Review Revue: Jane’s Addiction – Ritual de lo Habitual

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When an early commenter on Review Revue suggested I pull out some Jane’s Addiction to see what the KCMU response to it was, I thought that was a great idea. Here was one of my favorite albums in high school, an addictive and wildly popular slab of rock from a band that certainly suffered its fair share of critical dismissal. There was bound to be some good drama on the cover of Ritual De Lo Habitual, no?

No.

While these reviews are still fun reading, I was shocked at the overall appreciation and fondness for this album. Where’s the snark? The ire? The ironic detachment? Apparently, Jane’s Addiction managed to overcome all of this to momentarily unite the KCMU DJs (to even their own surprise) in rock bliss. The harshest criticism anyone seems to be able to manage is to crack on the cover art, and an unsupported claim that the album shouldn’t be in heavy rotation.

As a little side note, this is the first cover to introduce something that took me a minute to figure out. Here in the age of CDs, I have taken for granted the concept of referring to songs by one number: their track number. Here, people use two numbers (1-1, 1-5, 2-1, etc.). It took me a minute to figure out that this was how song numbers were called out way back in the vinyl days (the first number being the side, the second being the track on that side). Ain’t I smart?

“I hate the hype, the cover, Perry Farrell, etc., but I love this band! ‘Stop’ is especially great. Nothing too new here, but this is a fine follow-up to Nothing’s Shocking . I find this stuff a lot more satisfying than contemporaries such as Soundgarden and Mother Love Bone.”

“‘Of Course’ reminds me of the cool side of Supertramp.”

“Great LP. But what’s the point of the singer always putting nude art of him and his girlfriends on the covers? Is he trying to prove something or show off?”

“Shouldn’t be in H.”

“1-1 Rocks!”

“I’m surprised that this is so popular at KCMU. [That makes two of us!] So much of this album sounds like 70s progressive rock, with an edgy voice on top. Guitar & arrangements are so 70s. Don’t get me wrong, I love this LP & band . . . it just surprises me.”

“Wait ’til you hear the new Redd Kross if you like the 70s.”

“‘Been Caught Stealing’ has a cool intro – check it out!”

“Great energy on this LP!”

“‘Of Course’ reminds me of Beatles – great violin! Good stuff all the way around – funk, rock, acoustic, etc.”

“Enjoy them while they’re still alive. [Amazingly, all of the notoriously hard-living members of Jane’s Addiction are still alive. As no one would have guessed at the time, the band died before any of its members.] Amazing in concert. I like 1-1, 1-5 and the whole thing overall. (2-1 is long but cool.)”

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