Jane’s Addiction’s second album Nothing's Shocking may have been released in 1988, but it didn’t come to my attention until sometime in 1990. The flamboyance of singer Perry Ferrell and of the guitar playing of Dave Navarro was perfect for the times. I played the record frequently for several years, each of the songs encouraging the brashness required to rebel against conformity, an enticement to live life outside the standards.
Of course, anything this good is somewhat diminished when everyone seems to like it. But it doesn’t stop songs like “Mountain Song” from being phenomenal. Like most good alt-rock, the bass plays a central role, the guitar rolls and slides over the top, and the vocals sound like a full-throated provocation. And we can’t ignore the ever-present “Jane Says”. An acoustic stand-alone, the song sounded like something different, like life in another town, where people are more laid-back, and there’s no such thing as convention.
Jane’s followed this up with Ritual de lo Habitual, another great album with perfect singles and even better epics, like the masterpiece “Three Days.” For me, Nothing's Shocking lasts; it was the one that carried me through three or more residences and in and out and back into the same relationship in the early 1990’s. A great album today, it will still take me back to those days when the weather’s hot and I want to have a few choice words with the rest of society.