When discussing “Fire in the Hole” the other day, I wrote about how I much I enjoy Mike Patton singing about the passage of time. He does so again on Mr. Bungle’s third and final album, California. (Coincidentally, I’m seeing Fiddler on the Roof’s national tour, where this theme is visited.)
Or at least this lyric represents what I think is Patton singing about the passage of time.
“Goodbye sober day/The years grew wings and flew away/Ghosts of the past become barbarians/Of the future/And I still pity you/Because what you said was true.”
Then, as Mr. Bungle is known to do, the song takes a completely new direction and, eventually, all hell breaks loose.
As bassist Trevor Dunn told Faith No More Followers, Patton, with the exception of a riff or two, wrote most of “Goodbye Sober Day.”
And Sputnik Music really enjoyed it.
Wrote the reviewer, “Arguably the most ingenious song in Mr. Bungle’s entire discography, ‘Goodbye Sober Day’ capitalizes on the album’s momentum by being an all-out explosion of eccentricism and horror, jumping from an exotic xylophone melody to fuzzy distortion to ghostly cries until finally culminating in an unforgettable burst of both frenetic tribal chanting and heavy metal. ‘Goodbye Sober Day’ is the perfect final note for Mr. Bungle’s career, remaining true to the sound established on California while nevertheless harkening back to the band’s previous releases.”
The frenetic chanting in the middle is apparently based on the Ramayana, an ancient Indian epic that was written in Sanskrit. A strange choice, but hey, that’s Mr. Bungle. California is Mr. Bungle’s most accessible album, but “Goodbye Sober Day” isn’t necessarily for the mainstream top-40 fan.
“To us, California is pop-y,” Patton told New Music in 1999. “But to some fucking No Doubt fan in Ohio, they’re not going to swallow that.”
Previously from California:
- Ars Moriendi (Day 14)
To follow along on the 365 days of Patton, click here for a list of each day’s post.