C’mon! Y’all remember the great band Faith No More that popped into our collective consciousness back in 1989 and 1990. They had that fluke hit “Epic” in 1990, back when my older son was in kindergarten. It always seemed as though after picking him up from school at noon, the first video played on MTV when we got back was “Epic”. And, I remember him laughing as the fish flopped around in slow motion in the video, which of course set off the PETA people. Whatever it was about that song, I knew I had to hear the album.
For me, the early Nineties represented the moment when I finally was going to transition from vinyl to digital CDs. So, my second CD purchase was this Faith No More album entitled The Real Thing. Now, if you go by “Epic”, you are expecting to hear music that is somewhat following the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ funk-rock-rap amalgamation, only with a metal guitar driving the songs. After all, that’s what “Epic” was. Plus, while reading the back cover, I discovered the band was covering Black Sabbath’ “War Pigs”. I thought, “Cool! A little war protest as tensions in the Middle East were ratcheting up.”
So, I was expecting a headbanging half hour or so of a new form of metal. What I got was mind-blowing. Sure, this band could play metal with the likes of Metallica or Anthrax, but there was much more to them. These guys played a variety of music. Being musically eclectic myself, I loved the album. But, guessing by the number of copies of this CD at the used music shops, a majority of people did not enjoy the musical variety of metal, alternative and pop.
So, in 1992, Faith No More’s new album, Angel Dust, was released to much expectation. The critics were falling all over themselves to praise this album as one of the finest of the year. The critics loved that no one could truthfully pigeonhole the band into one simply category. They continued to produce highly stylized music videos, that the critics loved as well. Unfortunately, while Angel Dust is an outstanding album, and quite possibly one of the Nineties Greatest Overlooked Albums, the band did not write a compelling and catchy hit song like “Epic”. And, just as quickly as the band rose to prominence, just watch Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey to see what kind of white hot impact the band had initially made, the band was forgotten. Which was a shame, because they continued to create another couple of great hiatus, before disbanding.
Last year, Faith No More reunited to produce their first album in nearly twenty years, Sol Invictus. The album continued in their established sound of pop/metal/rap/funk/rock mixture. And, once again, the critics hailed the album, only to watch it fade away quickly as it came.
In retrospect, Faith No More is too talented for its own good. They create all forms of music, even making great and honest covers of the Commodores’ classic ballad “Easy” or the Bee Gees’ “I Started a Joke”. Go back and check out the OTHER Faith No More songs to get an idea of what I am talking about. I think you’ll see that they are one of the more underappreciated bands in history.