reveals that the depth of this material spans the majority of the disc, introducing subtle background nuances and changes of direction even in the more commercial sounding songs. This isnt true for the entire album however, as songs like the white-trash piano song RV are fairly easy to take at face value. Later versions of the album, and the one commonly available today, closes with the bands popular cover of the Commodores hit Easy, which provides some necessary easy-listening relief after the crazed likes of Crack Hitler and Jizzlobber. The guitars on this album vary between heavy metal and melodic pop-rock, and unfortunately move away from the centre stage they took on the previous album, unfortunate because this would be Jim Martins last album with the band and he could have had a more impressive swan (heron?) song than this.
1. Land of Sunshine
3. Midlife Crisis
5. Smaller and Smaller
6. Everythings Ruined
9. Be Aggressive
10. A Small Victory
11. Crack Hitler
13. Midnight Cowboy
After a heavy riff that lasts for a few bars, Land of Sunshine belongs almost completely to the clunking rhythm of Billy Goulds bass. Pattons vocals alternate between a kind of crazy shouting and a more accessible clean singing voice in the chorus and most of the verses, a style he uses on all the songs the band intended to make money from as singles, and despite this accessibility this song does go beneath the surface largely due to the keyboards of Roddy Bottum. This minimalist synthesiser sounds very eighties, but provides a nice falling or cascading effect that sounds mock-classical. Theres a very brief guitar solo, but its kept very short and sweet. Both this and the next song particularly, Caffeine, were written while Patton was depriving himself of sleep, presumably with the intention of seeing what it did to his ability to write songs. Oddly, these are some of the more restrained pieces on the disc, though Caffeine is more hard-edged, based more on loud guitars and pounding drums to create not so much a dreamy atmosphere as one in which the listener tries to become relaxed, but is prevented from doing so, fitting to Pattons experiment. There are some real hardcore-style screams hidden in the mix a little towards the end, perhaps passing unnoticed on first listen, and Patton sounds very angry, in a funky, Chili Peppers way, throughout.
Midlife Crisis is one of the most approachable songs, and the one most similar to the previous album, lacking most but not all of the weirdness of this one. The song begins in a minimalist soundscape of light percussion and quiet synth, as Patton whispers the lyrics, before picking up volume in the uplifting choruses. The guitar sounds noticeably stilted on this song, perhaps wary of alienating non-rock fans on the radio, and is forced to chug along in the background even in the louder sections. The problem with this song, which is otherwise pretty great, is its repetition and lack of new ideas, as pretty much everything has been heard after the first minute, leaving repetition until fade-out the only course of action. The afore-mentioned RV follows, and this angry, depressing ditty spoken in a harsh white-trash old man voice always makes me picture a guy sitting out on his porch. Its not as bad as some of the country-influenced stuff Metallica would later indulge in for the Load and Reload albums, being an obvious joke and stab at certain aspects of America, and in a way sounds like that raving, drunk Q.C. from The Fast Show, particularly as only his final words are very clearly legible amidst the general murmur. The piano melody is in waltz time, and theres quite a nice guitar hidden in the background for most of it thats possibly influenced by rockabilly or something equally hillbillyish. This song is well placed on the album, providing some nice relief and interrupting the flow a little without having to be something terrible and distracting like a piano love song. No, trailer park yokel is what I like.
After this relief comes perhaps the most challenging part of the album, and my favourite (if we are to assume, as I do despite obvious evidence to the contrary, that the album can be divided into sections). Smaller and Smaller is the first song to properly make use of Martins guitar abilities, sounding almost Arabian in places though not enough to be clichéd, and dominating in the wordless chorus. Pattons vocals are similarly at their most freestyle, overlapping and elusive and culminating in an echoed screech reminiscent of black metal, again hidden a little in the soundscape in the same way as the screams in Pink Floyds Careful With That Axe, Eugene. A quieter psychedelic section ends the song, led by light drums, and a short solo finishes things off. This was never going to be a single, but it characterises the album well. Everythings Ruined initially threatens to be a ballad with Bottums soft piano intro, but remains more energetic despite the lack of guitars in all but a few sections, filled in with the piano melody. This is a great melodic song with a catchy chorus, catchy enough to be ripped off by Dream Theater for their 2001 album that, to be fair, steals ideas from all the big bands in the alternative scene, with the guitar soaring overhead and the bass providing a great rhythm without sounding clunky and funky this time.
With Malpractice, one of the few songs never played live, aggression returns. Patton alternates between shouting and singing, and unleashes another of those black metal screams, while Martin plays a really discordant solo that hurts my ears. Its very bleak and loud, taking more influence from hardcore than heavy metal however, and takes time out to play what sounds like a lullaby or childs mobile, perhaps inspiring similar but more gaudy conceits in the music of teen angst bands like Slipknot to imply child abuse. Appropriately, Kindergarten follows, and the album again alternates to a more melodic song, as well as starting to introduce the hip hop elements more prominently. Pattons near-rap vocals dont ruin the pleasant atmosphere of the keyboards and guitars, and are mostly modulated to a deep, masculine singing in the choruses.
The pattern continues with the next two songs: the deliberately confrontational song about gay oral sex, Be Aggressive, which is suitably aggressive despite being based on sixties organs and seventies funk, certainly the height of funk on this album while also including the only real, extended guitar solo, and the contrastingly pleasant sounding A Small Victory which begins with a beautifully melodic guitar and seems to finally crack this melodic song business that the previous two even-numbered tracks didnt quite manage. With the guitars doing their soaring thing, taking a little time out for a squeaky Primus / Rage Against The Machine style solo, this song really belongs to the vocal deviance of Patton, who sings the verses pleasantly, scats a little in-between verses (basically opening his mouth and letting some sounds come out, despite the songs lyrics about keeping your mouth shut), and even introducing some Michael Jackson sounding woo bits towards the end. There appears to be more to this song than at first meets the ear, but its mainly just some sound effects in the background. This is one of my favourites, and certainly the peak of the albums softer, feminine side.
The final section of the album (alright, Ill admit there doesnt seem to be that much of a pattern. I guess its more down to my listening habits of this CD that I tend to play the songs in groups of four) begins aggressively and ends calmly, though its a gradual and interesting process. Crack Hitler is one of the weirder songs on the album, fading in slowly with the bass playing what sounds like a techno rhythm, and with Patton joining in after a while speaking in tongues, through distortion that sounds like a police radio. This song is split into two styles, which repeat in tandem: the first is a soothing keyboard melody backed up by a nice rhythm section, and the other is a louder, roaring crowd chant led by Martins thrash metal guitar riffs. Faith No Mores direct influence on modern prog band Pain of Salvation is especially evident here, as pretty much the entire PoS discography sounds like this song. Faith No More takes its own influence from elsewhere however, with Patton attempting a heavy metal style woah-oah-oah section towards the end, similar to the sing-along incentive added to pretty much every Iron Maiden hit single, and a Black Sabbath War Pigs style air raid siren to boot, a song the band covered on their previous album. The distastefully titled Jizzlobber is one of the more disconcerting songs on the album, perhaps even more so than Smaller and Smaller, Malpractice and Be Aggressive combined, opening with weird, indeterminate sound effects and moving on to a keyboard melody influenced by classic horror films. The vocals are all over the place, sometimes distorted and sometimes even singing quite pleasantly and legibly, but becoming more tortured and screamed towards the end. Martins guitars are at their most metal here, executing a real headbanging thrash riff and making quite a lot of noise that is nevertheless usurped in the end by the rising sound of a church organ played by Roddy Bottum, far more grand sounding than Be Aggressive ever managed and threatening to end the album on an unresolved note of tension and emotional confusion. Fortunately, its not quite the end; Midnight Cowboy is an instrumental cover of the theme of the film of the same name, of which I know nothing, and is truly grand sounding, conjuring a barren vista with its simple accordion melody joined by drums and far quieter guitar and bass for a few pleasant, if unremarkable minutes, followed by the Commodores cover which is pretty much the same as the original, and not really to my taste.
Its clear that Angel Dust wasnt exactly what the record label had in mind as the follow-up to the massive selling The Real Thing, but its unique oddness, still tinged with enough pop rock to make it sell, still captured the attention of the record buying public, perhaps more so in this country than its American homeland after the success of the single Easy. Its refreshing to see such a strange and bold album on a major record label, but it was perhaps inevitable that Faith No Mores album would be released no matter what the product was, as the band was a fairly hot potato in the early nineties. If arranged differently, perhaps across two discs, its clear that tracks 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13 and 14 offer a more pop-oriented and, in most cases, easy listening experience (the final pair particularly), while the other half comprising tracks 1, 2, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 12 are more for the hardcore- or metal-oriented fans willing to try something a bit different, and more rough at the edges.
When dissected in this manner, Angel Dust becomes easier to digest, but also loses some of the chaotic charm of the listening experience, when anyone playing the album in company is required to feel a little fearful as each song fades out, just in case the next will offend or arouse suspicion from bystanders who would prefer a watered down Red Hot Chili Peppers release with none of this rubbish shouting, jumping around business. While Faith No More fans tend to cite this album as the bands creative peak, I remain more fond of the simplistic funk-metal enjoyment of The Real Thing, which has a similar blend of soppy pop-rock and cacophony, but with far more emphasis on Jim Martins great guitar abilities, not utilised to their full here and never to surface again. This is one of those albums that will mostly be bought nowadays off recommendations that its one of those albums you have to own, which is silly considering the vast amounts of rip-offs it has spawned that could just be bought instead, but Angel Dust always manages to stand out a little from my ridiculously vast CD collection for its specific charm and Mike Pattons bizarre take on the whole thing, leading me to the conclusion that this must be some sort of flawed but long-lasting classic.
Faith No More were to me just another band in the vast sea of guitar strumming, drum thumping and bass wacking. This is until i found Angel Dust sitting on a shelf in HMV record store for a meer nine pounds. Having heard many recommending reviews from my sisters friends from my own friends and from....well my dad i bought the album. I spent my money and wandered off thinking my old man had gone and wasted nine pounds of my money. OH HOW WRONG WAS I!!!! This album is not at all dated, as i had expected, but is far beond the vast majority of the tidal wave of bands stated above. It is, to my ears, extreamly fresh and innovative. It has complex bass playing, intiricate guitaring and some beautiful drumming (if it is possable find sweaty men beating sticks against plastic skins beautiful). The vocals are also extreamly interesting. The album is composed of not one filler song. It is one of those albums which come along maybe five or six times every decade. It is complete. The negative sides to this album are the classic over listening thing that every one does. You put it on stand back in amazment and dont take it out the bloody cd player for a good three weeks. As you can probably tell i am impressed with this album. I suggest that anybody who is interested in this genre of music takes a listen to Faith No More who are practically the foundations of this music type. If you enjoy music with quirkiness and that essential complex sound then buy this album.
This album took me a few listens to throw it away a few years back, but just recently I purchased it after a sudden urge to listen to Faith No More, and it eventually grew on me and now is my favourite of them all. It took me to like songs like 'Land of Sunshine' 'Malpractice' and 'Jizzlobber'. Every single song on this album I now enjoy for different reasons, favourites being 'A Small Victory', 'Everything's Ruined' and 'Be Agressive', not to mention 'Midlife Crisis' which is a 90s classic. There were two things I noticed in this album as well. Patton's influences for this album apart from the fortune cookies (land of sunshine lyrics) and caffiene are: 1) Jello Biafra - In 'Land of Sunshine' you can see in the vocals and lyrics. 2) Mario Bros - In 'RV', you can hear the underwater theme from the game, hence Patton's obsession with video games. You may not like it straight away, I didn't at first, but if you listen to it for years and still not like it, that's your problem.
Faith No More’s mix of Rap, Funk, Metal and a certain lead singers hair cut (Or rather, hair not cut) lead to comparisons with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and while fans of Faith No More do tend to be fans of the Chili’s and fans of the Chili’s tend to be Faith No More fans, their music isn’t overly similar. Faith No More have something approaching a New Romantic streak in their music, as unlike many bands who get session players in, Faith No More have a full time keyboard player. Think Duran Duran mixed with Metallica and that’s probably the closest image you’ll get without actually hearing their music. Faith No More’s first album with their final singer, Mike Patton “The Real Thing” was as close to the Chili’s as they got. After that both bands headed off in different directions. Faith No More headed off along the road marked “Strange”. Legend has it that Mike Patton’s contribution to “The Real Thing” was a weekend spent writing lyrics after the band fired previous singer Chuck Mosely. However when the time came to write the follow up to “The Real Thing” Patton was a firmly established member of the band and this increased the previously slightly twisted approach Faith No More took to song writing. Angel Dust is Faith No More’s finest album (Not to mention strangest, though it’s not in the same league as Mike Patton’s ‘other’ band, Mr. Bungle). Opening with the relentlessly cheerful and at times manic Land Of Sunshine, the strangeness of the album is immediately impressed on you by the lyrics. They are made up entirely from a Scientology personality test and Fortune Cookie fortunes. It mainly gets stranger from hereon in. One exception to the strangeness is Midlife Crisis, more like Faith No More’s music on The Real Thing and one of the best tracks on the album. RV is another strange track, telling the tale of a
wife beating, beer drinking couch potato from his own point of view and is one of the slower tracks on the album with twisted country guitars providing most of the backing. Now it gets stranger… Kindergarten, well – I don’t really have a clue what this one’s about but the bizarre playground element of the song should keep you entertained. Equally entertaining (If with a subject matter you wouldn’t want to discuss with your kids) is Be Aggressive, mainly written by keyboard player Roddy Bottum (Yes really!) the songs chorus is made up of cheerleaders chanting “Be Aggressive”. It’ll bring a smile to your face but whether that will remain when you realise what the song is about is down to you. It’s hard to pick the best song off this album as it’s one of the few albums I own where I like each and every track and my favourite tends to vary depending on my mood. At the moment I’d say my favourite track is Jizzlobber, probably the heaviest track on the album and perfectly offset by the bizarre inclusion of a cover of Lionel Richy’s Easy as the last track. I said it was strange!
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Land Of Sunshine
3 Midlife Crisis
5 Smaller And Smaller
6 Everything's Ruined
9 Be Aggressive
10 Small Victory
11 Crack Hitler
13 Midnight Cowboy