Artist – Jane’s Addiction
Album – Nothing’s Shocking
Year – 1988
Genre – Alternative Rock
Jane’s Addiction almost single handedly defined the definition of “alternative.” There was really no sound like theirs at the time Nothing’s Shocking was released, and if this song alone tells you anything, it’s that the band were pioneers of their craft.
If you’re not pretending to play that opening bassline, or humming it, or something, then this is probably your first time hearing it and you will forever play air bass to this. Congratulations, welcome to one of the coolest bass openings of all time. The groove is only broken by frontman and, fun fact, Lollapalooza creator Perry Farrell’s shriek and guitarist Dave Navarro’s wicked guitar that mirrors the bass melody. Now we’re on our way to something special.
Navarro’s guitar is crunchy and the song has one of those riffs you’re going to air guitar to. It flat out rocks, and yet it’s only a couple chords that repeat. Farrell’s distinct yell singing gives this air of power and release to the world. Every band member is perfectly on point with their instruments, and the production on this song will blow you away. This song is hard alternative at its finest. The kick drum pounds like an earthquake, and Farrell’s voice blows like a hurricane gale and is only accentuated by the echo effects the song utilizes liberally.
As Farrell’s cathartic vocals continue, the song never stagnates in its use of repetition. In fact, it never loses any luster from beginning to end, and that’s thanks to Navarro’s work on the solo. Holy jeez is this a cool solo. After being kicked in by a cracking snare roll, the solo with a sliding, echoing, talk-box like effect, followed by some totally unique scratching and almost ghostly plunking sounds and a wailing finish. It showcases a guitarist who’s not afraid to experiment and mess with convention, but who can also craft an iconic riff out of nowhere. Cudos, Dave!
The song ends with some more sweet riffage and a final, hard send off to a song that broke the mold for Alt. Rock, which has never looked back since. As for lyrics, the song is a bit “loose” in it’s lyrical construction to say the least, but that’s what personal interpretation is for, right? To me, it’s a song about letting go of fears and just putting yourself out there. It’s a big world, so “cash in now.”
This song just oozes cool, and for good reason. A sound like this comes around only once in a long, long while. Luckily, this band still tours and was just in town last year, though I didn’t get to go because of, you know, school and responsibilities and…stuff. But hey, if you guys out there get a chance to hear “Mountain Song” live, I’d love to hear about it. Until then though, be sure to turn the volume up for this one.
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