Everyone that had MTV who was born before 1980 and after 1960 probably remembers “Right Here, Right Now” from Jesus Jones. That single, which had a video debut in 1990, sort of an anthem going into the next decade which began with the Berlin Wall crumbling and the Soviet Union collapsing soon afterward. It was a “Buzz Clip” for I don’t know how many months.
After “Right Here, Right Now,” which turned their album Doubt into an international hit, played its course, Jesus Jones seems to have fallen off the map for most Americans.
It’s not that they didn’t try to re-enter the market though.
Almost two years to the day that Doubt was released (Jan. 29, 1991), Jesus Jones released their third studio album, Perverse, on Jan. 25, 1993.
Unfortunately for Jesus Jones, Perverse didn’t even really appear on the U.S. radar and the band was largely forgotten except for “Right Here, Right Now” appearing on a variety of “Greatest Hits of the 90s” compilations.
I was actually aware of Perverse when it was released. The first single, “The Devil You Know” premiered on MTV’s 120 Minutes. That was the only time I saw it. Why it didn’t get more airplay, I’m not sure. It’s on par with “Right Here, Right Now” and could have possibly been a hit itself. Fickle corporate MTV programmers, I guess.
Anyway, I was interested in the album, but soon forgot about it. I might’ve saw it on the shelves a couple of times, but I was always looking for another album at the time.
Now, if you didn’t know, Jesus Jones is not the name of the singer. His name is Mike Edwards and he is also credited with writing most of the songs as well. Joining him are Jerry De Borg on guitars, Al Doughty on bass guitar, Iain Baker on keyboards and Gen on drums.
So let’s see if I missed out by skipping over this one in the early 90s.
Perverse is notable for being the first album entirely recorded, except for the vocals, onto a computer. Instead of hard drives or clouds, the tracks were put onto floppy discs, something many people who read this may be too young to remember.
So, how is Perverse?
“Zeroes and Ones” gives the album an energetic kick off with Jesus Jones’ brand of electronic dance and rock fusion. It’s lyrically somewhat prophetic with its talk of computers and chorus of “zeroes and ones will take us there” in regards to the future. It’s catchy and kind of pumps you up for what’s to come.
“The Devil You Know” is another catchy song, and, I think, the best on the album. Edwards’ raspy vocals really make this make this song. It’s not as high energy as “Zeroes and Ones” but Edwards’ delivery actually elevates it above its predecessor. Combined with the eastern-style melody that is sprinked throughout the song and you get sort of an ethereal feel throughout.
“Magazine” is another fast pace song that is pretty memorable. I could swear I hear a sample from the video game “Punch Out” on here. Which seems kind of surreal nowadays considering this song is about distortions propagated by the media (though probably more about British media which was infamous for its dirt digging and paparazzi at the time) which Trump loves to blame for all his problems if he’s not blaming Democrats.
Another song notable for the fact that it outright sucks is “The Right Decision.” Everything in it is something you heard before, but less-well done and just jammed together in a way that evokes the finding toilet paper that had been dropped in the toilet back on the roll.
“The Right Decision” reflects a problem you find later in the album. Some of the tracks sound a lot like songs other, better songs on the album, but not as enjoyable. Kind of like they only made half an album, ran out of ideas and half-assed the rest.
Other stand out tracks include the dark and slow “Yellow Brown,” the relentless “Your Crusade,” the eastern-flaired “Tongue Tied” and the frentic “Spiral.” They’re good, but they aren’t as inviting for second listening like “Zeroes and Ones” or “The Devil You Know.”
Would I recommend this album?
Well, there is one great song, two good songs and four OK songs, which makes the album overall pretty good, compared to a lot of the other one-hit wonders at the time. Now, not all of the other songs are what I would call “bad,” but they’re just kind of there.
I can’t say “go out and buy Perverse” but I would say “check it out on YouTube.” All the songs are there and you can listen for free. If it speaks to you, then buy it.