Faith No More – The Real Thing: #457 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Faith No More - The Real Thing

So why is Faith No More’s The Real Thing on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

The Real Thing has very Early High School Years Energy for me.

It never ceases to amaze me how the brain or body or whatever is hardwired to catalog music that way. When I listened to “Epic” for the first time in many years, I didn’t think, “I bet this song is totally going to not just remind me of my freshman year of high school in Commack, New York, but is going to make me feel like I felt when I was a freshman in high school in Commack, New York.”

But it did make me feel that way.

Revisiting The Real Thing also made me realize that Faith No More sounds like a potent blend of a bunch of super unique-sounding bands in their own right, ranging from Red Hot Chili Peppers (I got strong late ‘80s Chilis vibes for sure) to the avant-garde funk metal leanings of Primus to the genre gumbo exuberance of Fishbone, with even a dusting of Rage Against the Machine and what would eventually be called rap metal (or the much disparaged “nu metal” sound).

Finally, in taking in The Real Thing as a whole, I enjoyed and respected it way more than I expected (and indeed it eventually landed at the #457 of best 1,000 albums ever slot).

For starters, the first three songs are just incredible. Let’s start with “Epic,” which I would suspect is by far the band’s best known song. If “Epic” simply featured the Chili Pepper-y funk/metal verses or the operatic power ballad mode of its chorus or its truly tasty metal riff breaks, it would still be really good. But the fact that it meshes those sounds and modes into one song creates a dazzling – and dare I say epic – whole. And it all works thanks to Mike Patton’s (formerly of Mr. Bungle) weirdo charismatic front man intensity.

“Falling to Pieces” shows off the band’s ability to craft a much more melodic funk/metal/pop mixture, the result of which is most pleasing. Patton might not be the best rapper in the world (to say the least), but that’s a small quibble and thankfully that’s a relatively small portion of this song.

“From Out of Nowhere” has an unusual, nearly new wave vibe mixed in with Faith No More’s core metal sensibilities. Over and over, The Real Thing surprises me with how rangy and eclectic it is.

“Surprise! You’re Dead!” proves that the band can thrive when going for straight metal thrash, while “War Pigs” is a nice homage to Black Sabbath.

Some stats & info about Faith No More – The Real Thing

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Alternative Metal, Metal, Funky Metal, SF Bay Area Bands
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was The Real Thing released? 1989
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #457 out of 1,000

Faith No More’s The Real Thing on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from Faith No More’s The Real Thing that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

You want it all, but you can’t have it.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.