JANE'S ADDICTION — Nothing's Shocking

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JANE'S ADDICTION - Nothing's Shocking cover
4.14 | 14 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1988


1. Up The Beach (3:01)
2. Ocean Size (4:19)
3. Had a Dad (3:45)
4. Ted, Just Admit It... (7:22)
5. Standing In The Shower... Thinking (3:05)
6. Summertime Rolls (6:20)
7. Mountain Song (4:03)
8. Idiots Rule (3:01)
9. Jane Says (4:53)
10. Thank You Boys (1:04)
11. Pig's In Zen (4:30)

Total Time: 45:26


- Perry Farrell / vocals, piano
- Dave Navarro / lead and rhythm guitars
- Eric Avery / bass guitar
- Stephen Perkins / drums, percussion

- Mike Shatz / steel drum, congas (track 9)
- Angelo Moore / saxophone
- Flea / trumpet
- Christopher Dowd / trombone

About this release

Released by Warner Bros.

Thanks to colt, Lynx33, Unitron for the updates


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siLLy puPPy
While the glam metal scene was dominating the 1980s with cheesy videos that exhibited gorgeous female models shakin’ their shit and grown men in spandex and with ridiculous quantities of hairspray, the dregs of society were conjuring up their own musical revolution in the underground like rats plotting an invasion in the sewers of any major city. While the mainstream music scene was all about the glitz and glamor, the culmination of underground scenes like no wave, post-punk and alternative rock were slowly but surely gaining traction and as the glam metal shtick had started to become stale by the end of the 80s with too many Bon Jovi videos to count, a few bands were starting to rise from the bowels of the music industry until the alternative rock scene finally completely took over in the early 1990s.

While Nirvana’s “Nevermind” was pretty much the firing squad that dethroned everything 80s and ushered in the alternative 90s, one band in particular was instrumental in bridging the gap between the underground and mainstream success. That band was JANE’S ADDICTION who like its glam metal counterparts was forged in the Los Angeles scene but took a very different route. Named after lead singer Perry Farrell’s ex-housemate Jane Bainter’s fondness of heroin, JANE’S ADDICTION exuded a gritty underground style that found them living the very part as the dregs of society while they captured the essence of the experience in musical compositions. The band actually debuted in 1987 with its self-titled live release but was virtually ignored by the public although it caught the attention of Warner Brothers which saw the changing tides of musical tastes and offered them a record contract.

JANE’S ADDICTION’s first studio album NOTHING’S SHOCKING came out in 1988 when glam metal was still dominating the MTV scene and although the album didn’t quite pierce the armor of the hairspray army, the bizarre album cover art of two naked conjoined twins with their heads on fire generated enough interest as to exactly what in the world was this music all about. Once MTV banned the first single “The Mountain Song” for featuring nudity in its video, the band began to garner the reputation as fierce and utterly unapologetic in its unorthodox methodologies and uncompromising rebellious behaviors. The band’s short shelf life was also the result of lead singer Perry Farrell’s inflated ego and erratic behavior including demanding 50% of the royalties as the lyricist. The rift between the members was sown from the beginning but oddly enough added a strange tension on the recordings.

NOTHING’S SHOCKING sounded like nothing else. With an energetic drive somewhere between hard rock and heavy metal, the band incorporated alternative rock, psychedelic rock and funk into its mix with an early grunge style that added heavy metal guitar soloing and creepy oft morbid subject matter. The album was intelligently designed as producer Dave Jerden scouted out the band’s material and placed the targeted tracks in a particular order which laid out a strange yet logical procession of musical motifs that ranged from the hypnotically groovy to pungently caustic and in your face. The opening “Up The Beach” set the tone of the album with a sense of impending dread as everything was just slightly off enough and once “Ocean Size” kicks in the short arpeggiated intro breaks into a heavy distorted guitar riffing frenzy that featured a drumming style that would become a staple in the grunge scene as well as Farrell’s distinct high pitched vocal style and cutting edge artistic stage presence.

One of the album’s greatest strength is its unusual diverse palette of influences with songwriting practices that varied from song to song. Some tracks such as “Had A Dad” and “Ted, Just Admit It” were based on Eric Avery’s bass grooves while others like “Ocean Size,” “Mountain Song” and “Pigs In Zen” were full band experiences with independent musical counterpoints. The track “Mountain Song” was actually released as far back as 1986 for the soundtrack of the film “Dudes” which set the raw grungy tone of the entire album. Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea made cameo on the trumpet for the track “Idiot’s Rule.” Both “Jane Says” and “Pigs In Zen” were rerecorded from the previous live EP but underwent a complete makeover to make a better impression. The former becoming one of the band’s so-called ballad songs and the latter the band’s signature middle finger no fuck’s left to give Rage Against The Machine style anthem.

This album was hardly love at first listen for me. In fact i didn’t like this band at all for the longest time. I considered them overhyped and rather dreadful sounding but i have to say that all my friends who were into them played them over and over and over and somehow by osmosis i caught the bug. Sort of like learning a new language, JANE’S ADDICTION sort of was like a dialect of the alternative rock universe and once attitudes were adjusted actually grew on me quite substantially to the point where NOTHING’S SHOCKING has become an all time favorite personal classic. This album is very much a lyrical one as the music is designed to accompany the themes involved so therefore this is not an album that focuses on instrumental dynamics although as accompanying music totally nails it in the subject matter department whether it focuses on serial killer themes of Ted Bundy on “Ted, Just Admit It” or the band’s own personal demons with heroin on “Jane Says.” Overall the classic status of this one is warranted but as someone who was resistant from the start i do have to say that for many it may require a bit of exposure. Needless to say, whether JANE’S ADDICTION appeals to you or not, it was this band and particularly this album that opened the doors for the alternative rock scene to break into the mainstream and would very soon rip the door off the hinges with its followup “Ritual de lo Habitual.”
Usually credited for kicking off the alternative/grunge scene of the early 90's, Jane's Addiction unleashed their debut Nothing's Shocking with it's probably purposely shocking album cover in 1988. It has since influenced many artists inside and outside the alternative music world, and cemented itself as a hard rock classic of the late 80's, and for good reason.

While glam metal and grunge are often seen as polar opposites, Nothing's Shocking is an interesting blend of Guns 'n' Roses-esque glam with alternative rock and 70's hard rock/heavy metal elements that would help shape the grunge sound. Coupled with its massive arena production sound and quirky sense of humor, this cluster of contrasts create a unique record that has really never been copied, at least not successfully.

Most people who grew up listening to late 80's and 90's hard rock and heavy metal will probably know the slamming headbanger that is "Mountain Song". Opening with one of the most memorable intro basslines in rock, it's impossible to not want to stomp your feet to the crashing and massive riff that dominates the song. There's a ton of attitude here, with both Dave Navarro's pounding riffing and Perry Farrell's snide and nasally vocal performance. That sarcastic tone is contrasted with catchy melodic vocal hooks and guitar soloing that sounds right out of the 70's, as is the album's sound in general.

There's plenty of fantastic songs on here with the right amount of variety without straying away from the main sound. "Had a Dad" blends a killer groove that just punches you in the gut, with one of the soulful vocal melodies on the record. The experimental mini-epic "Ted, Just Admit It..." is an unsettling dirge that perfectly blends a wandering vibe reminiscent of 70's heavy psych and metal with the booming arena sound. The rhythm section of Eric Avery and Stephen Perkins really shines on the song, especially with the drums towards the end and the riffs that sound like Voivod playing funk.

My favorite on the album, as well as my favorite Jane's Addiction song has to go with the underrated deep cut of "Pigs in Zen". It really showcases all that's so great about the album in one song. The mixing of hard-edged guitar grit and soaring killer soloing, Farrell's sneer, deep bass, and the awesome 80's drum sound. Why not as many people talk about this song I will never know, what an excellent finale.

If you haven't heard this classic and love both arena rock and grunge, I highly recommend giving this album a listen. There's a little bit of filler, but nowhere near enough to take away from the abundance of high points. It's one of those legendary debuts like Boston's self-titled that the band could never top. It's a shame, but sometimes bands have one masterpiece within them, and for whatever reason can't come close to reaching the same greatness.


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