Released in 1988, the sophomore album from Jane’s Addiction, Nothing’s Shocking, was an outlier from the Los Angeles music scene. At the time, LA was the epicenter for overproduced, uninspired, and banal heavy metal. Aside from GnR’s Appetite for Destruction, MTV and the radio were dominated by the likes of Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, and Poison. Jane’s Addiction didn’t fit in with this music, or pop, or anywhere else mainstream music was heard. However, the album is a pillar of alternative music and it stood proudly as a contrast to the saccharine bullshit of the time.
Jane’s Addiction, which was Perry Farrell (vocals), Dave Navarro (guitar), Eric Avery (bass), and Stephen Perkins (drums), was an underground juggernaut by the time the album was released. Their eponymous first album had sold well among fans but didn’t get much fanfare outside of those circles. Nothing’s Shocking really thrust the band into the musical consciousness. At a little over 45 minutes in length, the music assaults the listener with a furious and original approach and doesn’t let up until the end.
Nothing’s Shocking is one of those rare albums that doesn’t really have any throwaway tracks. It’s all killer, no filler. For my money, the top tracks (on an album that’s arguably all top tracks) are Ted, Just Admit It, Summertime Rolls, Mountain Song, and Pigs in Zen. Much more is made of Jane Says, mostly because it’s the most commercially accessible song on the album, but I feel there are better songs. Not to take anything away from Jane Says.
The band was also the epitome of the candle burning too brightly. They broke up many times, only releasing four “official” studio albums. However, their legacy is cemented through their body of work and live shows, including the creation and continuation of the Lollapalooza tours. If you haven’t given it a listen recently, strap on some ear goggles and give Nothing’s Shocking a go. You’ll be amazed at how well it’s stood up.