Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Faith No More -- a music video retrospective

Because this San Fransisco band just recently announced reformation (and performed live), I decided to quickly cover Faith No More's best three videos in one quick shot. We have, of course "Epic"; and then the lesser known "Everything's Ruined" and "Last Cup of Sorrow" from their career's prime and twilight, respectively.

In 1990, Faith No More's "Epic" put them on the rock 'n roll map. The band seemed poised to overcome the "hair metal hangover" with an innovative rap-rock design--they might have been the Nirvana of the 1990s, if grunge hadn't come around (I'm not placing blame at all).

Dir: Ralph Ziman
The video is simply a sound stage performance with a rain machine, intermixed with kooky visuals and special effects. Mike Patton's head explodes, Jim Martin's guitar is struck by lightning, a piano is blown to bits... pretty cool. I am obligated to write about the fish (or Bjork's fish, whatever), that provoked outrage for its flopping footage. Silly.

Dir: Kevin Kerslake
More interesting is the video for "Everything's Ruined". It's one of those stock footage montage clips that are so common. But this one is so odd that it's worth noting. This one pits the band against the green screen, fighting and swimming with the clips. It's fun to watch them in their element.

Dir: Joseph Kahn
Even more interesting is "Last Cup of Sorrow". I saw this vid before I knew of Hitchcock's Vertigo, and I became obsessed with both. Some of the shots are almost perfect replicas of the 1958 thriller. Despite the original film's seriousness, FNM throw in some humor by adding prostitution and cross-dressing (you'll see). I had no idea Album of the Year existed when I first saw this... such an underrated record.

"Falling to Pieces" is also a decent (4th place) music video by the band. A close cousin to "Epic".

* http://www.fnm.com/discography.shtml
* http://www.mvdbase.com/artist.php?last=Faith+No+More
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertigo_%28film%29

These videos should be available (retail) via the Who Cares a Lot?: The Greatest Videos DVD.

To submit ideas for Retrospective articles, or to just chat about the obscure and esoteric, contact me here.

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