Faith No More didn’t revolutionize the rock landscape, but for much of its tenure, its members created some of the genre’s best mainstream songs while courting radio success. Along the way, Mike Patton and crew peppered other styles into their expanding repertoire, wedging lounge sounds, incoherent squeals, and even an angelic choir into songs that ran alongside pummeling rock tunes.
There is a kitschy guilty pleasure to pre-Patton songs such as “We Care a Lot,” but respectfully, they can’t compete. So with apologies to the Chuck Mosely era, here is our list for Faith No More’s best songs.
IN ORDER OF RELEASE / TRACK LISTING:
1. “Epic” (The Real Thing)
Despite being the group’s biggest hit, “Epic” makes the cut mostly due to Jim Martin‘s — what else? — epic guitar work. Keyboardist Roddy Bottum‘s pretty piano outro is memorized by rock fans around the globe.
2. “Surprise! You’re Dead!” (The Real Thing)
One of the group’s most metal creations, “Surprise! You’re Dead!” spends 2:28 ruled by Martin’s speed picking and palm-muted riffs. Patton’s vampiric lyrics further the song’s sinister tone.
3. “Woodpecker from Mars” (The Real Thing)
Though it’s the only instrumental from The Real Thing, “Woodpecker from Mars” stands out for having some of the album’s best melodies, which come via violin keyboard sounds and through an Eastern filter. Martin’s trademark thrash metal gets heads banging.
4. “Midlife Crisis” (Angel Dust)
Faith No More’s first single from Angel Dust marked the death of its slight hair-metal tendencies and gave birth to a darker, more experimental sound. The shadowy, high-contrast, choppy aesthetics for the “Midlife Crisis” video perfectly complement the song, which is highlighted by Bottum’s ambient synth lines and Patton’s vocal overdubs.
5. “Everything’s Ruined” (Angel Dust)
“Everything’s Ruined” is a microcosm of Faith No More’s golden-era synthesis. Bottum’s beautiful minor-key melody sets the tone for Martin’s chugging and perfected solo, Patton’s operatic vocals, bassist Billy Gould‘s rhythmic thumping, and drummer Mike Bordin‘s metronome-like beat keeping.
The song’s amusing video shows the band performing in front of a blue screen, employing a “made in 15 minutes” feel that sharply contrasts the cinematic nature of the video for the next song on this list.
6. “A Small Victory” (Angel Dust)
This epic rock piece is well accompanied by the WWI imagery and slick production of its video. But the real beauty in “A Small Victory” is its ability to maintain a staunch musical direction while incorporating Eastern instruments, chimes, sirens, and an industrial-sounding guitar breakdown.
7. “Get Out” (King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime)
“Get Out” begins King for a Day… with a ferocity that matches the album’s aggressive numbers and contrasts its forays into previously uncharted waters. The intermittent, tottering riff that begins the song builds steam, and the song crescendos as Patton screams, “I don’t speak that language anymore / my blood is not that color anymore / my blood don’t shine the same way anymore / I cannot deny it anymore.”
8. “Digging the Grave” (King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime)
The first single from King for a Day… was also one of the band’s best and purest rock efforts. No keyboards here; Bottum doubles up on guitar.
9. “Just a Man” (King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime)
Patton sings his ass off in “Just a Man,” the powerful, dramatic closer to King for a Day. In addition to his many overdubs, Patton steals the show with his spoken-word breakdown, expounding:
“Man was born to love, though often he has sought / like Icarus, to fly too high / and far too lonely than he ought / to kiss the sun of east and west / and hold the world at his behest / to hold the terrible power, to whom only gods are blessed / but me, I am just a man.” If that weren’t enough, an angelic choir backs Patton as the song reaches its apex.
10. “Stripsearch” (Album of the Year)
Faith No More’s final album was packed with great moments but short on complete songs; however, this one does justice to the group’s catalog, and it has an excellent video to boot. Hinged on dreamy/ominous keyboard sounds and grooving bass lines, “Stripsearch” is an outstanding offering from Album of the Year.
“From Out of Nowhere” (The Real Thing)
“Edge of the World” (The Real Thing)
“Land of Sunshine” (Angel Dust)
“RV” (Angel Dust)
“Ricochet” (King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime)
“Evidence” (King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime)
“The Gentle Art of Making Enemies” (King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime)
“Star A.D.” (King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime)
“Cuckoo for Caca” (King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime)
“Collision” (Album of the Year)
“Naked in Front of the Computer” (Album of the Year)
“Ashes to Ashes” (Album of the Year)
Did we leave something out? You can’t believe that “We Care a Lot” didn’t make the list? Let us know below.