10 Best Jane’s Addiction Songs
Jane’s Addiction — founded way back in the mid-'80s — is a seminal alt-rock band with colorings of funk, punk, '70s arena rock and glam metal thrown into the mélange, just for good measure. Perry Farell (Perry Bernstein) built the engine for this groundbreaking quartet, the high-octane fuel coming from David Navarro’s blistering guitar work, as well as the wild tribal beats of drummer Stephen Perkins. The bands has had its share of troubles -- over the years, they've broken up several times and cycled through several different bass players -- yet despite these ups and downs, the Jane’s crew has continued to make music and influence innovative rock. These are our picks for the 10 Best Jane's Addiction Songs.
‘Summer Time Rolls’ is a fairly laidback jam and easy entry into the frenetic word of Jane’s Addiction. A lullaby-like bass and gently distorted guitars (a bit of paradox) open this tune up into a massive musical expanse. The overall mood of ‘Summer Time Rolls’ is not unlike something one might experience during a psychological or spiritual epiphany, regardless of whether it's naturally or chemically (or sonically) induced. Psychedelic instrumentation creates a soothing, hypnotic atmosphere for the first part of this tune, which builds into a throttling crescendo by the song’s end.
The title is ‘Stop,’ but the vibe of this turbo-charged track is most definitely “Go!” A nice Spanish language intro gets this number off to hard rock start. Farell and company don’t let up one bit after that, cranking gears into overdrive — with a brief respite in the middle — before Navarro’s feverish guitar solo launches ‘Stop’ into orbit. The pace of this killer song paid off for the lads, landing them a number one spot on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart in 1990.
‘Had A Dad,’ written by bassist Eric Avery and Perry Farrell, is pure punk and angst, taking its verbal wrath out on a father who “made me what I am today.” It's an unusual jam for Jane’s Addiction, in that it’s rather straightforward, without a ton of chaotic time changes or alternative tunings. The impetus behind this ditty was Avery learning the truth about the identity of his real father, which is always great fodder for songs about the trials of youth and becoming a man.
‘Underground,’ next on our list of the 10 Best Jane's Addiction Songs, comes from a relatively new album, ‘The Great Escape Artist,’ released in 2011. While seasoned bands often experiment with new instruments, effects boxes and recording techniques, ‘Underground’ sees these alternative rockers returning to their punk rock and metal roots, along with their legendary “ethereal” song breaks. Big guitars and thunderous drums propel this track — which started life out as a Satellite Party (another Farrell project) song — along a powerful guitar and bass-laden course.
Drums, drums and more drums define the nature of this beast, which takes the listener down into deep valleys and then pushes him off of sonic cliffs, all in order to tell a tale of the notorious serial killer Ted Bundy — and how the media images we imbue have desensitized us to a point where nothing shocks us anymore. Solid guitar riffs, peppered throughout this song and interspersed with several heavily distorted solos, bring the message home. “Camera got them all / Nothing’s shocking / Showed me everybody / Naked and disfigured / Nothing’s shocking.”
No. 5 on our list of the 10 Best Jane's Addiction Songs has a big-sounding title and a sound to match. ‘Ocean Size,’ from ‘Nothing’s Shocking’ is a Farrell jam that deals with homelessness and the pain of being alone in a cruel and indifferent world. If you’re the size of an ocean, nothing can hurt you. Sizzling guitar licks falling down different scales, accompanied by Perry’s banshee-esque screaming, make this a hard rock anthem with a sharp punk edge. It's a tune to remember.
‘Been Caught Stealing,’ from ‘Ritual de lo Habitual,’ brought Jane’s Addiction much wider recognition than the boys had previously enjoyed, thanks in large part to this track’s pop music sensibilities and quirky video, which had the band members shoplifting goods in a supermarket. The song is incredibly easy to dance to, and yet it retains a signature Jane’s “style.” ‘Been Caught Stealing’ is Jane’s Addiction’s most popular single, and thankfully, the band managed to avoid major jail time for any kleptomaniac habits the individual members may have had.
This song is an epic. It’s more than 10 minutes long, and during that time, it travels all over the rock spectrum. Hints of Led Zeppelin and the Doors are woven throughout the structure of this lyrical piece of art. The song starts out soft, with mystical undercurrents, and builds up into several false crescendos before finally the lid finally gets ripped off and these musicians tear into a scorching and deafening chorus of organized destruction, pounding out an orgasmic profusion of hard rock goodness.
Several different versions of the No. 2 entry on our list of the 10 Best Janes Addiction Songs have made their way onto various albums. The first and arguably rawest rendition of this extremely simple but infectious acoustic classic appeared on the band’s self-titled live release. Jane Bainter, who once shared a house with Perry Farrell, is the subject of the lyrics, and she was also the inspiration for the name of the band. The track deals with her epic drug struggles and hard times in general.
Get ready to rock hard, because ‘Mountain Song’ is coming down the music pipeline. This fierce track starts out with a mean sounding bass, followed by a relentless onslaught of slug-you-in-the jaw guitar work. Apparently, this was one of the first tunes Perry Farrell and Eric Avery wrote, before the band had even chosen its iconic name. The track still holds up after all of these years and makes anyone listening want to punch the sky in punk-rock defiance and body-thrashing cheer.