The wait is finally over. We should put extra emphasis on that wait because it is referring to the eight years we went without a new Jane’s Addiction studio album. We tried covering up the music void with tunes from an array of alternative rock bands, but the tracks only proved to be a temporary fix. Nothing hits our psychedelic cravings like Jane’s Addiction songs. So, it’s goodbye to the posers and hello again to the rock legends, Perry Farrell, Dave Navarro and Stephen Perkins.
Before we dive into our analysis of the band’s fourth studio album, we just want to get one thing straight. Of course, the trio’s sound is a bit different from the “Nothing’s Shocking” days, but this “change” has only strengthened their iconic status. We tend to blame the technological advancements for hurting the music industry. Yes, the industry has been damaged, but there have been improvements; one being an album’s sound quality. Jane’s Addiction have not only used these advancements thoroughly, but also found a way to adapt to them without losing their intriguing flare. “The Great Escape Artist” is Jane’s Addiction to the tee just with a crisper sound.
Right from the start, the album takes you on a journey with the opening track, “Underground”. Farrell is one of our all time favorite singers and “Underground” makes that even clearer. His vocal depth is endless. When Farrell lets out the first note of the tune, doors swing open and a mysterious feeling positively overwhelms us. Not knowing what’s behind those doors is not the least bit unsettling because we trust Jane’s Addiction with unleashing our wild side in the most appropriate way.
“Underground” leaves you hungry for more. The track reassures you that “The Great Escape Artist” will stick to Jane’s Addiction’s authentic and timeless sound. “Splash A Little Water On It” oozes with this authenticity and is hands down our favorite track off the album. The five-minute tune showcases Jane’s Addiction’s ability to create catchy tracks that are infused with cryptic wording. It’s a song you can sing along to, but more importantly it’s a song you can get lost in, free of your problems. The effect “Splash A Little Water On It” has on the listener defines the meaning behind the album’s title. If you’ve been following our Jane’s Addiction coverage these past months, you might remember Stephen Perkins telling Shockya that “The Great Escape Artist” is about escaping from reality and that is exactly what “Splash A Little Water On It” allows the listener to do. This skill is a whole lot easier said than done. We have come across a select few bands that are able to communicate that intensely with the listener without physically being present. The Beatles are at the top of this pack, but Jane’s Addiction is coming on strong.
We could go on and on about “Splash A Little Water On It”, but embracing the freedom of Jane’s Addiction music, we’ll let you Shockya readers concoct your own way of how the track allows you to escape. We won’t impose our music therapy sessions on you anymore. Let’s move on to our second favorite track, “Broken People”. Aside from the lyrics, the melodic arrangement of this tune is what drew us right in. We are suckers for alternative rockers singing along to slower paced melodies. Ballads just reveal vulnerability and what’s more appealing than a rockstar letting his guard down? Farrell opens up the song with “Welcome to the world, welcome to the aching world….” The somber lyrics match perfectly with Farrell’s passion filled vocals. We like to imagine Farrell is leaning on our shoulder as he lets his emotions run free. As the track progresses, the tempo speeds up and Navarro’s guitar shredding is at the forefront. He delivers and adds another chapter to a track that reads like a story with no definitive ending.
We could discuss each tune off of “The Great Escape Artist” in detail, but with the NYC mentality of constantly rushing, we will stick to listing our top picks in case your day follows a similar pace. Our honorable mentions go to “Curiosity Kills”, “I’ll Hit You Back” and “Twisted Tales”. The other tunes off the album, “End To The Lies”, “Irresistible Force”, “Words Right Out Of My Mouth”, and “Ultimate Reason” are well-rounded songs, lyrically and instrumentally, as well.
Simply put, “The Great Escape Artist” was well worth the wait and continues the psychedelic rock journey the group started in the 90s.
by Lonnie Nemiroff