365 Days of Mike Patton: “Naked In Front of the Computer,” Faith No More (1997)

Straight out of the late 1990s, when people were just beginning to embrace the internet and email and all the possibilities of both, this song on Faith No More’s Album of the Year record was written solely by Patton (a rather rare accomplishment for this band). He apparently was fascinated by the power of being online.

“Actually, this song is about email,” FNM bassist Billy Gould told Keyboard Magazine in 1997. “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.”

Yes, and you probably don’t need me to spell out what Gould (and Patton) are talking about. After all, there aren’t too many reasons to be nude in front of your laptop screen.

A number of reviews for Album of the Year—which was the band’s last for 18 years—were not kind, and it’s hard to blame them. It’s my least favorite Patton-led FNM album, and Rolling Stone wrote, “All in all, Faith No More are floundering around desperately, groping for a sense of identity and direction in a decade that clearly finds them irrelevant.”

Maybe FNM was (slightly) irrelevant at the time, but the song’s title and subject matter have not gone out of style. These days, everybody knows what sitting naked in front of your computer means.

To follow along on the 365 days of Patton, click here for a list of each day’s post.


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