31 DAYS OF FAITH NO MORE: “UGLY IN THE MORNING”
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 music commerce 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 “Ugly In The Morning”
Written by Patton (L); Patton, Spruance, Gould (M)
Appears on King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime album
Produced by Andy Wallace
Guitars by Trey Spruance (Secret Chiefs 3, Mr. Bungle)
Key lyric ”I did it to myself again!”
Single? No. Super no.
The climate Up to King For A Day, the men of Faith No More seemed gleeful in their depiction of life as a continuous depanting (with occasional blows to vital organs); even when tone turned serious, FNM lyrics stuck to firmly outsized metaphor and to surrogates who battle inertia and cosmic forces for survival. But 1995’s King For A Day replaced tales of hapless, outmatched anti-heroes with stark, scary personal close-ups of human-sized problems. To me Faith No More is cinema, so let’s look at it this way: If pre-1995 FNM was a wide, bright, graceful crane shot capturing the many strains of earthly desperation among the walking dead, then King onward is a grainy handheld shot of a sick man, seated, staring at a clock, crying.
Awesome song elevated to supra-awesomeness by momentum, delirium, mania, and collapse. On paper, “Ugly” might read like a jokey novelty, but in FNM’s hands, the jam is a lurching tour de force that promptly loses its footing down the front steps. At its center wobbles a helpless vomiteer who awakes to a harshly-lit staredown with his own drug dementia. Fittingly, “Ugly”‘s chorus isn’t exactly melodious, but its verses/pre-choruses invert the “Epic” rhythmic-rapping-to-ringing-melodies structure to equally awesome effect. This jam is no joke.
Didja know? Dude, it looks like the place to party with King For A Day is Western Europe and the Southeastern Hemisphere, where the album camped out in the top ten for around three months (!) and six months (!!), respectively. Meanwhile in the U.S., King peaked at 31 during two months on the albums chart. Sarcastic slow clap, America.
METALSUCKS’ 31 DAYS OF FAITH NO MORE
13 “Ugly In The Morning”
12 “The Cowboy Song” (read)
11 “Helpless” (read)
10 “Smaller And Smaller” (read)
9 “Digging The Grave” (read)
8 “From Out Of Nowhere” (read)
7 “Last Cup Of Sorrow” (read)
6 “The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies” (read)
5 “Caffeine” (read)
4 “Falling To Pieces” (read)
3 “Stripsearch” (read)
2 ”Ricochet” (read)
1 ”Land Of Sunshine” (read)