Kettle Whistle: A Musical Let Down 25 Years Later


Connor Shea, A&E Co-editor

November 4th, 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of the punk rock band, Jane’s Addiction, sixth album Kettle Whistle. This album was put together by the band as a sort of compilation for the band’s, then upcoming, “Relapse” tour, consisting of different versions of songs and even unreleased content. The album even featured the bassist for Red Hot Chili Peppers, Flea, who stepped in as a substitute for the band, even co-writing two of the songs. However, despite belonging to one of the most popular underground bands at the time, Kettle Whistle proves to be a huge disappointment even 25 years later. 


To truly understand the bar for anything from Jane’s Addiction, it’s important to know who they are first. The band is very simply known for the extreme, underground grunge style with over the top performances and wild lifestyles like frontman Perry Farrell’s numerous drug addictions or guitarist Dave Navarro’s “alternative” lifestyle with men and women alike. By far the most notable part of the band however is the unique theme for every album, like their 1988 album Nothing’s Shocking, which revolves around the dark theme and aspects of life and humanity as a whole. 


This aspect alone is by far the most disappointing in the Kettle Whistle album. The songs are all compiled from every point in the band’s history, all from an array of albums and even unreleased music that was dropped for whatever reason. Regardless of where the songs came from, they don’t follow a central theme like what the band is known for doing. Each track does not match the one that comes after it, whether that be theme, tone, or in some cases, stories. A perfect example is Been Caught Stealing, followed up by Whores. Been Caught Stealing has a very upbeat and fun tone, matching the thrill of stealing, only to be followed up by the much darker and grittier Whores, which is essentially a polar opposite.


It is important to mention some of the few things that Kettle Whistle did right however, which is simply some of the included tracks. My Cat’s Name Is Maceo is objectively the best “new” song on the album which describes itself as the song is about Farrell’s cat Maceo (which reminds me of my cat Momo). Songs like Three Days, Stop, and Mountain Song return on the album and prove to be very beneficial additions making the album at least tolerable. But beyond this there is not much to look forward to with the album, as even the new songs differ greatly from one another and create a confusing vibe for anyone listening.

Compared to Jane’s Addiction’s other albums, Kettle Whistle can easily be described as one of their worst albums and possibly even the downfall of the band’s reputation, seeing as their later albums don’t have nearly as much of an influence as their earlier works. It’s a shame that not even Flea could be a redeeming quality of this nostalgia blast.