Michael Stack | North Chelmsford, MA USA | 06/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the most original and unique records of its era, "Nothing's Shocking" is the album that turned into the bar for alternative music. In many ways the LA variant of grunge, Jane's Addiction successfully combines the sounds of '70s arena rock with a punk sensibility and a post-punk feel, adding Perry Farrell's esoteric and often dense lyrics on top of this. While commercial success would follow with "Ritual de lo Habitual", its controversial artwork and its hit single, this is in my assessment the superior album, and the benchmark for alternative music since. Its a testament to Jane's Addiction that few records have been able to match this.
Admittedly, Jane's is probably not for everyone-- its hard to deny the instrumental prowess of this band: guitarist Dave Navarro can wail away with the best of them, and its through him that the influence of '70s and '80s arena sounds come through. Bassist Eric Avery has a very different sensibility, if there's one thing about Avery, its that he's really a master of sitting in a pocket, whether featured in a melodic context or even just marching to the guitar line-- he phrases slightly off to provide that sort of groove feeling. And drummer Stephen Perkins is probably the best of his generation, with a fine technique and an expressiveness that is really quite rare to find in modern drummers. But the band's calling card is really Perry Farrell, and he's the kind of thing you sort of like or dislike straight off-- his kind of punk-meets-Queen vocal approach, very much over the top the way Freddie Mercury was, but filtering out much of the technique in place of passion and a raw wail. It's not for everyone.
Getting past the band, the music on this album is intense-- their proclivity for rambling, musically, further accentuates the tighter material, and they manage to strike a fine balance between the two that they'd miss on future releases. Avery and Perkins lock together and provide propulsive foundations, laid back grooves, and ambiance to the pieces-- Navarro either explodes or focuses on color, and Farrell maintains a surrealist presence, drifting, seemingly randomly at times, in and out of the pieces, content to babble abstractly rather than provide coherent lyrics at times. It sounds like a mess, but it works well, from the explosive "Ocean Size"-- a driven modern rock anthem to the funky, laid back, atmospheric and deeply disturbing "Ted, Just Admit It" (about serial killer Ted Bundy) to the delicate, lilting ballad "Summertime Rolls". The band could rock ("Mountain Song"), swing ("Thank You Boys") and get plain funky ("Idiots Rule"), or move into a delicate mode with acoustic guitars and steel drums (single "Jane Says"). And for the album closer, they give in to Farrell's most self indulgent tendency with the totally bizarre "Pigs in Zen", an alternative masterpiece that needs to be heard to be explained.
The members of the band would manage one more album before literally getting into fist fights on-stage at Farrell brainchild Lollapalooza, and while they've all gone on to produce some great music outside of the band, none of them would quite reach this level. Essential listening."
This is an Acid-Trip and a Metal-Funk Explosion in One
a guy | 10/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Amazon reviewer says that the songs on this album aren't as good as those on "Ritual De Lo Habitual," but that this album is "much more consistent." What is that supposed to mean? This album DEFINED Janes Addiction and set them apart from the world of hair-band slop during the late Eighties. It's "much more consistent" than "Ritual" because it's much BETTER than "Ritual." "Nothing's Shocking" showed us that bands don't have to follow formulas to be successful. This album defied categorization at the time. Is it metal, like Metallica? Is it alternative, like The Smiths? Is it funk-based like Red Hot Chili Peppers? The answers are, YES, YES, and YES. With Eric Avery's pounding bass-rhythms and Stephen Perkins' virtuoso percussions providing the true foundation of the music, Dave Navarro's trippy/Zep-esque guitars were free to weave a tapestry of sound that was complimented by an unconventional singer/screamer in Perry Farrell. Metalheads could appreciate songs like "Had A Dad," "Mountain Song," and "Pigs in Zen" while the alternative crowd got into the more psychedelic and funk-based songs like "Summertime Rolls" and "Idiots Rule." This is the definitive Janes Addiction album. "Ritual" was more pop-heavy and erratic, wheras this album is dark, often funny, daring, emotional, and much more involved with the human spirit than "Ritual." It really is the perfect encapsulation of the power of Janes Addiction, and it should not be overlooked in favor of their more radio-friendly, but thematically inferior second studio album, "Ritual De Lo Habitual.""
No talking, all action
the_ninja | 04/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nothing's Shocking is one of the most amazing displays of musical force there is. The primal, screaming energy contained within is a revelation in the purest sense. Although it's not nearly as raging today as it was when it was released, it still contains enough power to impress anyone.The music is incredible. Perry Farrell's manic howls provide some of the best lyrics that can be found in alternative rock. Dave Navarro plays guitar like a maniac, and Eric Avery's bass is what truly helps drive the band, simple yet utterly brilliant. Stephen Perkin's drumming is incredible. Every song on this album is good.The opener, "Up The Beach" is a sort of swaying, gentle track that provides a perfect introduction. "Ocean Size" hits with the force of a tidal wave - play the song LOUD. "Had a Dad" is melodic and groovy, and truly excellent. "Ted, Just Admit It" is an epic, funky song. "Standing in the Shower . . . Thinking" is a quick, hard blast of funk. "Summertime Rolls" is a great song with a sort of dream-like quality."Mountain Song" is simply one of the greatest things ever recorded. The bassline is one of the best ever, and the song explodes with a force that dwarfs most others. Perry howling "coming down the mountain . . ." and "cash in now, honey" will send chills down your spine. "Idiots Rule" rocks. "Jane Says" is a classic, one of the all-time great songs. "Pigs in Zen" is a brilliant, clever, insightful song, listen closely.Nothing's Shocking is simply an album you have to own."
a guy | 04/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So many people talk about how some album changed their lives, and quite a few of them list this as one of those albums. The reason for that? IT'S TRUE!!!!
NOTHING'S SHOCKING came out when I was in high school and was listening to a lot of heavy metal. To me, what was "alternative" was just new wave crap or weird stuff with no intensity. Little did I know. I heard a guy talking about a song off this album, so I asked a guy I knew who I knew listened to "weird" music and he let me borrow a copy of it. From the first few seconds, I fell in love and asked my friend for more music. He steered me in new directions and I have never looked back. Everyone NEEDS to hear this album to believe it."