sean kinney ~
sean kinney ~
Today is a tough day. But let’s all remember Layne and Kurt and celebrate the amazingly talented, funny, wonderful people they were.
Layne Staley: August 22, 1967 - April 5, 2002
Kurt Cobain: February 20, 1967 - April 5, 1994
It wasn’t long ago
That I was just like you
Now I think I’m sick
And I wanna go home
Layne rockin’ the shades since day one
I get knocked down
I purchased Jane’s Addiction’s first two studio albums sometime during the 2014-2015 winter break. I fell in love with 1988's Nothing’s Shocking rather quickly. I enjoyed 1990's Ritual de lo Habitual, but it took more time to fully appreciate. I concluded Nothing’s Shocking was more consistent, sonically and thematically. The first half of Ritual sounds like a rehash of songs that would have fit better on the Nothing’s Shocking tracklist. They might have been better served on a B-side release.
Over time, I’ve come to appreciate the album’s vibe. All the key elements of JA’s sound are there: Perry Farrell’s high-pitched vocals, Stephen Perkins’ spidery drums, Eric Avery’s acrobatic bass, and Dave Navarro’s layered guitars. The first three songs come out with emphasis on fast, funky, and melodic breaks. The next two tracks “Obvious” and “Been Caught Stealing” introduce slower tempos and tone down the aggression just enough for almost danceable tracks.
The next four tracks change the mood of the record from goofy to somber. These songs focus more on death, life, and renewal. Farrell wrote these in tribute to Xiola Blue, one of Farrell’s friend who died of substance abuse. These tracks feature more progressive song structures. Some clock in over six minutes.
On the lyrical side of things, I tend to classify JA’s lyrics into two camps: goofy and serious. A good example of a goofy song is “Ted…Just Admit It.” The lines “Sex is violent!” and “show me, everybody, naked and disfigured.” It’s goofy, it hardly makes any sense, but it serves the song in a cool way. With “Jane Says” the lyrics are more direct and more wistful. In Nothing’s Shocking, the weird provocative lyrics are dominant. Ritual provides a balance between the goofy and serious.
Jane’s Addiction is an utter enigma. They’ve inspired countless bands that sound nothing like them. What is it about them that continues to inspire these groups? I guess what these bands took away from Jane’s Addiction was small aspects of their sound. Maybe seeing them live back in the day sent all of those bands back to the drawing board. In this case, I think that they sought to create music that inspired.
To me, Ritual says, “This is how it’s done,” both with crafting great songs and crafting great albums. Nothing’s Shocking comes very close. I highly recommend them paired together, but I can’t imagine finding another album as provocative, elegiac, and original.
“𝙸 𝚠𝚊𝚜 𝚝𝚛𝚢𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚝𝚘 𝚙𝚕𝚊𝚢 𝚖𝚢 𝚘𝚠𝚗 𝚜𝚝𝚢𝚕𝚎 𝚘𝚏 𝚙𝚞𝚗𝚔 𝚛𝚘𝚌𝚔, 𝚠𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝙸 𝚝𝚑𝚘𝚞𝚐𝚑𝚝 𝚒𝚝 𝚠𝚘𝚞𝚕𝚍 𝚋𝚎.” -𝙺𝚞𝚛𝚝 𝙲𝚘𝚋𝚊𝚒𝚗
Flea and Kurt Kobain
Shannon Hoon in the video for Tones of Home
Hole; Violet, 1994
interview w/ guitar world magazine, 1996
Interviewer: The media has a tendency to find a weak link and keep hammering on it until it breaks.
Cantrell: Totally. They’ll pick on a sore spot until it’s an infected scab. Hey, if you want to keep licking, that’s cool, but I don’t have to let you pick my scabs. I pick my own. [laughs] It’s hard not to give people that power. At the end of the day, we’ve done an incredible job, have great fans and awesome people around us. The band sticks together because we’re a tight bunch of friends. We’ve got that “in the trenches” vibe. Nobody knows what the fuck that’s about except for your buddy right across from you. I’ll tell you, the whole experience has been interesting, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve lived some of the most incredible moments and had some of the most insane adventures of my life – and I’m only 29 years old. It blows me away sometimes. I feel so thankful for my experiences. Hold on – I think I’m gonna cry. [laughs]