Señores y señoras… it’s Friday! A perfect day to unleash song number twenty-six: Jane’s Addiction’s “Stop!”
In the fall of 1990, my friends and I were still very much in love with the claustrophobic angst of Nine Inch Nails’ brilliant debut, “Pretty hate machine” and by then, we were all listening to Nitzer Ebb and Ministry and some of us, even Skinny Puppy. Industrial was the buzz word of the day. It was all we wanted to hear and for which we were all on the lookout. In the midst of all this, a friend (who will remain nameless) slipped me the “Ritual de lo habitual” cassette, telling me that this was the latest in Industrial. I listened to the tape and loved it right off, but didn’t think the sound fit in with those other bands. Still, we were young, what did we know about genre? We didn’t have Wikipedia and Pitchfork telling us everything we needed to know about music. But we knew what we liked.
And we definitely liked Jane’s Addiction.
“Ritual de lo habitual” was the four-piece LA-based group’s third album and the last before the first incarnation of the band was dissolved. Jane’s Addiction started out a few years earlier with their unconventional, self-titled debut, which was a live record that featured early versions of now iconic tunes and covers of songs by The Velvet Underground and The Rolling Stones. Then, their sophomore release, 1988’s “Nothing’s shocking”, was a proverbial sucker punch to the solar plexus, the original lineup of Perry Farrell, Eric Avery, Dave Navarro, and Stephen Perkins unleashing a loud and brash cacophony of metal, funk, surf, punk and psychedelia on the buying public. Though many people see “Nothing’s shocking” as Jane’s Addiction’s best work, I prefer “Ritual”. Sure, it’s a drug-fuelled mess at times but it is still quite accomplished and cohesive and of course, it was my introduction to the influential alt-rock band.
“Stop!” is the starting point on the epic journey of the album and was one of two lead off singles to be released from it (the other being “Three days”!). The Spanish introduction plays like a post-modern gimmick, the female announcer revving up the crowd of listeners for Jane’s Addiction to leap up onstage and punish their instruments. Navarro wails away on the guitars, somehow seeing through the heroin haze, and the rhythm section of Avery and Perkins shift gears from fast to slow to fast again with apparent ease. And the ringleader of this circus of freaks, Perry Farrell, comports himself like a man unhinged, his whines and screeches perfect to shout along with as your body is being tossed about like a ragdoll in the mosh pit. It’s all fun and games until you lose one of your 16 hole docs or a Birkenstock sandal in the fray.
…Stop… now go!
For the rest of the Best tunes of 1990 list, click here.