Strays is the first new album from Jane’s Addiction since their break-up in 1991.
Fans of early ’90s alternative rock eagerly awaited the new album, as well as the comeback of the Lollapalooza tour, which was founded by Jane’s frontman Perry Farrell.
The flashy video for the first single “Just Because” features Farrell and Jane’s handsome and multi-pierced guitarist Dave Navarro in full rock star mode, complete with shiny pants. Navarro has been getting a lot of exposure lately for playing with other artists and releasing a solo album, but now he is making some music of his own back with Jane’s.
Despite how exciting it was to be seeing a new Jane’s Addiction video on MTV, “Just Because” seemed cold behind the wall of guitars used in the song.
However, “Just Because” is not representative of the whole album.
There is a good mixture of styles on this album, including songs that are a bit slower in tempo, like the last song “To Match the Sun,” as well as songs like “Just Because” with massive walls of guitar.
However, there are also many songs on the album that are the patented Jane’s Addiction funk and punk mixture. If anything can be said for Strays, it’s loud, and it gets better with repeated listens.
There are several standout tracks on the album. One would be “Riches.”
It has a great, positive, party feel to it where the true fun of Jane’s Addiction comes through (for those who have seen the “Been Caught Stealing” video, you will have an idea), and has standout lyrics.
“Wrong Girl” is a song with a punk feel, full of edgy energy, with scorching guitar solos from Navarro and a fantastic vocal performance that is classic Farrell.
As only he can, Farrell’s voice sounds aggressive, full of attitude and a typical punk snarl while at the same time it brings occasional shimmering and melodic moments in the song.
The song also includes another set of great lyrics starting out with a line partly copped from Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew “You messed with the wrong girl/ she’s small but she’s fierce.”
Strays does deliver on being a loud rock and roll album, even if it falls short when it’s not consistent with the classic Jane’s style. It’s not the best Jane’s Addiction have ever done. That honor goes to “Ritual de lo Habitual.”
However, Strays is still highly enjoyable.