ANNE'S SONG | 29 Years
'A dancing 12 inches of pure abnormality that rips around the room accompanied by one of the finest voices ever to come out of a broken vocal pipe. It just bludgeons its way along hitting everything form its path and grinning inanely while doing so.One day all absurdities will be made this way. Single of the week. Brilliant.' Sounds 1988
ANNE WHO? : Focus On The Song
Imagine you're sat at a party feet up on the sofa maybe a joint in one hand, beer in the other. You are 'people watching' as one familiar character after another rolls into the smoky room.
First there's Johnny, he always loves a party. He’s followed by Vinnie, who's feeling kinda skinny, he says "Hey Anne I'm starved what you got to eat", she says "Vinnie you're always starving man, get away from that fridge!” Here comes Lucy she's feeling really sexy, she's followed by her boyfriend, who'd better not turn around this time, or he's bound to lose her. And here comes Jamilla, who's got the cream soda...
Unfortunately ANNE'S SONG is Faith No More's least successful single release, it failed to chart in any country. And yeah, I know what you're thinking 'it's been bugging you since the day I was born.' (Sorry couldn't resist)
Released in the UK on April 18th 1988, exactly three months after We Care A lot, it was the second and last single the band released with Chuck Mosley's vocals. Pressed on 12" and 7" with a yellow vinyl sleeve sporting a cool picture of the band, also on 7" picture disc (a very tasty little collector's item.)
Anne’s Song is fun, funky and full of great rhythms and melodies. Bill Gould's poppy bass groove, like so many other FNM songs takes the lead, while Roddy Bottum's piano melody is graceful and enchanting. The drum track is not dissimilar from We Care A Lot, Mike Bordin accenting the rhythm of Bill's bass riff with his African beats sound tweaked by Matt Wallace's immaculate production. Jim Martin shows off his skill with an elaborately layered solo (so extravagant he needs three hands to play it in the video.) Chuck's punk-like tones and spoken word perfectly narrate the story that unfolds. The song fades out with a marching beat and a strong melody that sticks in your head. Is it just me or do you blast into the verse of Introduce Yourself regardless too?
I used a lot positive adjectives in that description which would suggest there is no reason why the single failed in it's musical structure. In fact it is extremely original and unique amongst the tracks on the album, not really adhering to a traditional ‘verse, chorus’ format, like so many FNM songs ahead of it’s time.
The lyrics to Anne's Song stand out on Introduce Yourself simply due to their first person setting and autiobiographical content. Written by Chuck with a little help from Roddy they tell the story of Anne. They describe her as having a cheerful disposition and a positive outlook on life, someone to turn to for advice, a friend. They go on to describe a party presumably hosted by Anne herself. Brought to life by colourful description and poetic phrases these lyrics are witty and engaging.
My question is…..Anne who? I asked Roddy.....
'Ann was a friend of Chuck's who lives in the lower east side in NYC. All of the people referenced in that song were part of her 'crew' and are all featured in the black and white sections of the Anne's Song video'And Chuck himself explains why he told her particular story.
'Anne's song was quite simply, a pep talk that i got from my friend Anne, when I was down in the dumps about not getting along, or seeing eye to eye with my band mates at the time. It's also an introduction to all of our friends and family in New York, an epiphany about making the best of any situation, and appreciating what you have. I could be wrong, but I think that if I had applied the advice to my situation better at the time, things might have turned out different, but, no regrets, except for the reaction that those particular lyrics spawned at the time, which, unfortunately the details of which, I also have to save for the book, sorry to say...'If you didn't already know, Chuck is working on an autobiography. So leaving us on cliff hanger there we will have to wait that story then Chuck!
Back in 2013 I also interviewed the subject of the song Anne, who still enthuses over Chuck and FNM and remembers her time hanging out with the band fondly.
'When I think of Anne's Song, I never really hear the song . I lived the song. I think about the nite of the filming of our NYC part of the Anne's Song video, here in this apartment, where I still reside today, and write this from my iphone. I think about all my friends and family together, crowded around and wildly dancing to the Village Drums calypso song " In The Groove", because that's the song we used to dance in the video to instead of Anne's Song! Poor Tamra , and Lisa , working around Chuck's thick NY posse. But when I hear that song, all I do is see that video, and see my friends, and see my beautiful cousin and sister, both who have passed away since then. My sister's birthday is today. But everyone else is alive and doing the best they can, and I love them all, and Chuck for making it happen. Now when I listen to Chuck, it's VUA, and it's Come Around and it's Bob Forest.....and I like to think of Bob Forest as the sequel to Anne's Song.'
The Video for Anne's Song was directed and produced by Tamra Davis, her second music video. She went on to direct for NWA, Sonic Youth and....erm....Hanson! She also directed the movie Billy Madison starring Adam Sandler, Crossroads starring Britney Spears and various American TV shows. As we have already discovered no actors were used in the video, only friends of the band.
Anne's Song was a permanent fixture within FNM’s live set during Chuck's time in their ranks only to be dropped when Mike Patton took the job of front man. The song returned for the 2016 Chuck Mosley and Friends live shows.
What follows is a section from a gig review from published in 1988.
'The highlight of the gig was a raucous rendition of We Care A lot. The band's most popular song by far and their first single from recent album Introduce Yourself. The crowd leaped around the room like they were possessed. A great cover of Black Sabbath's macabre War Pigs was followed by Anne's Song the next single scheduled for release over here in May, Mosley took pleasure in taunting the front row as they tried to burst through the roof to what maybe the song that takes this cult band to the next level' - LU Music Press 1988.
Despite critical acclaim from publications like NME and Kerrang Faith No More's status remained cult until the release of The Real Thing. After Chuck's departure and the success they found due to the MTV generation, a new group of fans (myself included) discovered their earlier albums and Anne's Song finally got the respect it deserved.
Yeah I'm biased. I am the guy that no matter what, thinks FNM can do no wrong. Every song is a hit to me (maybe apart from Home Sick Home but that's another story). So I'm using all this evidence to suggest that Anne's Song's lack of commercial success was most likely due to poor promotion and drive from the record company.
I will finish by saying that this song is ‘that track’ on the album that hints at a something more than metal, rap metal, rock or however the media have to label Faith No More’s music. Like Edge Of The World on The Real Thing or RV on Angel Dust, Anne’s Song shows that the band are different, and unable to be pigeonholed by the music press……although they do try!
Thanks to Chuck, Roddy, and Doug for your help, and thanks to you guys for reading.