Thoughts on the new album, "The Great Escape Artist"...
I've listened to the new album about 10 tens through now and I thought this might be a good place to share some thoughts. I'll preface what I'm about to say with the fact that I am a long time, die hard fan and JA is still my favorite band of all time. Having said that, I still have mixed emotions about their newest offering.
One of the first things I noticed was the surprising lack of guitar solos. In full disclosure, I'm a guitar player and Dave Navarro had a huge influence on me. Now before someone says, "they only people that care about guitar solos are guitar players" (which is mostly true) I feel that Dave's leads played a major part in their first three albums. I think 90% of those tunes had a solo or obvious lead break. On the new album, and to a lesser extent on Strays as well, its practically the opposite. So I wondering why that is? I know Dave can still rip leads like no one's business because I've seen him do it on multiple occasions so I don't think its because his chops are failing him. Is this a by product of just maturing as a musician? I heard Perry say at one time (pre-PFP if I remember correctly) that if it was up to him he wouldn't be a part of songs that had guitar solos (or something to that effect). Is this Perry getting his wish? Or is there something I'm missing entirely? Either way, this new album has definitely left me wanting more in that department...
Perry's singing and vocals, on the other hand, have matured in a good way. He never was your typical rock/metal singer and the guy still impresses me to this day. With a few exceptions, almost everything he has ever put out has been a pleasure to listen to. He has certainly mellowed out over the years but never fails to meet expectations. I especially enjoyed his work on "Twisted Tales" and "Broken People".
Perks drumming... as far as I'm concerned this guy can do no wrong. His playing is either incredible or incredibly suited for everything he does. I wonder if the band realizes how fortunate they are to have such a world-class drummer.
Finally, I have to address Eric's absence. Having a few albums now to compare JA with and without Eric, I've come to the conclusion that he was actually a big part of their sound and presence. I'm not sure how much he was involved in writing those original batch of tunes but in my mind, JA was better with Eric. What would a lot of songs be without Eric's baselines? Three Days, Summertime Rolls, I Would For You... Some of these songs just wouldn't be the same without what he added... I've been in bands before and I know that personality conflicts are inevitable. It's a shame that it appears that it just isn't in the cards for him to be a part of JA going forward.
Overall, I like the album but then again I have a lot of respect for anything these guys do. Admittedly I long for more of the music they created over 20 years ago but in the end, I'm thankful that my favorite band of all time is still out there making music and rocking faces!
Replies to This Posting
Re: Thoughts on the new album,
"Having a few albums now to compare JA with and without Eric"
Not entirely fair though. It's not just JA without Eric, it's JA without Eric and 15 - 20 years later. JA with Eric would still sound different 15 - 20 years later.
Over that amount of time things change. The band members musical interests, playing styles/techniques, drives & motivations. The music industry itself, the studios, producers engineers and their techniques. The audience changes too, and even for us old time fans who were there from the beginning, we change. Our perception of music and how we hear it changes.
It's just not that easy to recreate 'that old magic' and that's assuming the band even wants to recreate 'that old magic' which I think it's safe to say in Jane's case they don't.
They are happy to have moved on I'm sure, and try new things. I'm just happy they are still putting out new and interesting music to listen too. At least it is still better then the mass of crap that's flooded the airways since the mid 90's
Re: Thoughts on the new album,
if you add a different color; you change the art
it's great art.
Re: Thoughts on the new album, "The Great Escape Artist"...
Thought the same about the guitar solos. I also see some great opportunities for some live versions, in the new songs, for Dave to let it rip. It will be interesting to see how they play them live. I am just glad the new album sounds so good. Looking forward to the show!!
RE: Thoughts on the new album, "The Great Escape Artist"...
With the 'loudness war' being what it is these days, I downloaded the first track of the new album from bit torrent to preview before going into the store to buy. This music sounds goddam awful - hyper dynamically compressed to the point almost every loud transient peak is clipped. The level meter is pegged in the red. A wall of distortion! Totally different from early great sounding albums like Ritual de lo Habitual.
No wonder record companies are a dying breed- expecting us to pay money for shit like this? I wont even consider downloading the rest for free. Sorry Janes Addiction- you have blown it.