In Not Fade Away, we take a look at the legacy of some of the greatest albums of the past few decades – some iconic, some lesser known – as they celebrate significant anniversaries. Here, we focus on Jane’s Addiction‘s the album that introduced them to radio and MTV, and tore down the walls between what was then called “alternative” music and heavy metal. The record turns 25 this week.
Decades after its release, it routinely pops up on “Best Albums Of All Time” charts. But if anyone ever puts together a “Most Deceptively Titled Albums Of All Time,” Nothing’s Shocking may top that one.
First off, there’s the obvious: that album cover. We can’t show it here, but you know it: the black and white sculpture of two nude women conjoined at the shoulder and hips sitting on a chair with their hair on fire.
And speaking of sex and violence, there was the song whose lyrics gave the album its name, “Ted, Just Admit It,” which featured a sample of an interview clip with murderer Ted Bundy. The lyrics “Showed me everybody naked and disfigured/ Nothing’s shocking/ Now sister’s not a virgin anymore/ er sex is violent…” led to a chanting of “Sex! Is! Violent!” Yes, Jane’s was a quintessentially L.A. band, but this wasn’t what Sunset Strippers Mötley Crüe, Ratt and Poison were singing about.
And the frontman, Perry Farrell: a white, dreadlocked banshee who didn’t sing, at least in the conventional sense. He was like Jim Morrison, David Bowie, David Johansen, Iggy Pop and Michael Stipe rolled into one wild-eyed, bursting-with-energy, surfer-dude. He was a hippie, he was a punk, he was a shaman and he was a huckster.