Where to begin.image

The new Faith No More single Motherfucker has been released from captivity into the world, set free as a menacing yet understated, contemporary yet idiosyncratic, fulfilling yet frustrating, low-tempo yet snarling, contemplative yet playful, profane yet beatific statement of intent.

Tellingly, Roddy (how good is it to see and hear the creative force back up front and central chez FNM?) twice mentions accountability and only having to answer to themselves as key themes in the song.

The first verse can be explicitly interpreted as an indictment of mass over-consumption: humans as geese force-fed to produce foie gras. The final lines suggest an escape from this cage but only after embracing a nemesis; by getting the motherfucker on the phone.

Alternatively the lyrics could be self-referential. The band, under the previous record industry paradigm, were force fed to produce. They were products of their own MTV-fueled epic success.

The second stanza can be seen as the band’s return. They are setting aside their scruples, picking at their bloody scabs and getting immunised against being once again exposed.

But distemper (or maybe “this temper” or mood) – a disease of wolves among other animals – has taken hold: their balance disturbed. Whether fitful with illness or mood, they have been spurred to action. “We took the second sip from a cup we made of bones“.

But the first time was not real – a ruse, a trick. In fact, the truth is their youth (Faith No More version 1.0?) was a gilded cage: “a carpet laid of stones“.

And perhaps the final leap of faith in this interpretation: the “motherfucker” is a recalcitrant band member. The recalcitrant band member who symbolically turns up late in the track.

The song itself fits. It is not want the music industry produces: it wouldn’t score 65% plus on HitPredictor. It is not the balls-out rocker or Mike Patton vocal masterclass that some fans wanted and expected.
It is a goodbye and a hello from motherfuckers we used to know.