Album: The Real Thing

Band: Faith No More

Date: 1989

Label: Slash/Reprise



  1. From Out Of Nowhere
  2. Epic
  3. Falling To Pieces
  4. Surprise! You're Dead!
  5. Zombie Eaters
  6. The Real Thing
  7. Underwater Love
  8. The Morning After
  9. Woodpecker From Mars (instrumental)
  10. War Pigs (cover of Black Sabbath)
  11. Edge Of The World

Music this good isn't supposed to be popular.

Faith No More had been around for a while by the time The Real Thing was recorded in 1989. They were good musicians. They'd recorded some pretty good albums. Then they found Mike Patton.

Mike Patton is not a normal singer. Mike Patton is not a normal human being. He is a freak of nature, a bizarre genius whose vocal cords can produce a broader spectrum of sounds than a good synthesizer. He only used a few on this recording, but his impact on the band was still great enough to make them famous overnight.

Most reviews of The Real Thing describe it as a blend of heavy metal and hip-hop. I suppose if you're only really paying attention to the vocals, you might get that impression. Patton's voice is used here primarily for high-register singing (think Iron Maiden-style metal) and rapid-fire spitting-out of wards (rapping), though he does both far better than the average practitioner of either. Yes, The Real Thing is full of humongous metal riffs, and it's also got plenty of funk and hip-hop grooves. But it's also got jazz and samba percussion rhythms, inventive guitar and synth work to rival the best prog rock, and a wonderfully dynamic compositional style. Most of this was probably lost on the average MTV viewer, who learned of the band and the album from the constant airing of the video to Epic. It seems to be one of those extraodinarily rare records that you can naively enjoy when you're a kid and still be able to listen to with a straight face after you grow up.