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31 DAYS OF FAITH NO MORE: “A SMALL VICTORY”

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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 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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpGIXk5UloE

Song ”A Small Victory”

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

Released 1992

Appears on Angel Dust album

Produced by Matt Wallace

Guitars by Jim Martin

Key lyric ”A cracking portrait/The fondling of trophies/The null of losing/Can you afford that luxury?”

Single? Yes. Best single ever!

The climate “Midlife Crisis” broke the top 40 as Angel Dust‘s lead single, so people were paying attention to Faith No More when “A Small Victory” followed. It benefits from big momentum on Angel Dust, whose middle act it closes; by itself, “Victory” counts as one of music’s great standalone epics. No doubt about it. It cribs from the Happy Mondays, Rick James, and metal — itself a feat of dexterity — and links with a lovely recurring harmony duet for keyboard and guitar. Just a tailor-made technicolor super-single, one of those cheerful, mood-elevating songs you want to hear on the radio every day for months.

Awesome song elevated to supra-awesomeness by sweetness! This is Faith No More’s most charming, affectionate song. It lovingly romances you (two sweet verses), energetically porks you (that heavy freakout in the middle), then cuddles and tickles (the “you still won’t hear” thing).

Didja know?  FNM’s label released a second edition of the single featuring remixes by producer/Killing Joke bassist Youth. So though I don’t have any knowledge of how the single was promoted, from this two-pronged campaign we might infer that the budget was enthusiastic. If I’m right, that might show label confidence in a single with no monster hook, which to some signals limited sales potential. Then again, a huge hit that Spring was “I’m Too Sexy” so who the fuck can tell?

–ADF

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METALSUCKS’ 31 DAYS OF FAITH NO MORE

21 “A Small Victory”

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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