[MUSIC ~ RETRO REVIEW]
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are without a doubt one of the biggest and boldest rock bands of all time. Pumping out massive hit singles and selling millions of albums, the band’s red-hot success shows no sign of slowing down even after 35 years; and today, we are reviewing the Peppers’ most ambitious and artistic album yet, Californication.
Released on Tue 8 Jun, 1999, Californication helped revive the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ career after the disappointing One Hot Minute. Guest guitarist Dave Navarro was given the boot and John Frusciante was given a second chance after leaving the band in 1992. This album was my first introduction to the Peppers and it holds a special place in my heart as this was not only the first album I got hooked on, but it was also the album that sparked my interest in music altogether. Ever since I got this album for my birthday, it still manages to blow me away every time I listen to it; here’s my take on it.
This album shows the Peppers regroup and put on a truly outstanding display of musicianship, passion and progress, featuring some of the band’s best songs. Songs like Parallel Universe, Emit Remmus, This Velvet Glove and Savior perfectly combine soft-spoken verses with loud, fiery choruses, while songs like Scar Tissue, Porcelain and Road Trippin’ take a slower pace with their calming, restful spirit. Despite Californication showing a more versatile and heartfelt approach from the band, we still hear the raw, funky energy of their Blood Sugar Sex Magik days with Around The World, Get On Top, I Like Dirt and the rapid-paced Right On Time.
Each song has a perfect mix of soft, soothing ballads and upbeat, explosive jams; each of which are equally of high replay value. The song writing has matured very much from the Peppers’ previous albums as the lyrics help express themes of spirituality, drug use, love and overall moving forward in life. The album’s production also shines spectacularly as all of the elements, as well as the new experimental styles in the songs, work exceptionally well. The powerful vocals from Anthony, tremendous guitar riffs from John, hypnotic bass-lines from Flea and rhythmic drumming from Chad make this album an instant masterpiece.
Overall, Californication remains just as breathtaking as it was when it was released twenty years ago. Jam-packed with sensational instrumentation, remarkable vocals and tremendous song writing, this album simply must be heard by everyone. From the riveting, enthusiastic blast of Around The World to the slow and sweet ambiance of Road Trippin’, the Red Hot Chili Peppers prove to us all that their red-hot flare is still burning bright. This album is an instant must for any fan of rock music, and stands strong as one of the best releases of the ‘90s. If you are a fan of alternative rock, funk rock or any music in general, I highly recommend you give this album a listen… or a re-listen, if it has been a while since your last spin with the Peppers.