Californication

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Warner Brothers Records, 1999

http://redhotchilipeppers.com

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/27/2005

Upon its release, some called this among the best work the band had ever done. Millions of teenage fans leeched onto the band, people who had maybe heard "Under the Bridge" in passing but knew not of Dave Navarro, Hillel Slovak or Jack Irons. "Scar Tissue" and "Otherside" were everywhere, and the band was popular again.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

As it turned out, this was the last real gasp of the band's punk-funk-locker room humor style, albeit in small doses. With guitarist John Frusciante on board, the band has grown up, sobered up and gotten all professional.

Hoping to rekindle the flame of "Under the Bridge," the band rewrites it with the title track, "Scar Tissue" and "Otherside," which all sound very similar; only the title track has some dramatic tension in the verse-chorus transition. The best thing about these songs is Frusciante's backup vocals, a dormant talent that would be used to better effect on later albums.

Frankly, many of the songs are musically forgettable or lyrically insipid. "Purple Stain" ruins a great popping bass line with gross lyrics, while songs like "Porcelain," "I Like Dirt," "This Velvet Glove" and "Emit Remmus" are nadirs in the Peppers catalog. "Road Trippin'" uses some good acoustic guitar work to close out the disc, while "Parallel Universe" is a decent enough number that points the way forward. "Get on Top" is another good number that recalls One Hot Minute.

Only "Around the World" is really worthy of repeated listens; the amazing slap bass and travelogue lyrics show that the fire still burned in the band's collective veins. They would go in a different direction the next time out with the stellar By The Way, making this more the sound of a band re-finding its feet than a truly cohesive, necessary statement.

Rating: C-

User Rating: C+


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© 2005 Benjamin Ray and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Warner Brothers Records, and is used for informational purposes only.