Faith No More – This Is It: The Best of Faith No More

I saw Faith No More live for the first time in 1990, in a little club located in downtown Oklahoma City called Kinetix. According to the fire marshals, Kinetix safely held around 500 people. I held ticket number #612. As a junior in high school I had already been to several concerts, but all of them had been stadium shows. This was my first club show, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

Faith No More rocked the damn club to the ground. At one point, Mike Patton was standing atop a high stack of speaker cabinets which were swaying back and forth; at another, Patton was swinging from the light bars that were mounted over the stage. Both incidents had security, club personnel, and road managers fighting to pull his ass down. Patton was wearing no shirt and a pair of shaggy gray shorts — that is, until some girl threw her panties on stage, at which point he put those on over his shorts for the band’s encore (“Epic”, followed by “War Pigs”.)

Bands that win me over in a live setting usually end up with a fan for life, and if the rest of the crowd felt like I did after the show, then Faith No More walked away with about seven hundred fans that night (Kinetix eventually got shut down for safety code violations). Always pushing the envelope and never content to ride the wave of their old successes, Faith No More’s latest release, This Is It: The Best Of Faith No More, lives up to it’s name.

Fans of the band will probably remember that after releasing 1997’s Album of the Year, Faith No More officially disbanded. FNM’s swan song (er, album) was to be 1998’s double-disc Who Cares A Lot? The Greatest Hits; that makes justifying 2003’s This Is It: The Best Of Faith No More a little hard to justify for big fans of the band. A lot has happened in the past five years, however.

Namely, nu-metal. I’ve never personally been able to make the connection between Faith No More and nu-metal. I guess it points back to the rapping verse/singing chorus of “Epic”, but even that seems a stretch to me. After listening to Faith No More’s The Real Thing, if all you walked away with was “hey, they rapped in that one song,” then you missed the point entirely. From the witty “Zombie Eaters” to the complex “Woodpecker from Mars, from the wistful “Falling to Pieces” to the loyal “War Pigs”, Epic had it all.

This Is It: The Best Of Faith No More spans 12 years and pulls 19 tracks from all seven of the band’s official releases (that number includes the two albums prior to Mike Patton’s arrival and one live album), plus a couple of tracks from the band’s maxi-singles and one from a soundtrack.

You’ll notice the CD’s title doesn’t have words like “rarities”, “obscure” or “unreleased hits” in it. The tracks presented here are basically a chronological history of the band’s videos and singles, which is ultimately the biggest drawback to the disc. Since there’s nothing new here, fans of the band already have all these songs. Half of the tracks here appear on FNM’s last release, Who Cares A Lot? The Greatest Hits. The disc does contain liner notes from the band and an introduction by Metal Edge editor Paul Gargano. Nice additions, not a reason to buy.

However, this CD is a great introduction to the band. The fact that they mention “Linkin Park cites Faith No More as a key influence” in the promo material proves that this CD is being used to introduce Faith No More to a new generation of kids. And for that reason alone, it’s a great collection. If you can’t hum at least half of the tracks listed at the bottom of this review, then by all means pick this disc up immediately.

Bottom line: A chronological romp through one of the most underrated bands of all time. People unfamiliar with the band or just discovering Faith No More should pick this up; old fans will yawn at the set list.

01. Arabian Disco
02. We Care A Lot (Slash Version)
03. Anne’s Song
04. Introduce Yourself
05. From Out Of Nowhere
06. Epic
07. Falling To Pieces
08. War Pigs
09. The Cowboy Song
10. As The Worm Turns (Live 1990)
11. Midlife Crisis
12. A Small Victory
13. Be Aggressive
14. Easy
15. Digging The Grave
16. Evidence
17. Last Cup Of Sorrow
18. Ashes To Ashes
19. The Perfect Crime

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