Jane's Addiction

Ritual De La Habitual

Jane's Addiction - Ritual De La Habitual ©1990 Warner Bros.
1. Stop!
2. No One's Leaving
3. Ain't No Right
4. Obvious
5. Been Caught Stealing
6. Three Days
7. Then She Did...
8. Of Course
9. Classic Girl

Having already captured the attention of counterculture and the media with their supposedly shocking cover art with 1988's Nothing's Shocking, Jane's Addiction was poised to catapult themselves to the bigtime with Ritual de la Habitual. And in fact, that is precisely what they did with this monumental album that was full of both radio rock hits and adventurous, progressive and challenging songs. Again, Jane's Addiction used the medium of cover art to capture even more attention by releasing two versions. One version featured another mildly risque cover, although the collage-art was about as erotic as perhaps your great Aunt Bertha mudwrestling with Jenny Craig dropouts. The other version, which was presumably meant for the uptight chain stores who refused to carry questionable material, simply stated the first amendment in plain white packaging. Moreover, the liner notes on the inside feature a rant about art, so you can quickly surmise Jane's Addiction was holding no punches with the album.

The album is split into two halves. Those who actually have cassettes will probably note this more readily than those who have CDs. The first five songs tend to dwell in the more modern rock field than the final four. Certainly everyone has heard the barking dogs that usher in the radio hit "Been Caught Stealing" while album opener "Stop!" is one of the most grooving, bouncy songs in the band's catalogue. The latter half of the album is where the band shines. Not too many bands in the mainstream at the time would challenge their listeners by throwing three lengthy, somewhat artsy tracks in a row. However, the trio of "Three Days" (with ambiguous lyrics about a threesome), "Then She Did..." and "Of Course" proved it could be done and done quite well, thank you very much. Although Jane's Addiction was often perceived as singer Perry Farrell's toy, the true strength of the band was derived from the talents of his backing band. Drummer Stephen Perkins shines with his creative and powerful rhythms, often elevating the song to new heights. Guitarist Dave Navarro is also equally creative with his parts with bassist Eric Avery underscoring everything very precisely and appropriately. The music being presented was truly an alternative at the time and three of the band's most moving, powerful numbers.

Jane's Addiction proceeded to found the Lollapallooza festival which ran for several years as a touring freak show and "alternative rock" package. However, the quartet disbanded after 1991's tour, allowing their legacy to remain intact for most of the 90s. If nothing else, Ritual de la Habitual stands as one of the most impressive rock moments of the decade and set the tone for the quasi-alternative rock trends to come.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/2002

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