Ritual de lo Habitual

Jane’s Addiction

1990: Warner Bros. 9 25993-2

  1. Stop!
  2. No One’s Leaving
  3. Ain’t No Right
  4. Obvious
  5. Been Caught Stealing
  6. Three Days
  7. Then She Did…
  8. Of Course
  9. Classic Girl

The question then (following up on consideration of Nothing’s Shocking) is this: Is Ritual de lo Habitual a perfect album? All I can say is that I cannot think of another album in my collection that quite reaches this level of perfection…every song contributing, in order, to the powerhouse construction of this assembly of musical and conceptual might.

Originally I didn’t think so. But that was in the early 1990s, when my first copy of this was a dub onto cassette which didn’t have room for the final track in its entirety. And without “Classic Girl,” the album does in fact end wrongly; with it, …incredible power. Perry Farrell isn’t so much “singing” on this album as playing harmonized jet engines, it’s so amazingly strong and precise even in its furious disregard for exact notes. I listen to it with skeptical scrutiny and can only concede in the end that “Obvious” is the album’s weakest track. Well my GOD, consider that, “Obvious” as a “weak” track….

Ritual de lo Habitual is a mind-blowing album, far and above anything else I’ve ever considered. I’ve heard better music, better songs, more beautiful evocations…but this ensemble shot the moon and didn’t miss. I cannot listen to this CD with any semblance of indifference, and hearing only one song from it seems like a rip-off. Also, as Kate Bush’s liner note for The Dreaming suggests that the album is meant to be played LOUD, Ritual de lo Habitual should ideally be played loud enough to shatter your windows; if it doesn’t sound like Perry Farrell is the conduit for a solar flare, you’re not playing it loud enough.