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"Nothing's Shocking" is the debut studio album by American metal act, Jane's Addiction. It was released in 1988 on Warner Bros. Records, and produced by Perry Farrell & Dave Jerden. The line-up for the album was Perry Farrell (vocals/piano), Dave Navarro (guitar), Eric Avery (bass) and Stephen Perkins (drums).
First off, "Nothing's Shocking" has to be one of the best-produced albums I've ever heard. Navarro's guitar sound is simply brilliant, and full marks must go to the Farrell & Jerden for achieving the impossible because I'll guarantee there aren't many albums out there which sound as good as this. Jane's Addiction could easily have been one of the biggest bands on the planet but somehow it managed to escape them.
"Up the Beach" brings us slowly into the album with an almost haunting melody, which then pulls the listener into "Ocean Size", a lively, solo-infused song, pulled along on a medium tempo.
"Nothing's Shocking" has everything and more. If you want funk, "Had a Dad" has that. It you want easy listening, "Summertime Rolls" is your song. Need a monster riff? Try "Mountain Song". There's even an acoustic song thrown into the mix with "Jane Says".
The only downside from a listener's point of view is the subject matter, and that's where the album turns on its head a little with lyrical content including drug use, serial murder and violence. But that's merely a slight problem on a great album.
In summary, there's nothing to hate here. The album sounds good, and after listening to it, you get a sense of where the band wanted to take you, musically. I can't recommend this album enough. Go out and buy it, you won't regret doing so.
1. Up the Beach
2. Ocean Size
3. Had a Dad
4. Ted, Just Admit It
5. Standing in the Shower... Thinking
6. Summertime Rolls
7. Mountain Song
8. Idiots Rule
9. Jane Says
10. Thank You Boys
11. Pigs in Zen
My rating: 9/10
With a line-up of Perry Ferrell (lead vocals), Eric Avery (bass guitar), Stephen Perkins (drums) and Dave Navarro (guitar), Jane's Addiction were able to get their feet up off the ground with the release of "Nothing's Shocking" midway through 1988 as their début album. Considered to be the best of the three the band have put out to date, it failed to really see any sort of mainstream attention around the time. Here the act go in with an alternative Rock approach, with similar Funk-based sounds as had been heard on the debut of Living Colour earlier-on in that year.
The band really set themselves apart from what was popular in the Rock world at this time (in the late eighties) - when it seemed as though Guns 'N' Roses ruled when it came to new acts in this broad field. In spite of this, Jane's Addiction sunk in amongst the others bubbling under in the game, patiently waiting until their second album to gain the buzz that they would have hoped for, and so causing many to look back at what they'd done in the past to get to that point.
This 45-minute-long release may not be especially long, but the band is sure to pack in a lot with the amount of time they have. With the 11 tracks, they were able to give a strong indication of just how much of a variety of styles they were able to explore and how well they can come up with innovative ways to put a spin on what their contemporaries were doing at the time.
The album opens-up in a very dramatic manner. Begging with a cold riff starting things up, it soon opens-out in a much more aggressive manner as the raging guitar sounds pile up and the form into something much more musical once frontman Farrell is ready to lay his chilling vocals on it. It sets the tone for the record, but gives no real indication of where exactly they're taking the album. As it progresses into the main body of the release and "Ocean Size" gets into action, the listeners are exposed to just what would have been popular at the time, and so is highly-likely to have been well-received as they provide a classy, thrashing Rock tune with no care for fitting-in.
They seem to be able to compete with a number of band as they come in with thick guitar sounds to appeal to those more into Hard Rock and Metal (as seen on "Pigs In Zen" and the highly-emotive "Had a Dad"), but they're also sure to oppose this completely by putting out something like "Summertime Rolls" and come with something Acoustic and drawn-out. It would seem that they did best with the former of these approaches, but they still manage to do quite well in all areas that they try out. It would appear that all of the individual tracks has their own identity and isn't just an extension of the one prior to it and so it means that it enables the band to explore many more avenues through their music, as they know that they're capable of coming up with many original ideas which won't just sound like an early experimental of a song found elsewhere from them.
Interestingly, we find that The Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea turns-up to provide the trumpet (not bass) on "Idiots Rule" as the band get down with one of the clearest examples of Funk through the whole release. The track is a real highlight as they come out with a bright and colourful number which is attention-grabbing and sets itself apart from all others on the LP. Another track serving such a purpose is the short, minute-long "Thank you, Boys", where they give a jazzy little short as a bit of a breather from their breakthrough single "Jane Says". If you only know this album for its lead single, it's important to note that it sounds highly reserved when comparing it to the experimental twists and turns throughout the rest of the release, but it still holds its ground as something much more commercial and likeable to those not all that into more underground sounds.
I'd have to recommend this album as it stands as a landmark release not only for the band, but all of the acts at the time attempting to come up when the music world was being shaken-up before the nineties got going. The experimentation here is unmatched as they show an ability to cover Hard Funk in a way that the Red Hot Chili Peppers had already moved away from and take on Hard Rock competitively, and do this all whilst having an overriding Classic Rock feel to give aging rockers something new to get into.
1. "Up The Beach" **Four Stars**
2. "Ocean Size" **Five Stars**
3. "Had A Dad" **Five Stars**
4. "Ted, Just Admit It" **Five Stars**
5. "Standing In The Shower... Thinking" **Five Stars**
6. "Summertime Rolls" **Three Stars**
7. "Mountain Song" **Five Stars**
8. "Idiots Rule" **Five Stars**
9. "Jane Says" **Four Stars**
10. "Thank You Boys" **Four Stars**
11. "Pigs In Zen" **Five Stars**
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Up The Beach
2 Had A Dad
3 Standing In The Shower
4 Jane Says
5 Thank You Boys
6 Mountain Song
7 Summertime Rolls
8 Ted Just Admit It
9 Ocean Size
10 Idiots Rule
11 Pigs In Zen