Ritual De Lo Habitual is often credited as one of the most important albums of the alt rock movement that swept through the nineties. I used to listen to Ritual De Lo Habitual on cassette way back when, and as such this album has always been a tale of two sides for me. Side one of this album is excellent. Though obviously different from most of the hard rock I listen to from this same time period, the songs on side one are extremely accessible and sufficiently rockin’. Stop!, No One’s Leaving, Ain’t No Right, Obvious, and Been Caught Stealing comprise the near-perfect album half. All the band members shine on these frenetic numbers. The mercurial weirdo Perry Farrell (who happens to own one of the most punchable faces in rock) provides a refreshingly left-of-center vocal performance, while the perpetually shirtless Dave Navarro has a unique guitar style that give the songs a jangly, spastic edge. Side two is a different animal entirely. These four tunes are longer, mellower, and “artsier”. Farrell and company take us on a long, strange trip through a haze of sex, drugs, and sorrow. You’ll really have to be in a certain mood to enjoy these songs — and that mood rarely strikes me. I guess if I were barefoot and sitting Indian style on the floor surrounded by incense, needles, and bongos I might think differently. Or if I lived in a van.
Ritual De Lo Habitual was originally released with the album cover depicted above. For those stores unwilling to stock an album with a hairy dong on the cover, an alternative cover was issued (see below). My score: A-