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Jane’s Addiction – Nothing’s Shocking (1988)

April 23, 2015

For my next destination, as chosen by you, the good people of the blogosphere, I’m heading back to 1988.

I’ve already completed the requisite 1988 Top 5, so this week I’m happy to just travel straight there, none of that pesky further adieu!

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[Album 394/1001]

Fellow blogger J. recently dubbed this album an “All-timer.”220px-NothingsShocking

In his enjoyable Nothing’s Shocking review, J. shared his personal journey with Jane’s Addiction.  So naturally, as a frequent borrower of good ideas, I’ll do the same.

My early memories of Jane’s Addiction?  Surprisingly, they arrive courtesy of the movie The River Wild.

I remember very little else from the film but I have a vivid memory of this band name-drop:

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For a couple of decades, I’ve been well aware of the Jane’s Addiction legacy but considerably less knowledgeable about their music beyond the big singles.

I was certainly keen to explore Nothing’s Shocking but the classic status of this album did make me a bit apprehensive.

Apprehensive in that I don’t want to approach ‘classic’ albums like the Mark Twain quote about ‘classic’ books, “something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.”

This isn’t a checklist album; I wanted to enjoy Nothing’s Shocking.

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For those expecting a River Wild-esque plot twist, sorry to disappoint: it’s a classic that I want to keep reading.

I am a bit surprised however because I used to think Perry Farrell’s voice was a deterrent.  I thought it would get more obnoxious over a full album but now I’m struggling to see an alternate vocalist that would be nearly as effective.

I wouldn’t say the deterrent that once repelled has become that magnet that draws me back but it’s not terribly far from the truth.

The band is a big selling point, really nice chemistry among the guitar/bass/drums.  The steel drum in Jane Says will no doubt resurface on a ‘Top 5 steel drum feature’ list someday.

Bonus trivia question: this actor, who played Needles in Back to the Future II, also plays the trumpet on this album.*

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One day this may be an all-timer for me, my thanks to J. for recommending Jane’s Addiction so highly.

If you read his blog, you’ll know he’s good at finding deals.  I find with J, you’re dealing with a man of wealth (due to his inexpensive purchases) and taste** (due to the caliber of records he recommends).

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*That would be Flea.

**In no way am I suggesting a fellow blogger is a devil deserving of sympathy, I’ve just always liked that Stones lyric!  Speaking of all-timers…

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From → 1980s

20 Comments
  1. Great record! All the angst and noise a fifteen year old could want back on the day and still holds up to the test of time today. “Jane says” is an untouchable wonder.

    • Haha, I would have been in the somewhat less angsty 7-year old demographic upon release – but the groups JA inspired would certainly have fit the bill for me a few years later!

      • Admittedly, I myself didn’t get into JA until two years with the release of the also very excellent, “Ritual de lo Habitual”.

      • Also on the list, also as of yet unexplored beyond Been caught stealing for me!

      • Fantastic track but there’s so many on that one. I love “Stop” and “Three days” is like Stairway to Heaven for the 90s.

  2. Oh and love “Mountain song” too.

  3. One of my fave LPs ever. They also played a couple of my fave gigs ever – I slept overnight in a doorway in London to see them in a club when I was 16!

    • Now that’s investing in a group!
      I often wonder if musical attention spans are more fleeting these days because it’s too easy to consume music, click, there it is. Often no $ investment or more importantly, time invested.
      Sleeping overnight in a doorway, that’s committing to the cause, nothing but admiration for that!

      • The idea of my child doing that now …. (stops to consider all the horrific consequences) Not that my parents knew anything about it, I lied.

        Seeing them just before ‘Ritual de lo Habitual’ came out was one of the best experiences of my life.

        I agree with your hypothesis, neither of my kids would dream of buying music, it just wouldn’t cross their minds; even though they both like it. So no real monetary, time or emotional investment made. Interesting to see what happens when all the old farts like me die off.

      • You’re right – hadn’t thought about it through that lens, more horrific than awesome from the parent perspective!

  4. I’ve tried getting into a couple of Jane’s Addiction albums, including this one. Something is obviously eluding me because I don’t quite get the fuss.

    • I have a feeling they’re an all or nothing group, either love ’em or could easily live without ’em.

  5. Hey McFly! Wanna race?

    I’m not a JA fan, not at all. But I am a fan of J and his blog.

  6. Hackskeptic permalink

    Can’t wait to review this Geoff. I loved exploring “Ritual…” some time ago and I feel sure this will be as much a pleasure.

  7. Thanks for the mention, Geoff! Really glad that you dug this one – a really special album. I honestly can’t decide whether this or Ritual de lo Habitual is my favourite of theirs. Both are tremendous and each have their own vibe. I’ll look forward to your post about that one!

    Also, I would agree that ‘Three days’ is the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ for the 90s.

  8. How did I miss this post? I’m with J. on this one, it’s an all-timer for sure. Ritual is too.

    I never got to see JA in concert, but I did see Porno For Pyros, with Mike Watt on bass. They were GREAT.

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