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“Classic Girl” always struck me as an odd choice for a single from the magnificent Ritual De Lo Habitual album. The song wants to be an anthem, but the simple Velvet Underground guitar strums and Perry’s dumb stream-of-semi-consciousness lyrics (“Dinosaurs on the quilt I wore…”) just don’t quite cut it. It’s not anywhere near as anthemic as the exotic vegan waltz “Of Course” or the menage a trois epic “Three Days.” But then again, this isn’t really a single, it’s a fantastic little EP where the title song fits in just fine, thank you. The highlight might be the live “Ain’t No Right” where Perry berates an audience member for throwing a Birkenstock onstage (“He doesn’t even understand fashion!”) Or maybe it’s the blistering, drug fueled “LA Medley,” including covers of The Doors’ “LA Woman” and X’s “Nausea” (too bad Frank Black’s “Los Angeles” wouldn’t be released for another few years). But the centerpiece is really the album track “Then She Did,” which is a sister epic to “Three Days” and evinces the sort of lush, progressive song composition that I wish these guys would have done more often. Exquisitely arranged and produced, this song gets to the real heart of what mattered with the band – the life of the troubled, tortured artist; depression and repetition; death. “Pulled from a headless shell/That blinked on and off ‘hotel’/Now the nameless dwell/They hold your key and turn your knob/I’ll bet.” About as deep as rock music can get without getting pretentious, and yes Jane’s straddled that line quite gracefully.

 

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