Album of the Year (Faith No More album)

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Album of the Year
Fnm aoty.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 3, 1997
Recorded1996–1997
StudioBrilliant Studios and Razor's Edge Recording, San Francisco, California
GenreAlternative metal[1][2]
Length43:04
Label
Producer
Faith No More chronology
King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime
(1995)
Album of the Year
(1997)
Sol Invictus
(2015)
Singles from Album of the Year
  1. "Ashes to Ashes"
    Released: May 19, 1997
  2. "Last Cup of Sorrow"
    Released: August 5, 1997
  3. "Stripsearch"
    Released: November 11, 1997

Album of the Year is the sixth studio album by American rock band Faith No More, released on June 3, 1997 by Slash and Reprise Records. It is the first album to feature the band's current guitarist Jon Hudson, and was their last studio album before their eleven-year hiatus from 1998 to 2009. The album has been described by Allmusic as being "more straightforward musically than past releases."[1] It spawned three singles: "Ashes to Ashes", "Last Cup of Sorrow", and "Stripsearch".

Background[edit]

Recording[edit]

Album of the Year guitarist Jon Hudson joined the band in 1996, after the departure of Dean Menta. Regarding Menta, Billy Gould said, "We didn't fire Dean because he was an asshole, we didn't fire Dean because of anything, it was just because we couldn't write. And he had already written songs but it wasn't working. He toured fine."[3]

In a 1997 interview with SFGate, Gould reflected on the making of the album, saying, "Very rarely were we all in the same city at the same time. If we were lucky, there'd be a three-week window, and then we'd practice as much as we could and record at the end of the period."[4] Roddy Bottum similarly recalled that "everybody's schedule was hectic. And so it was a situation of making the record around people's other projects."[5]

When early demo work on Album of the Year was beginning between Mike Bordin, Bottum, Gould and Menta, Mike Patton was still performing with Mr. Bungle, who were in the midst of their Disco Volante run of shows.[4] Bottum stated in a June 1997 interview with Australian paper The Herald Sun that "We decided we'd just write a bunch of songs and keep the songwriting as simple as possible and just go into the studio and record as quickly as possible. That was the way we used to write stuff when we started the band, just really simple repetitive riffs without a whole lot of thought. And Mike came back from his tour with Mr. Bungle, and he only liked about half of the songs, and only felt like he could sing on about half of the songs."[6]

Following this round of demo work and the firing of Menta, the members pursued other projects, leaving the band on the verge of splitting (because of this, Album of the Year has since been labelled as a "miracle baby").[7] Gould said after Menta's firing "the momentum just shut down and everybody went off and started doing their side stuff."[5] Bottum went out on tour to support the debut album of his Imperial Teen side project, Bordin left to tour with Black Sabbath for six months, and Mike Patton flew to Italy to be with his wife Cristina Zuccatosta, who he had married in 1994.[6] Gould himself spent a few months travelling Europe. While in Albania, he came up with the song "Mouth to Mouth", which was inspired by the "loud arabic music" he heard on the streets there.[8] Gould then returned to San Francisco to focus on the album with Hudson, who entered Faith No More during this period of inactivity between the collective group.[6][8][5]

The early writing sessions with Hudson yielded 12 songs, including "Ashes to Ashes" and "Paths of Glory". Gould sent a tape of "Ashes to Ashes" to Patton in Italy, so he could add lyrics to it.[5] 8 of these new songs written with Hudson were not included on the final album, due to being too "poppy".[5]

During early 1997, all five members reconvened in San Francisco with producer Roli Mosimann. Bottum reflects "We did the record in parts, more than as a whole. Then at the end of the process, or near the end, we got together."[9] Patton had written new songs while away in Italy with his wife, such as "Home Sick Home".[6]

Mosimann encouraged the band to utilize computer-based recording/editing software Pro Tools, something they had previously never done before. Gould stated, "he said there were some things that he'd like to change in Pro Tools. A good example of Roli's editing was the song 'Mouth to Mouth.' It wasn't sounding right to us at all. It was almost a throwaway song. But Roli really liked that one, so he ended up taking the [acoustic] drums in the choruses and moving them to the verses in Pro Tools. It gave the song a whole new life."[10]

Once recording was completed, the individual members spent time preparing for the upcoming tour in support of the album.[4] The impending Album of the Year tour would end up sidetracking a covers album Mike Patton had planned on doing with Mr. Bungle.[11]

The album's music displayed a more melancholic sound overall compared to previous releases. Gould said at the time, "it just turned out to be that way that the new material is more melodic, slower and more atmospheric. It was important for me that the album has a general mood that can be found in all songs and that it doesn't go in too many directions like we did in the past."[12] Patton commented, "It's got more feelings and balance than our previous albums. Possibly it's darker too."[8] Shortly before Album of the Year was released, San Francisco paper East Bay Times claimed it was "by and large, a heavy metal album."[13]

Songs[edit]

"Naked in Front of the Computer" is one of the few songs in the Faith No More catalogue written solely by Mike Patton. When asked about the song's meaning, Billy Gould replied:

Actually, this song is about email. Patton is kind of obsessed with the idea of how people can communicate and have relationships over the computer without talking or ever meeting. So this is an extreme version of that concept. Funny thing is...the image of someone sitting naked in front of a computer might not have made sense to people a few years ago, but now everybody knows what it means. It's become part of our culture.

— Billy Gould, [5]

"She Loves Me Not" is the eighth song on the album. The song itself seems to draw its influence from lounge music. It was to be the fourth single off the album, but the band ended before this could be accomplished. It has also never been played live. Despite this, it made an appearance on Faith No More's 2006 greatest hits compilation The Platinum Collection. When asked about the song, Billy Gould replied:

This song almost didn't make it on the record. We almost didn't even record vocals for it because it's so different from all of the other songs. I wrote this song, and I was almost embarrassed to play it for anybody in the band because it's so soft – but at the same time it's a good song. It's like a Boyz II Men song or something. I didn't play it for anybody for, like, a half a year, and then finally I played it for Puffy. He thought we should give it a try, so I gave it to Patton, and he said, 'I wrote words, but they're pretty over-the-top.' But we went forward with it, and he really sang his ass off.

— Billy Gould, [5]

"Pristina" is a song written about the then ongoing conflicts in the Balkans,[1] with it being the final track of the band's career for nearly two decades. Artistdirect state it "stands out as arguably the most beautiful song in Faith No More's catalog."[14] The song was inspired by a trip Gould made to the Balkans, following a 1995 German tour with Faith No More. When interviewed by Serbian Times, he reminisced, "at that time no one in America knew what was happening there, American press didn’t write about that [...] That place left a deep impression on me."[15]

There are multiple references to cinema throughout Album of the Year. The track "Paths of Glory" is named after the 1957 film of the same name, while "Helpless" contains the line "I even tried to get arrested today", which is taken from the 1965 film The Slender Thread. "Helpless" also utilizes organ-like sounds in the verses. Despite this, no real organs were used on the song; the sounds were instead created via a patch on Bottum's Roland JV-1080 synthesizer.[5] There are whistling effects towards the end of the song. When it was performed live for the first time in October 1997, the whistling was replaced by backing vocals.

The opening track "Collision" was ranked by Louder Sound as the fifth heaviest Faith No More song.[16] It features low, harsh synths that almost mimick a bass. Gould says, "a lot of the really cool sounds in this song that sound like guitar are actually keyboard string sounds running through a Tech 21 SansAmp. You can really mangle keyboard sounds with a SansAmp; you can get some amazing dark, ugly textures."[5]

"The Big Kahuna" and "Light Up & Let Go" were originally intended to appear on the album,[17] although they ended up appearing as b-sides and as bonus tracks for the Japanese edition. According to Mike Patton, "The Big Kahuna" was cut from the final track listing since it didn't fit in with the rest of the album.[18] He also claimed the song's title was not a reference to the Big Kahuna restaurant from Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction.[18]

The band recorded approximately two dozen songs during the Album of the Year sessions.[19] However, almost no unreleased material from the sessions has ever surfaced. Patton said, "we did about 7 or 8 songs that won't appear on the album. I don't know if they will ever appear somewhere. It's like cookin' coffee...you have to throw it away when it's kinda bitter. The main problem all of the time was: are the songs good enough for the album or should we write some more. it's difficult to find the right balance. First we had too many commercial songs, then there were too many heavy songs."[20] The only unreleased outtake to have emerged is the song "Instrumental", which appeared on the 1998 compilation Who Cares a Lot?. It has often been mislabelled as being from the 1994–95 King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime era sessions, and was even included on the 2016 deluxe edition for that album.

Artwork and title[edit]

Czechoslovakian president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (pictured in 1918) is featured on the cover.

The photograph on the front cover depicts Czechoslovakia's first president, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, who is also regarded as the country's founding father.

The album jacket depicts the funeral of Masaryk, with the words "pravda vítězí" (truth prevails), the motto of the Czech Republic, adorning his coffin.

The artwork was reflected with the band frequently wearing suits during their tour in support of the album, a trend that carried over to their 2009 reunion tour.

While the album sleeve did not feature printed lyrics, Mike Patton and Billy Gould did submit official lyrics to fnm.com,[21] which was a fan controlled site prior to the band's reformation in 2009.[22]

Regarding the title Album of the Year, Bottum said in a June 14, 1997 interview with MTV Europe that "It just seemed right. We've been away for a while. Coming back with a bang or a scream seemed to be effective to us, and a little bit funny."[23] In the same interview, Patton elaborated "I think if you can't see the humor in that, then you've got a problem."[23]

Touring[edit]

As with previous albums, it was supported by a large scale tour that covered various countries, lasting from April 22, 1997, to April 7, 1998.[24] When the album was released in mid-1997, Mike Bordin was called in to perform with Ozzy Osbourne for that year's edition of Ozzfest, which ran from May 24 to July 1.[25] This resulted in Robin Guy (of the band Rachel Stamp) filling in on drums for Bordin during a UK Top of the Pops performance on May 30, as well as an absence of any Faith No More shows during the month of June. Shortly after he returned from Ozzfest, the band had to cancel four July dates in Europe, so Bordin could attend the birth of his first daughter in San Francisco.[26]

The Album of the Year tour is notable for featuring Limp Bizkit, a nu metal/rap metal band greatly influenced by Faith No More, as an opener for several 1997 US dates. They were frequently booed by Faith No More's fans, including during a September 1997 concert at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, where the crowd booed them off stage.[27] In a 2013 interview, Roddy Bottum reflected on the shows with Limp Bizkit, recalling "I fought it at the time. I had to really push to get a couple bands that I liked to get on the bill in Portland and Seattle on that leg. I had no interest in the sound of Limp Bizkit. It was not how I wanted to be represented at all. Not to be snotty at all, but that guy Fred Durst had a really bad attitude. He was kind of a jerk."[28] Bottum also remembered an incident where Durst "called the audience faggots at one show when they booed him."[28] Durst apologized to him after this show, as he did not know that Bottum had come out as gay in the early 90s.[29] Limp Bizkit's guitarist Wes Borland later claimed that his band were excited about the prospect of getting to tour with Faith No More, stating "the idea of it was cool [but] once we got there, it was a really tough crowd. They have a really tough crowd to please, who are very vocal about not liking you. We opened for Faith No More and Primus in the same year, and the Primus tour went a lot better than the Faith No More tour."[30] Borland added that he did not get to know Mike Patton personally until several years later.[30]

During the Album of the Year tour, they would cover the Aqua song "Barbie Girl",[31] "Highway Star" by Deep Purple, Will Smith's "Men in Black", Herb Alpert's "This Guy's in Love with You" and the R. Kelly songs "I Believe I Can Fly" and "Gotham City". An intro tape was used at the beginning of shows, which contained "Also sprach Zarathustra", followed by an Elvis-style fanfare clip announcing Faith No More as being from Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.[24] The band's setlists for the tour mainly consisted of their 1990s material, with songs from Introduce Yourself and The Real Thing being played less frequently than before.[24] However, the track "As the Worm Turns" (from 1985's We Care a Lot) began to appear more often this tour,[24] having been mostly absent throughout the 1995 King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime tour.[24] All songs from Album of the Year were played during the tour, with the sole exception of "She Loves Me Not", which still remains one of the only studio album songs Faith No More has never performed live.[24] The two b-sides "The Big Kahuna" and "Light Up & Let Go" were also not played, and have remained unperformed to this day.[24] "Helpless" was only performed a single time on the tour, during the October 26, 1997 show at Festival Hall in Melbourne, Australia.[24]

On the European legs, Faith No More performed in Croatia and Luxembourg, two countries they had never previously visited.[32]

Concert dates[edit]

Early European shows[edit]

Date City Country Venue Other Performers
April 22, 1997
(First show since September 1995, and first show with Jon Hudson)
London England Hippodrome
April 28, 1997 Stockholm Sweden Electric Garden
April 30, 1997 Amsterdam Netherlands Paradiso
May 3, 1997 Paris France Élysée Montmartre Treponem Pal
May 4, 1997 Colgone Germany Bürgerhaus Stollwerck
May 5, 1997 Berlin Germany SO 36
May 6, 1997 Hamburg Germany Markthalle Bad Sin
May 8, 1997 Paris France Nulle Part Ailleurs
May 12, 1997 Glasgow Scotland Arches
May 13, 1997 Nottingham England Rock City
May 13, 1997 London England Astoria A
May 16, 1997 London England TFI Friday
May 30, 1997
(With Robin Guy of Rachel Stamp on drums)
London England BBC Top of the Pops Spice Girls
Album of the Year is released around the world in June 1997

July '97 Florida shows[edit]

Date City Country Venue Other Performers
July 4, 1997 Tampa United States Pinellas County Fairgrounds Our Lady Peace, Mighty Joe Plum, Sugartooth, Cool for August, Creed, Naked
July 5, 1997 Sunrise United States Markham Park Better Than Ezra, The Nixons, Orbit, Muse

First European leg[edit]

Date City Country Venue Other Performers
July 10, 1997
(Cancelled due to the birth of Mike Bordin's daughter)
Naples Italy Open Air at the Sea
July 11, 1997
(Cancelled due to the birth of Mike Bordin's daughter)
Venice Italy Beach Bum Rock Festival
July 12, 1997
(Cancelled due to the birth of Mike Bordin's daughter)
Frauenfeld Switzerland Out in the Green Festival
July 13, 1997
(Cancelled due to the birth of Mike Bordin's daughter)
Wels Austria Festival
July 15, 1997 Katowice Poland Spodek Sporthall Flapjack
July 17, 1997 Prague Czech Republic Sky Club Brumlovka Satisfucktion
July 19, 1997 Zeebrugge Belgium Beach Rock Festival Simple Minds, Wet Wet Wet, Neneh Cherry, Mark Owen, Shaggy
July 20, 1997 Stratford Upon Avon England Phoenix Festival David Bowie, Billy Bragg, Catatonia, Apollo 440
July 23, 1997 Copenhagen Denmark Vega
July 24, 1997 Oslo Norway Rockefeller
July 26, 1997 Stockholm Sweden Lollipop Festival
July 28, 1997 Helsinki Finland Kulttuuritalo
August 14, 1997
(Cancelled)
Cunlhat France Free-Wheels Festival
August 16, 1997 Cologne Germany Bizarre Festival Silverchair, Fettes Brot, Marilyn Manson, Rollins Band, Bush, Skunk Anansie, Atari Teenage Riot, Catherine, Das Auge Gottes, Deine Lakaien, Descendents, Pist.On, Sans Secours
August 17, 1997 Budapest Hungary Pepsi-sziget fesztivál Tankcsapda, New Model Army, Ladánybene 27
August 19, 1997 Haifa Israel City Hall
August 20, 1997 Tel-Aviv Israel Cinerama
August 22, 1997 Trutnov Czech Republic Trutnov Open Air Festival
August 22, 1997 Dronten Netherlands Lowlands Festival Foo Fighters, Life of Agony, Heideroosjes, Rowwen Hèze, Skunk Anansie, Rammstein, Blur, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Pigmeat, Millencolin, Pennywise, I Against I
August 24, 1997 Luxembourg Luxembourg Den Atelier
August 26, 1997 Utrecht Netherlands Tivoli
August 27, 1997 Rotterdam Netherlands Night Town
August 29, 1997 Strasbour France La Laiterie
August 30, 1997 Konstanz Germany Rock Am See Festival
August 31, 1997 Bologna Italy Arena Parco Nord Eels

North American leg[edit]

Date City Country Venue Other Performers
September 5, 1997 Tinley Park, IL United States New World Music Theatre Veruca Salt, Silverchair, Seven Mary Three, Megadeth, Local H, Limp Bizkit, Helmet, Gravity Kills, Days of the New, Cracker
September 7, 1997 Tulsa United States Mohawk Park Helmet, Sugar Ray, Reel Big Fish, Our Lady Peace, Smash Mouth, Caroline's Spine, Outhouse, Artificial Joy Club, Groove Pilots
September 9, 1997 St. Louis United States Mississippi Nights Limp Bizkit
September 10, 1997 Columbus United States Newport Music Hall Limp Bizkit
September 11, 1997 Cincinnati United States Bogart's Limp Bizkit
September 12, 1997 Atlanta United States Masquerade Limp Bizkit
September 13, 1997 Charlotte United States Blockbuster Pavilion Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Blues Traveler, Primus, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Soul Coughing
September 14, 1997 Virginia Beach United States Virginia Beach Amphitheatre Seven Mary Three, The Nixons, Corrosion of Conformity, Jimmie's Chicken Shack
September 16, 1997 Washington United States 9:30 Club Limp Bizkit
September 17, 1997 Sea Bright, NJ United States The Tradewinds Limp Bizkit
September 18, 1997 Providence United States Strand Theatre Limp Bizkit
September 19, 1997 New York United States Roseland Ballroom Limp Bizkit
September 20, 1997 Philadelphia United States Electric Factory Limp Bizkit
September 21, 1997 Worcester United States Green Hill Park Limp Bizkit, Godsmack, Sector 98, Fjlex
September 22, 1997
(Rumored; not officially confirmed)
Rochester United States Waterstreet Music Hall Limp Bizkit
September 23, 1997 Cleveland United States Agora Theatre Limp Bizkit
September 24, 1997 Detroit United States St. Andrews Hall Limp Bizkit
September 25, 1997 Milwaukee United States Modjeska Theatre Limp Bizkit
September 26, 1997 Bonner Springs United States Sandstone Amphitheatre Pantera, Machine Head, Limp Bizkit, Coal Chamber
September 27, 1997 Dallas United States Deep Ellum Live Limp Bizkit
September 28, 1997 New Orleans United States Marconi Meadows Foo Fighters, Fiona Apple, Better Than Ezra, Candlebox, Cowboy Mouth, Limp Bizkit, Reel Big Fish
October 1, 1997 Denver United States Odgen Theatre Limp Bizkit
October 2, 1997 Salt Lake City United States Brick's Limp Bizkit
October 3, 1997 Las Vegas United States Huntridge Theatre Limp Bizkit
October 4, 1997 Phoenix United States Celebrity Theater Limp Bizkit
October 5, 1997 Los Angeles United States Palace Limp Bizkit
October 6, 1997 San Francisco United States The Warfield lowercase
October 8, 1997 Portland United States La Luna lowercase
October 10, 1997 Vancouver Canada Rage lowercase
October 11, 1997 Seattle United States Moore Theatre

Australia/New Zealand leg[edit]

Date City Country Venue Other Performers
October 16, 1997 Wellington New Zealand Queens Wharf
October 17, 1997 Auckland New Zealand North Shore Events Centre Go Ask Alice
October 20, 1997 Sydney Australia Hordern Pavillion Shihad
October 21, 1997 Sydney Australia Hordern Pavillion Shihad
October 23, 1997 Newcastle Australia Workers Club
October 24, 1997 Brisbane Australia Brisbane Entertainment Centre
October 26, 1997 Melbourne Australia Festival Hall Shihad
October 27, 1997 Melbourne Australia Festival Hall Shihad
October 29, 1997 Adelaide Australia Adelaide Entertainment Centre
November 1, 1997 Perth Australia Perth Entertainment Centre Shihad

Japanese leg[edit]

Date City Country Venue Other Performers
November 5, 1997 Nagoya Japan Club Quattro
November 6, 1997 Osaka Japan Sinsaibashi
November 7, 1997 Tokyo Japan Shibuya On Air East
November 8, 1997 Tokyo Japan Shibuya On Air East

Second European leg[edit]

Date City Country Venue Other Performers
November 11, 1997 Hamburg Germany Grosse Freiheit
November 12, 1997 Berlin Germany Huxley's Neue Welt
November 13, 1997 Ludwigsburg Germany Forum Am Schlosspark
November 14, 1997 Sursee Germany Stadthalle
November 15, 1997 Geneva Switzerland Vernier sur Rock
November 17, 1997 Munich Germany Colosseum Radish
November 18, 1997 Vienna Austria Libro Music Hall
November 19, 1997 Ljubljana Slovenia Hala Tivoli Odpisani, Psycho-Path
November 20, 1997 Zagreb Croatia Dom Sportova
November 21, 1997 Milan Italy Palalido Radish
November 23, 1997 Moscow Russia Lushniki Tequilajazzz, Green Gray, Naive
November 25, 1997 Offenbach am Main Germany Stadthalle Offenbach Eskimos and Egypt, Radish
November 26, 1997 Düsseldorf Germany Stahlwerk
November 27, 1997 Hannover Germany Music Hall Eskimos and Egypt, Radish
November 29, 1997 London England Brixton Academy Radish
November 30, 1997 Cambridge England Corn Exchange
December 1, 1997 Wolverhampton England Civic Hall
December 3, 1997 Manchester England Manchester Academy Radish
December 4, 1997 Nottingham England Rock City Radish
December 5, 1997 London England TFI Friday
December 5, 1997 Glasgow Scotland Barrowlands
December 6, 1997 Innsbruck Austria MTV Air & Style Event
December 8, 1997 Lyon France Transbordeur
December 9, 1997 Paris France Canal + Studios
December 9, 1997 Paris France Le Bataclan Radish
December 10, 1997 Lille France L'Aéronef Radish

Late European shows[edit]

Date City Country Venue Other Performers
April 4, 1998 Granada Spain Festival Esparrago Rock
April 6, 1998 Oporto Portugal Coliseu do Porto
April 7, 1998 Lisbon Portugal Coliseu dos Recreios
Faith No More officially announce their breakup on April 20, 1998
July 1, 1998
(Cancelled due to breakup)
Kristiansand Norway Quart Festival
July, 1998
(Cancelled due to breakup)
Ringe Denmark Midtfyns Festival
July 9, 1998
(Cancelled due to breakup)
Cologne Germany Sporthalle Aerosmith

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Entertainment WeeklyB[33]
Pitchfork2.4/10[34]
Rolling Stone1.5/5 stars [35]
Spin3.5/5 stars[36]
Fast Forward Weekly1/5 stars[37]

Initially Album of the Year was met with some lukewarm to negative responses from critics in North America, with the Rolling Stone magazine rating the album one-and-a-half stars out of five and commenting that the band "...are floundering around desperately, groping for a sense of identity and direction in a decade that clearly finds them irrelevant".[35] Pitchfork gave the album a similarly negative review, stating, "Album Of The Year leaves one feeling like waking up and finding last night's used condom -- sure, the ride was fun while it lasted, but what remains is just plain icky. And you definitely don't want it in your CD player."[34]

Canadian publication Fast Forward Weekly awarded it only one out of five stars in their issue for the week of June 12–June 18 1997. The review states, "Sure, mixing metal pomp, punk attitude and white boy funk/rap may have seemed like a fresh idea at the time, but things have (thankfully) changed. It just doesn't seem like FNM's tired grind of big riffs and Patton's operatic yowling could have much impact on your average suburban spaz when groups like Rage Against the Machine, although equally annoying (and admittedly the direct progeny of FNM), at least deliver on the pre-teen adrenaline rush. Ultimately, Faith No More was simply one of those transitional bands that happened to be around when rock culture produced one of its generation shifts. Fine. Thank you for contributing. But, please go away now and bore no more."[37] Joshua Sindell of Phoenix New Times wrote, "The usual intense concentration placed on the work has been leached away by side projects, such as Bottum's Imperial Teen and Patton's Mr. Bungle; even Bordin has spent most of the past couple of years touring with Ozzy Osbourne's band. Revealingly, AOTY clocks in at roughly a tidy 43 minutes, resulting in FNM's shortest CD in a decade."[38] He concluded his review by proclaiming that Faith No More should "call it a day."[38]

A less negative North American review came from MTVs Tom Phalen, he remarked that "This is a very listenable collection, and Faith No More deserves to be more than a one-hit wonder."[39] His review also observed "[It's] clear that the success of new head-pounding youngsters like Korn and Rage Against the Machine hasn't been lost on FNM - 'Naked In Front of the Computer' angrily rails its fists against The Man and his devices."[39]

The San Francisco Chronicle likewise had a positive take on the record, claiming "it has balance, poise, aggression and potential hits. Mike Patton's vocal work is outstanding, with genuine singing emerging from his more guttural bursts. Also, the welcome return of a more involved Bottum restores the full dimension of the band's sound."[40] The review goes on to state, "Faith No More's trademarks appear subtly all over Album of the Year: the little melodic flutter during the opening spaces of 'Stripsearch', the dramatic keyboard platforms in the first single, 'Ashes to Ashes', and the cheesiness of the smooth, soulful 'She Loves Me Not'. The band also returns to the bitter aggression of some of its previous material [and] even manage a severely twisted late-night cocktail of a song, 'Home Sick Home'. After Album of the Year, it would be nothing short of criminal if the band decided to call it quits."[40] British publication NME labelled it as a "slamdunk return to form" in a June 1997 issue.[41] Shaun Carney of Australian paper The Age considered it an improvement over King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime, writing, "Album of the Year is no great departure for this veteran San Francisco outfit, but it is more genuine than its ostentatious predecessor, King for a Day, and consequently more durable."[42] Jerry Ewing of Vox magazine held the same view. He wrote in June 1997, "the traits that propelled them to the forefront of the alternative metal scene in the early 90s, traits that were sadly lacking in 95's abrasive and unfriendly King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime, have returned."[2]

Legacy[edit]

The album developed praise from the wider music community following the band's initial break-up in April 1998. In his retrospective review, Greg Prato of AllMusic gave the album a rating of four stars out of five and described it as being "a fitting way for one of alt-rock's most influential and important bands to end its career."[1] The linear notes for the 2003 compilation This Is It: The Best of Faith No More assert: "If Angel Dust put an exclamation point on Faith No More's trademark sound, the release of their 1997 coda, Album of the Year, planted the ellipses at the end of a career that was as charismatic and riveting as it was jarring."[43] Stereogum referred to it as "a great album" in 2015, and pointed out there was a deeper level of maturity. They wrote "Album of the Year sounds 'mature', a blasphemous term for a band of self-professed oddballs who had a reputation as crass and scatological pranksters [...] All the humor on Album of the Year, right down to its title, feels a bit crestfallen and self-deprecating, as if the band had aged a decade since King for a Day."[44] In the PopMatters review for the 2016 deluxe edition, it is noted the album "was generally maligned as a disappointing swan song for Faith No More when it came out in 1997" and that "revisiting Album of the Year today is a more forgiving experience."[45] In 2020, Louder Sound wrote "Album of the Year is an impressively cinematic album, full of widescreen, panoramic choruses – and Patton’s smooth-as-satin vocals have never sounded more handsome. If you don’t already own any of this band’s music, though, this is not essential listening."[46]

System of a Down drummer John Dolmayan listed it as an album that changed his life for a 2020 Metal Hammer feature on ten life changing albums.[47] Singer Mike Patton criticized this era of Faith No More in late 90s and early 2000s interviews, with comments such as "[We split] Because we were starting to make bad music. And that's when you need to pull the plug. Our next record would have been a piece of shit."[48]

Commercial[edit]

As of 2015, the album had sold 221,000 copies in the U.S.[49] This nearly matched the total for King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime but was a significantly lower figure than that of the other two albums featuring Mike Patton on vocals. On other charts, it fared much better. In Australia, it topped the ARIA charts on June 28, 1997, before being overtaken by Savage Garden's self-titled album on July 4, 1997.[50] It went Platinum in the country for sales of more than 70,000 copies.[51] It also peaked at #1 in New Zealand. The album only had slight impact in the UK charts but it did go Gold for sales of more than 100,000 copies. Album Of The Year has currently sold just over one million albums worldwide.

Release history[edit]

Date Region Format Label [52]
June 3, 1997 United States CD Slash/Reprise
June 3, 1997 Canada CD Slash/Reprise
June 6, 1997 Japan CD w/ 2 bonus tracks Slash/London
June 9, 1997 Europe CD w/ 6 bonus tracks Slash/London
June 9, 1997 UK 2xCD Slash/London
June 9, 1997 Germany 2xCD Slash/London
June 9, 1997 Netherlands 2xCD Slash/London
June 19, 1997 Australia 2xCD Polydor/Slash/London
1999 Europe CD Slash/London
2003 Europe CD Warner Bros./Slash
August 23, 2013 Europe Vinyl Music On Vinyl/Slash
September 9, 2016 Worldwide 2xCD/Vinyl Slash/Rhino

Initial pressings of the Australian, UK, German and Dutch versions of the album included a bonus remix disc.

It was reissued on CD across Europe in 1999, and then again in 2003 by Warner Bros. Records.

Album of the Year would be the second album in the band's discography to be re-released by Dutch music label Music On Vinyl after Angel Dust.[53] Released on August 26, 2013, the album had a limited pressing run of 2000 hand numbered copies on gold vinyl, as well as on black vinyl which remains available in some retailers.

Album of the Year was released as a deluxe edition on 2016 with two discs; the second disc contains eight bonus tracks.[54]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics are written by Mike Patton.

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Collision"Jon Hudson, Mike Patton3:24
2."Stripsearch"Mike Bordin, Hudson, Billy Gould4:29
3."Last Cup of Sorrow"Gould, Patton4:12
4."Naked in Front of the Computer"Patton2:08
5."Helpless"Bordin, Patton, Gould5:26
6."Mouth to Mouth"Bordin, Patton, Hudson, Gould3:48
7."Ashes to Ashes"Bordin, Patton, Hudson, Gould, Roddy Bottum3:37
8."She Loves Me Not"Bordin, Gould, Patton3:29
9."Got That Feeling"Patton2:20
10."Paths of Glory"Bordin, Patton, Hudson, Gould, Bottum4:17
11."Home Sick Home"Patton1:59
12."Pristina"Gould, Patton3:51
Bonus tracks
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
13."The Big Kahuna" (Japanese or limited Edition bonus track)Bordin, Patton, Hudson, Gould3:07
14."Light Up & Let Go" (Japanese or limited Edition bonus track)Patton2:20
15."Last Cup of Sorrow" (Rammstein mix) (Limited edition bonus track) 4:23
16."Ashes to Ashes" (Hardknox Alternative mix) (Limited edition bonus track) 6:47
17."She Loves Me Not" (Spinna Crazy dub mix) (Limited edition bonus track) 4:41
18."Last Cup of Sorrow" (Sharam Vs FNM Club mix) (Limited edition bonus track) 7:24
Bonus disc
No.TitleLength
1."Last Cup of Sorrow" (Bigfoot and Wildboy mix)8:44
2."Last Cup of Sorrow" (Bonehead mix)4:54
3."Ashes to Ashes" (Hardknox Horned Hand mix)6:47
4."Ashes to Ashes" (Automatic 5 dub)6:10
5."She Loves Me Not" (Spinna Main mix)4:41
6."Ashes to Ashes" (Dillinja mix)5:30
Bonus disc (2016 Deluxe Edition)
No.TitleSourceLength
1."Pristina" (Billy Gould mix)"Last Cup of Sorrow" single4:14
2."Last Cup of Sorrow" (Roli Mosimann mix)"Last Cup of Sorrow" single6:23
3."She Loves Me Not" (Spinna Main mix)Bonus disc of Album of the Year Limited Edition4:36
4."Ashes to Ashes" (DJ Icey & Maestro mix)"Ashes to Ashes" CD single6:05
5."Light Up & Let Go""Ashes to Ashes" CD single2:17
6."The Big Kahuna""Ashes to Ashes" CD single3:04
7."This Guy's In Love With You" (Burt Bacharach, Hal David) (Live)"I Started a Joke" single4:19
8."Collision" (Live)"Stripsearch" CD single3:28

Track 7 recorded on 21 October 1997 at the Horden Pavilion, Sydney, Australia by MTV Australia.
Track 8 recorded on 27 August 1997 at Night Town, Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Personnel[edit]

Faith No More
Mike Bordin – drums
Roddy Bottum – keyboards
Billy Gould – bass guitar, producer
Jon Hudson – guitar
Mike Patton – vocals
Production
Roli Mosimann – producer, mixing
Paul Ceppaglia – mixing assistant
Atom – engineer
Mike Bogus – engineer
Daniel Presley – engineer
Howie Weinberg – mastering
Katherine Delaney – art direction, design

Accolades[edit]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Kerrang! United Kingdom "Albums of the Year"[55] 1997 10

Chart positions[edit]

Album
Chart Peak
Australian Albums Chart 1
Czech Republic Top 40 1
New Zealand Charts 1
German Album Charts 2
Finnish Albums Chart[56] 4
UK Albums (OCC)[57] 7
Swedish Top 50 11
French Albums Chart[58] 17
Canada Albums Chart[59] 35
U.S. Billboard 200 41

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1997) Position
German Albums Chart[60] 64
Singles
Year Title Peak chart positions
US Main[61] AUS
[62]
FIN
[63]
NOR
[64]
NZ
[65]
SWI
[66]
UK
[67][68]
1997 "Ashes to Ashes" 22 8 7 14 39 50 15
"Last Cup of Sorrow" 14 66 32 51
"Stripsearch" 83
"—" denotes singles that were released but did not chart.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]