I’ll say this: it takes some balls to name your band kinda after what is clearly your signature song, especially when that signature song doesn’t sound anything like the rest of your music.
With 884 layers of acoustic guitars playing a couple of chords back and forth colored only by steel drums, “Jane Says” is almost ridiculously pretty on the face, with only Perry Farrell’s strained, weirdly empathetic vocal signaling the horrific tale of addiction in the lyrics.
On one level, it could be an answer song to “Sweet Jane,” only Jane’s life has taken a bit of a turn for the worse.
Jane says, “I’m done with Sergio”
He treats me like a ragdoll”
She hides the television
Says, “I don’t owe him nothing,
But if he comes back again
Tell him to wait right here for me or
Try again tomorrow
I’m gonna kick tomorrow
I’m gonna kick tomorrow”
If you’ve spent any time with addicts, the pleading, wailing multitude of Perry Farrells promising to kick tomorrow should come with its own goddamn trigger warning. But of course in the miserable late summer of 1988, nothing came with a trigger warning, so those of us spending time with addicts either had the choice to sing along or turn off the goddamned radio, which seemed like it was playing “Jane Says” pretty much every moment of every day.
Which of course, it wasn’t, since it was playing “Sweet Child Of Mine” every moment of every day.
So even though I could objectively hear just how fucking great “Jane Says” was and is, I also got incredibly sick of hearing it all of the time, and I’m only now realizing that it was probably because it maybe hit too damn close to home.
All these years later, and I can hear it with fresh ears and marvel at all of its contradictions and beauty.
“Jane Says” performed live in 1997
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