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31 DAYS OF FAITH NO MORE: “EPIC” “EPIC” “EPIC”

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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 “Epic”

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

Released 1989

Appears on The Real Thing album

Produced by Matt Wallace

Guitars by Jim Martin

Key lyric “It’s in your face but you can’t grab it.”

Single? FUCKIN A!

The climate At my school, the metal guys were the first to love “Epic.” It signaled exciting new weirdness for us, but then bam! the jam was everywhere. MTV! Radio! SNL!! We hated sharing back then, but I was happy for FNM. Those weirdos really aced one! “Epic” was all-pervasive. I have a distinct memory from that summer of a carnival ride operator singing its chorus lewdly to my newly 15-year old sister. You know you’re big when pervert carnies are rocking your song.

Awesome song elevated to supra-awesomeness by awesomeness. People I know have pointed out that “Epic” has precedents in single history. They say it’s related to “Walk This Way” and “One Night In Bangkok” (and sometimes “Ana Ng”) — songs whose appeal is their rhythmic verses/big hooks style. I could agree with that, but I think more about how “Epic” belongs to this other family of hit singles: Like “Baker Street” and “(Nothing But) Flowers,” FNM’s top-ten hit has a long, awesome instrumental passage. NIN’s “Closer” doesn’t have a guitar suite, but same deal. When a song like these gets huge, you know its creators are pros who can rock and write. Respect the epic hit single.

Didja know? In 1989, “Epic” went gold and reached #9 in 21 weeks on the Top 100. Which is more like triple platinum and 21 months at #1 for a absurdist metal-rap freakout odyssey. I mean, just look at its neighbors on the charts and you’ll see 100% spineless pap for moms and fatties no offense srs. It is what it is. Consider what those acts did to get to the top ten; their singers exhort us to sex them and tell us we’re loved and that we’re all rebel outlaws. Those songs are built on momentum, all rushing along so the listener might not recognize their wackness. I’m not hating. I like the Nelson jam. Anyway the point is that “Epic” was huge but it doesn’t do anything the cheap, easy way. Its lyrics don’t compliment and comfort us; it asks us a question, offers a profound non-answer, then steps away while we think it over. Respect “Epic,” Faith No More’s only big hit!

-ADF

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METALSUCKS’ 31 DAYS OF FAITH NO MORE

27 “Epic” “Epic” “Epic”

26 “Everything’s Ruined” (read)

25 “Underwater Love” (read)

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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