On July 22, 2003 "Jane's Addiction" released their third studio album "Strays".
13 years after "Ritual de lo Habitual", "Jane's Addiction" returned to the music scene after an extended hiatus with their highly anticipated album "Strays". True, the band had recorded and released two new songs, on the compilation album "Kettle Whistle" from 1997, but it wasn't a full album. As one of the pioneers of alternative rock, the band had already made their mark with classic albums like "Nothing's Shocking" and "Ritual de lo Habitual". The question on everyone's mind was whether "Strays" could live up to the high standards set by their earlier works.
The band worked on the album with long-time producer Bob Ezrin, who also participated in writing all the songs in the album. It was also the first album to feature to feature bassist Chris Chaney, who co-wrote 3 of the albums 11 tracks.
From the opening track, "True Nature", it became clear that "Jane's Addiction" had not lost their edge. Perry Farrell's signature vocals scream the words "Here we go..." and unleash the musical assult of the rest of the band. Dave Navarro's driving guitars, Chris Chaney's pulsating basslines and Stephen Perkins powerful drumming delivere a powerful and energetic start to the album. No wonder this song eas chosen for the soundtrack of the video game "MLB 2005". This powerful openning proved that "Strays" retained the band's distinctive sound, while incorporating a slightly more polished production, showing "Jane's Addiction's" growth and maturity over the years.
The album's lead single, "Just Because", showcased "Jane's Addiction's" ability to craft catchy hooks and memorable choruses. The song's anthemic quality made it an instant hit and demonstrated that the band could still create music that resonated with a broad audience and still maintain their DNA. The song was one of the most successful in "Jane's Addiction's" history. Their third number one on the Modern Rock Tracks chart.
Throughout "Strays", Dave Navarro's guitar work stood out as a driving force. His riffs and solos added a layer of intensity and depth to each track. Songs like "Superhero", "Suffer Some" (both with the "Red Hot Chili Peppers flavour) and the psycho-metal "Hypersonic" highlighted his uniqe guitar sound and technical prowess, while "Price I Pay", "To Match The Sun" and the title track "Strays" featured a more restrained yet atmospheric guitar-driven sound.
Perry Farrell's vocals were as captivating as ever, displaying a wide range of emotions. Whether he was singing with raw vulnerability in the acoustic ballad "Everybody's Friend" or channeling an enigmatic and almost theatrical persona in the blusy "Wrong Girl", his delivery brought the lyrics to life, drawing listeners into the world of each song.
One of the album's standout tracks was "The Riches", a dynamic and sprawling piece that showcased the band's ability to create music with an epic quality. The song seamlessly shifted between subdued verses and explosive, climactic sections, offering an immersive listening experience.
While "Strays" was a strong album overall, some critics felt that it lacked the raw and unfiltered energy of their earlier works. It was evident that the band had evolved and experimented with their sound, which might have polarized longtime fans expecting the grittier, underground vibes of their earlier albums. Even though, In 2005, "Strays" was ranked number 404 in "Rock Hard" magazine's book "The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time".
In conclusion, "Strays" served as a commendable addition to "Jane's Addiction's" discography. It demonstrated their continued relevance in the alternative rock scene and solidified their status as influential musicians. Though not without some departure from their roots, the album showcased the band's artistic growth and musicianship.