In the midst of singing about sex and debauchery of different forms, Farrell has always—in my mind—danced around the spiritual. Go back to Ritual de lo Habitual with “Three Days,” and you find a mash-up of a sex fantasy and the three days of Christ in the grave. The song goes in the complete wrong direction according to God’s ways, but the song also orchestrates hard rock in a way that points to something bigger than the amoral vision it paints.
Return now to 2011’s reformed Jane’s Addiction, and this time the brooding swagger of “Irresistible Force (Met the Immovable Object)” walks up to the spiritual. On the one hand, the song appears to be about the band’s success. They are the irresistible force. On the other hand, “God is a real man.” He’s the irresistible force, the immovable object. Jane’s Addiction may have achieved superstar status, but could it be that God is real, God is their “dad,” God is the One over all things? The song’s probably too coded to get to the real heart, but a spiritual inkling’s certainly showing.
“Broken People,” a laidback, spacey, late night track—with blasts of intensity—honestly looks at the reality of who we are as people. “Welcome to this world/Welcome to the aching world/A woeful world/Of broken people.” Here’s the admission of sin having its way with us. Here’s the admission of a need for this world to be repaired and restored. The song itself doesn’t offer much hope: “Help them out?/No, you can’t help them out/Not even you/They’ll break you in two.” Certainly that’s what happened to Jesus: they broke Him when He tried to help the broken people. Thankfully, He did rise again and does have the power and compassion to still help this woeful world.
Finally, for two other deeper explorations on The Great Escape Artist, turn to “End to the Lies” and “Curiosity Kills.” “End to the Lies” sounds like classic Jane’s with a little more effects throw in for good measure. The song could be the words of Truth speaking out in anger against all of the lies that go on in its name. “Curiosity Kills” works its muscles as it contemplates love, death, and meaning to this life.