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31 DAYS OF FAITH NO MORE: “UNDERWATER LOVE”

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Spurred by a lazy crossword clue in The Onion (36 down, four letters: “Faith No More’s only hit”), MetalSucks contributor Anso DF dedicates every single day in August to celebration and exploration of the San Francisco alt-metal greats. Here we prove that history’s greatest band landed more than one commercial hit (crossword answer: “Epic” natch), we revel in FNM’s embarrassing wealth of winning album tracks (themselves often fit for chart topping), and we dip into the staggering best of the b-sides (ditto). Along the way, we survey the context of FNM’s big break (amid similarly seminal acts Jane’s Addiction, Nine Inch Nails, and Ween) to the post-Nevermind, panic-based recording industry in which the brilliantly versatile, fearless powerhouse band operated until their 1998 demise. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.

Song “Underwater Love”

Written by Patton (L); Gould, Bottum (M)

Released 1989

Appears on The Real Thing album

Produced by Matt Wallace

Guitars by Jim Martin

Key lyric “It’s wonderful how the surface ripples/But you’re perfect, and I cannot breathe.”

Single? No.

The climate FNM’s breakthrough record The Real Thing is front-loaded with monster pop singles, but their cousin “Underwater Love” is a side-B oasis of sweet sunshine amid an ocean of pummeling, salty waves (like “Zombie Eaters” and “The Morning After”). Surely, “Love” could’ve followed “Falling To Pieces” out onto the singles charts and into video rotation — but didn’t. Why? Was The Real Thing exhausted commercially after three singles? It’s possible but improbable. Did the band vote against “Love” cuz it’s bright and naive? Nah, anybody can see that the jam has sharp teeth. Would “Love”‘s certain chart success condemn FNM to another round of tough touring and TV appearances? I guess, but that’d be a so-called good problem. Was it just time to settle and make way for an imminent follow-up album? That doesn’t sound right cuz Mike Patton had time to convene Mr. Bungle for their first album and promotion. Hmm. Why indeed? I better get on that.

Awesome song elevated to supra-awesomeness by that awesome last sequence of vocals. Just holy shit. It starts with a heavy variation on the verses’ last line (at 1:54), then harmony vox join for a straight chorus (2:04), and then comes the pumped-up super-chorus (2:21). Then the jam sinks gracefully into the depths. Fucking WOW!

Didja know? Sometime in 1988, Faith No More recorded a demo in Billy Gould’s basement with their then-new singer Mike Patton. It’s been reported that only a few copies of the demo were made and that one such copy surfaced in a California thrift shop in 2006 among other singular Patton items. Each demo song changed to varying degrees by the time of The Real Thing; the demo version of “Love” was more an ode to drowning your special somebody than a metaphor for harmful attractions. But anyway, click to check out rough drafts of “The Cowboy Song” (here), “Surprise! You’re Dead” (here), “Underwater Love” (here), and “Falling To Pieces” (here).

-ADF

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METALSUCKS’ 31 DAYS OF FAITH NO MORE

25 “Underwater Love”

24 “Crack Hitler” (read)

23 “Home Sick Home” (read)

22 “The Perfect Crime”!!!! (read)

21 “A Small Victory” (read)

20 “King For A Day” (read)

19 “The World Is Yours” (read)

18 “Absolute Zero” (read)

17 “Collision” (read)

Intermission “Das Schutzenfest” (read)

16 “The Last To Know” (read)

15 “The Real Thing” (read)

14 “Malpractice” (read)

13 ”Ugly In The Morning” (read)

12 “The Cowboy Song” (read)

11 “Helpless” (read)

10 “Smaller And Smaller” (read)

9 “Digging The Grave” (read)

“From Out Of Nowhere” (read)

“Last Cup Of Sorrow” (read)

6 “The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies” (read)

“Caffeine” (read)

“Falling To Pieces” (read)

“Stripsearch” (read)

2 ”Ricochet” (read)

1 ”Land Of Sunshine” (read)

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