Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication: Album Review

Available On Amazon

Californication is the essential funk rock album, as well as the most matured and commercially successful Red Hot Chili Peppers album. The Peppers have grown from a funk rock band to an ICONIC funk rock band with this album, while keeping their unique freakish image. Californication speaks of personal issues such as lust, drug abuse, death, and contemplation of suicide. “Around the world” is about front man Anthony Kiedis’ journeys and experiences as a Pepper. The title track, “Californication”, took a sarcastic spin on the Hollywood lifestyle, referencing Kurt Cobain of Nirvana. There are also occasional instances where Anthony Kiedis contemplated the matter of love, such as in “Porcelain” and “This Velvet Glove”.

The song “Otherside”, of which title refers to afterlife, speaks of addictions and the struggles addicted individuals have to go through. This song specifically refers to Hillel Slovak, a former Pepper who died of a heroin overdose in 1988. Speaking generally, “Otherside” refers to any similar situation where people find themselves going in circles and unable to change for the better: “I tear it down tear it down, and then it’s born again.”

Probably the most iconic song of the set, “Scar Tissue”, talks openly about death and suicide. Its lyrics, “Scar tissue that I wish you saw”, instantly strikes an emotional chord that lingers on until the next iconic line: “With the birds I share this lonely view”.

 

Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication  Album CD

Photo: By Sven Mandel (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Instrumentation

 Red Hot Chili Peppers have always been known for Anthony Kiedis’ emotional vocals and Flea’s rich, popping slap bass. In Californication, the Peppers brought back guitarist John Frusciante who mesmerizes fans with his crunchy, amazingly bright guitar solos. My personal favorite solo was in “Scar Tissue”, when Frusciante used the slide guitar playing style, creating a smooth and nostalgic melody. “Get On Top” also has an awesome funky guitar sound thanks to Frusciante’s magical swing on the wah pedal.

Around the World” has one of the most intricate bass licks ever recognized, thanks to Flea’s genius. In “Parallel Universe”, Kiedis’ vocals were subdued to give way to distortion, creating a darker and heavier feel.

Californication also saw a maturity in song concepts and effective use of vocal harmonies, such as in “Otherside”.  With this album, Red Hot Chili Peppers reached the point where their music became the most consolidated and their songwriting solidified.

 

Red Hot Chili Peppers is the essential funk-punk rock band, and Californication is simply the essential Peppers album. It attempts to take you on a poignant, nostalgic, spiritual journey, and leaves you wondering about the meaning of life. Whether you can come back to earth depends very much on your mental powers.

 

Track list

  1. Around The World
  2. Parallel Universe
  3. Scar Tissue
  4. Otherside
  5. Get On Top
  6. Californication
  7. Easily
  8. Porcelain
  9. Emit Remmus
  10. I Like Dirt
  11. This Velvet Glove
  12. Savior
  13. Purple Stain
  14. Right On Time
  15. Road Trippin

Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication: Album Review

Written by Gin

 

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stealers Wheel Songs
Top 10 Stealers Wheel songs
Jeff Healey Band Songs
Top 10 Jeff Healey Songs
Men At Work Songs
Top 10 Men At Work Songs
Lee Michaels songs
Top 10 Lee Michaels Songs
Charlie Parker Albums
5 Essential Charlie Parker Albums
Mike Stern Albums
5 Essential Mike Stern Albums
John Coltrane Albums
5 Essential John Coltrane Albums
Miles Davis Albums
5 Essential Miles Davis Albums
Bands Who never had a top 40 hit in the U.S. Billboard Top 40
10 Classic Rock Bands Who Never Had A Single Break The U.S. Top 40
Steve Vai Crossroads
When The Karate Kid Fought Steve Vai
MTV's Favorite Bands
MTV’s Favorite Bands And Artists Of The 1980s
Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band
10 Musicians We Would Love To See In Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band