Jane's Addiction
Nothing's Shocking


5.0
classic

Review

by Brendan Schroer USER (4 Reviews)
September 4th, 2014 | 34 replies


Release Date: 1988 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "I mean it's serious, as serious can be"

"Hey man, you know Jane's Addiction, right?"

"Yeah that band with Dave Navarro playing guitar and stuff, right?"

"Yup. What's your favorite song by them?"

"Ummm... well, I haven't actually heard any of their music yet."

"Oh... damn. You should, though. Underrated stuff."

Sadly, this is the status that Jane's Addiction have reached over time. While considered a household name in the rock world, as well as the band that founded Lollapalooza back in '91 as their farewell tour, much of their work is considered underground today. Back in the mid-to-late 80s, their music could easily be considered forward-thinking for its time. It served as a perfect bridge between the eccentricity and crazy stage antics of the 80s L.A. glam metal scene, and the raw distortion and visceral energy of alternative metal and grunge. It seemed as though they were looking into the future of rock music, creating a template for other bands in the so-called "Alternative Nation" to follow, but they never lost their own unique sound back in their heyday. Perry Farrell was charismatic and energetic as a frontman, Dave Navarro always experimented with new sounds and layers to his guitar playing to keep it fresh, and the rhythm section of Stephen Perkins and Eric Avery had some of the best chemistry and groove in alternative rock music. Everything came together perfectly, despite the band members' frequent fights and ego trips, and perhaps this is why 1988's Nothing's Shocking was such a good album.

Jane's Addiction certainly weren't on the best terms with each other when this album was being recorded. Right off the bat, Perry Farrell demanded 62.5 percent of the album's royalties for his contributions to the band's lyrics and music, which instantly caused tensions to rise. As if that weren't enough, Farrell started to accuse Eric Avery for trying stealing his girlfriend while drunk. Now keep in mind, this was all during the recording sessions, so a lack of stability between the members would probably make some sense within the album's music... and it absolutely does. Dave Navarro stated that most of the songs on Nothing's Shocking were created from loose jams and there wasn't much of a strict formula used on these songs, and it definitely shows. The epic of the album, "Ted, Just Admit It..." is probably the most telling example, over half of the tune mainly being a long buildup over the same bassline. Just as noticeable and seemingly unfocused is the album's eclecticism, with alternative rock, classic rock, funk, jazz, and other crazy stuff thrown into a blender at different points. In fact, the final interlude "Thank You Boys" is just a one-minute jazz song used to ease the listener into a raging hell of a closer like "Pig's in Zen."

In any case, though, everything still fits perfectly within the context of the band's sound. The group's style does sound all over the place, so it works to have such an odd fusion of genres and personalities clash. Beautiful ballads like "Jane Says" and especially "Summertime Rolls" show that the band still have a very touching side, while "Ocean Size" and "Mountain Song" are heavy-as-hell powerhouses that show Perry Farrell's vocal abilities as he hits some of his strongest (and highest) notes. But in the end, the real draw comes from how well each song works in terms of album placement. No song feels like it's out of place in the grand scheme of things, no matter how outlandish things get. "Up the Beach" is a perfect opening mixture of dynamics that really shows what the rest of the record would display and the album definitely follows this up without a hitch, right until the intense speech that ends "Pig's in Zen." The compositions are all varied, the charisma surrounding every tune gives the experience a distinct identity throughout, and every member means a lot in the long run.

No matter how many problems Jane's Addiction were having throughout Nothing's Shocking's recording, they were performing as passionate musicians first and foremost. They clearly put a lot of effort and care into each note of each song, trying their best to cut a good record in the face of an internal fracture. Well, they made more than a good album... they made a landmark of rock music. It's so sad to see an album like Nothing's Shocking go so unnoticed when considering all of the classic songs it has. There is literally no bad song on the entire record, every one of them succeeding at what they set out to do. So if you're looking for a new gem to add to your collection: get Nothing's Shocking, pop it in, and find out how so many alternative rock bands came to be.


user ratings (522)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Edmund Blackadder (4.5)
Jane's Addiction manages to create an excellent album with amazing instrumentation and a very dark t...

Tomahawk (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
NecroticaLives
September 3rd 2014


99 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yo

Arcade
Contributing Reviewer
September 4th 2014


3360 Comments


is this 4real?

Digging: Viet Cong - Viet Cong

HarryBoBerry
September 4th 2014


203 Comments


Nice review! These guys have some of my favorite radio jams from the 90s. Mountain Song and the live version of Jane Says are major nostalgia for me.

Pajolero
September 4th 2014


237 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Had a Dad is such a banger.

Digging: The Mark Of Cain - Songs of the Third and Fifth

KILL
September 4th 2014


72280 Comments


welcome back!!!!!!!!!!

Digging: Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses

ArsMoriendi
September 4th 2014


5980 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Dude great review.

"Ted Just Admit It..." is one of the best songs ever.

Digging: Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band - Mirror Man

Gyromania
September 4th 2014


16088 Comments


wait, what? were you removed from staff?

i need to revisit this album. i've heard it a couple times in the past and thought it was pretty meh

jefflebowski
September 4th 2014


8257 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great album, probably edged out by ritual de lo habitual as their best though. idiots rule, mountain song and ted just admit it funk hard

Gyromania
September 4th 2014


16088 Comments


3 songs in and getting pretty bored

NecroticaLives
September 4th 2014


99 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks for the pos's.

And yeah Gyro, I was both demoted and banned for months. I can't say I agree with the circumstances by which it all happened either, but whatever

tempest--
September 4th 2014


14611 Comments


wtf is tht dialogue at the start i think most people who arent retards will have heard been caught stealing or stop or jane says

Futures
September 4th 2014


12359 Comments


jane says is a pretty huge song yeah

Digging: The Twilight Sad - Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave

Gyromania
September 4th 2014


16088 Comments


i know you were demoted and banned from contrib, but then you got staff, right? were you demoted and banned again?

NecroticaLives
September 4th 2014


99 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I was banned and demoted again, and frankly I really don't care that much now. I'm just reviewing whatever I feel like whenever I feel like. If I get promoted again, great. If not, it's all good

Futures
September 4th 2014


12359 Comments


you won't don't worry

tommygun
September 4th 2014


25413 Comments


gd record

Digging: Banks - Goddess

Arcade
Contributing Reviewer
September 4th 2014


3360 Comments


And yeah Gyro, I was both demoted and banned for months. I can't say I agree with the circumstances by which it all happened either, but whatever

I don't understand why they'd ban you only to let you come back with a new account doesn't make any sense. Good review btw, just confused with how this is all going down

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
September 4th 2014


6560 Comments


Necro is back! O, glorious day! Hard pos.

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

SnakeDelilah
September 5th 2014


9078 Comments


why can't we just get along for once damn

Digging: Foxing - The Albatross

NecroticaLives
September 5th 2014


99 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I don't get along with anyone



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