365 Days of Mike Patton: “Underwater Love,” Faith No More (1989)

Without a doubt, this is my favorite all-time song about drowning your lover. From the opening keyboard zinger to Mike Patton’s nasally voice and Billy Gould’s funkadelically obtrusive bass, this song sounds like it was recorded in 1989 for The Real Thing album and then stayed locked in a time capsule for good.

The lyrics, though, are forever.

“Looking down into the water/It’s hard to make out your face/If our love is drowning, then why/Do I feel so out of place?”

And …

“Liquid seeps into your lungs/But your eyes look so serene/It’s wonderful how the surface ripples/But you’re perfect, and I cannot breathe.”

It’s not exactly subtle, is it?

Even if you think the lyrics are TOO obvious and that the song must be really about something else—a man’s obsession with fishing, for example— Patton says you’re wrong. He told Kerrang in 1990, via FNM 2.0, “Underwater Love was basically about murdering someone you love.”

Interestingly, a demo version of the song exists—according to the YouTube channel, it was “recorded on [a] 4-Track in Bill Gould’s attic as a demonstration of Mike Patton for Faith No More’s management and their record company (Slash)” before Patton was officially in the band—and the lyrics are a little bit different (though it still sounds like it’s about drowning somebody you love).

Previously from The Real Thing:

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

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