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King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime

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★★★★½
(112 Reviews)

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  • There are some albums you hear, where it is absolutely mindboggling to discover they weren’t a smash hit when first released. “King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime” is probably the most prominent among them.

    Faith No More remained relatively popular from the release of their “The Real Thing” album until they disbanded many years later, but they never matched the commercial success of “The Real Thing” again. Their follow up, “Angel Dust” was a bit of a flop (and it is also difficult to understand why that rocking masterpiece flopped, as most fans would consider it the superior album), and they never quite recovered, apparently.

    But this album, which came after “Angel Dust”, is their ultimate work. It is diverse, expertly crafted, and the tracks perfectly ordered to keep you entertained and amazed at the range and talent of this band (and the range and talent of Mike Patton, an unbelievable vocalist who will more than likely put any other singer you’ve ever heard to shame – even if you’re a dedicated Maynard James Keenan follower).

    The opening track is a bit of plain, ordinary (but good) rock. It’s followed by a similar-but-different grunge piece. You’re enjoying the music so far, but you haven’t really sat up and started paying attention until the third track, “Evidence”, a bit of delicious, loungy crooning that you really weren’t expecting, but is a welcome surprise.

    This album is essentially impossible to get sick of. Each track is cast from a different mould (though using the same ingedients) and ordered in such a way that you never find yourself tiring of a particular kind of music. You get comic anger and brilliant riffs on tracks like “The Gentle Art of Making Enemies”, silky-smooth music on “Caralho Voador”, and amazing vocal acrobatics on “Cuckoo for Caca”.

    The highpoint of the album is undoubtedly the title track “King For A Day”, which is possibly the cruisiest song I’ve ever heard. And it’s followed by the thumping rocker “What A Day”, just in case you were getting too relaxed.

    The closer, “Just A Man”, which features a gospel choir, is quite possibly the best closer of all time. I know you’ve heard some good closers in your time. But this one just fits so perfectly that you can’t help but appreciate the various levels of detail that this band was aware of when they put this album together.

    It is, without any doubt on my part, one of the all time, and sadly unrecognised greats.

    Posted on December 2, 2009