If you would like to know what was Mike Patton thinking while writing the lyrics of Midlife Crisis, the first single of Faith No More’s most commercially successful album, Angel Dust. check out this quote from him: “I think that too many people think too much about my lyrics. I am more a person who works with the sound of a word than with its meaning. Often I just choose the words because of the rhythm not because of the meaning.” You can find this approach of Mike’s other bands, such as Fantomas, where he doesn’t sing any word, he just makes sounds.
With that said, we don’t have to pay so much attention to the meaning behind the lyrics of his songs, most of the times they don’t have any. But with this song, in particular, Midlife Crisis, there is one. Patton said in an interview that Patton: “The song is based on a lot of observation and a lot of speculation. But in sort of a pointed way its kind of about Madonna…I think it was a particular time where I was being bombarded with her image on TV and in magazines and her whole schtick kind of speaks to me in that way…like she’s going through some sort of problem. It seems she’s getting a bit desperate. During an interview in 2012, Billy Gould, said the lyrics apply “even more to her today.”Actually, for their live setlists they use to call this song Madonna sometimes. We do know that the queen of pop music has always tried to look younger than she is. Even though the title itself is Midlife Crisis, Mike stated that the lyrics are not about an actual midlife crisis “it’s more about creating false emotion, being emotional, dwelling on your emotions and in a sense inventing them”
Like many songs from Faith No More, and especially on Angel Dust, the guitars are minimal. But I have to say that this contribution from Jim Martin, this little fill adds to the song something special, it sounds so different, so raw, so misplaced that gives to the song a more human side in my opinion.
The keyboards, on the other hand, contributed a lot of what is the shape of the song itself, the melodies were made by Roddy Bottum. He contributed with these very magical paintbrushes that make Midlife Crisis one of the best songs from Faith No More
And I would also like to mention the very well placed, as usual baseline written by Billy Gould. His bass ads the perfect cohesion between the instruments. He is responsible for your body moving through all the playback with that funky rhythm.
I use to like complex songs, with lots of progressive transitions. Especially long, non-commercial songs, those are my kind of songs. I don’t know then the reason why I like this song so much. It’s really a simple song, it has a verse, a pre-chorus, a chorus, that repeated, a bridge, another last verse and again, pre-chorus and chorus. That’s it. It’s normal, it’s the first single of their third album, Angel Dust, they needed to release a short catchy song, and this one was perfect. It’s just funny to me that this never tended to happened to me with 99% of the albums.
Just how this song starts, those drums, by the way, I think this is the only Faith No More song that starts with just the drums. Very catchy and, I wouldn’t say headbanging, but it makes you wanna jump. It’s so groovy… I have to say that whenever I hear this song, it rises my mood high. Then the keyboard comes in and Mike starts to rap in his own way… Could they make a better start? Possibly, but the amount of energy that they transmitted is unbelievable.
Every time I listen to this song my mood rises. And that’s funny, given the fact that this song is about dwelling your emotions… I guess that tells a lot of what I’m searching for while listening to a song. I don’t pay so much attention to lyrics, I rather like to receive whatever energy comes out of it, and I think that would depend from person to person right? That’s the beauty of music, it’s very personal and unique for each and one of us.