1990, Music

Ritual de lo habitual (1990) by Jane’s Addiction

I don’t know what I was expecting when I finally got around to listening to this record, but it wasn’t this. That is sometimes a good thing, sometimes a bad thing. But expectations always mess with our appreciation. Hopefully I can get through mine.
First of all, I finally understand why Navarro is a guitar hero to a certain generation. I had never understood why before, but had rarely heard him play. Aside from Slash (who is, by the way, much better), I can’t think of another guitar player to embrace classic rock guitar like Navarro does here. That’s pretty rare for this era.
Their diversity is a plus. And the muscle that is sometimes detectable is a plus as well. So let me try to articulate my issues.
My issues are, I think, two:
First, the songs. Farrell’s lyrics – when he isn’t shouting them or being repetitive – are reasonably interesting. But the songs underlying them are not exactly memorable. Maybe a couple of them are. There is a lack of clear hooks, which wouldn’t be a problem if I was more impressed with the musicianship than I am.
The second problem, for me, i the production, which is thin and muddy and sometimes unnecessarily “psychedelic” (like the echo that seems to be constantly applied to Farrell’s voice). I feel like, had this been recorded and mixed better, I might not quibble with the songs as much.
Those two quibbles being said, this is still pretty unique stuff. Far more psychedelic and proggy than the other “funk metal” at the time. These guys were very much on their own path. And maybe I just need more time to appreciate that.

7/10

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