Jane says to stop being so selfish and do something to make someone smile.
On the propulsive “Just Because,” Jane’s Addiction’s first new song in six years, frontman Perry Farrell delivers a message of hope in a time of turmoil.
“It’s about people’s ability to stoke each other out for no other reason than just because,” he said. “It’s very rare when a person will just make ya a bagel just because. I wanted to plant a seed that hopefully will become kind of infectious with people doing things for each other just because.”
One of many potential singles from Strays, the band’s first studio record in 13 years, “Just Because” encapsulates the energy and positivity of the rest of the album, a joyous celebration of life peppered with pointers about how to make the world a better place without stalling the party.
“When I’m writing for Jane’s Addiction, I never leave you in doubt,” said the spiritual singer. “I’ll either give you a solution or I’ll raise a glass and say, ‘Let’s have a toast,’ or I’ll get slinky in the corner with somebody. I like to have a good time because I don’t want to bum people out. Music should lift you and music should give you a feeling of celebration. It’s a very positive vibe.”
Musically, Strays blends the kinetic drama of the band’s 1988 record, Nothing’s Shocking, with the sonic exploration of their second disc, 1990’s Ritual de lo Habitual, but does so cleanly and concisely, filtering grandiose themes into four-minute songs tailor-made for rock radio.
“It’s harder to keep us from squiggling than to ask us to squiggle,” Farrell explained. “If you let us go, we would come up with a 20-minute song. That’s squiggling. We know how to squiggle and wiggle. But it’s harder to say, ‘Now, guys, stop moving a little bit so I can see you.’ ”
“For the first time we really approached it saying, ‘OK, let’s write a song that has part “A,” part “B,” a bridge, and then ends,’ guitarist Dave Navarro elaborated. “We’re still able to take you on a sonic journey, we’ve just been able to compact it a bit more.”
To the average fan, the title Strays might not seem as declarative or flamboyant as Nothing’s Shocking or Ritual de lo Habitual, but it has a special meaning for Farrell, who has often felt like a stray dog wandering the street.
“I came up to California as a stray,” he explained. “I’m a Greyhound Kid. And then I ran into these guys [to form Jane’s in 1984], and we got together for a short time and had an incredible time and an incredible journey. And then we all strayed off [in 1991]. And then almost 13 years later, we strayed back together. And it feels great.”