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1988 and Bon Jovi are the biggest band on earth. Livin' On A Prayer was the biggest rock single and Poison (Poison!) were making a killing, selling albums by the truckload.
Rock's image was pink-candy and exploitative. Lyrics were banal and hair was poodle-massive.
David Lee Roth was something of a guru.
And then this album happened and killed the whole ridiculous, soulless scene. A band appeared with integrity, sexuality, black-magic intrigue and, my oh my, talent. They had tonnes of that.
Not only were they starnge, but they were brilliant. And they rocked!
Who do you compare them to? Led Zeppelin, definitely. After that, you were in pretty new territory. Nobody had, or does, sing like Perry Farrell. A wailing androgeny of noise that, somehow, remains a thing of beauty. A force of nature in a man's lungs.
And the songs. No wonder Bon Jovi went on a five year hiatus. From the pounding, spiritual of Up The Beach, all crushing waves and that beguiling backswards loop of Farrell's voice, to the filth of "Pigs In Zen", brutal, precise, catchy. It was all such a trip.
Stand-outs, though are "Ted, Just Admit It", a long discourse on the morals of sex and violence, bound together by a hypnotic bass-line and a chilling voice-over of denial from the then serial-killer-of-the-month Ted Bundy. Then there's "Idiots Rule" which is as funky an anthem as the Generation Xers could ever wish for.
Top of the pile, though, is the epic, spacial "Summertime Rolls". And for all its vastness it's only about a single pure memory of a Summer. At once uplifting and intimate, dense as syrup but razor sharp, this was probably the tune which most convinced me that Jane's Addiction had been left here by martians.
They were just incredible.
Buy it. You'll like it.
Of course the tables soon turn as you are thrown headlong into the warm embrace of "Summertime Rolls". Soon followed by the strangely miss-fitting 'jazz club' melody of "Thank You Boys".
Nothing's Shocking is an all-out aural attack which will leave you reeling. It's an album you not only hear, you really feel it too!