Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Music Box's #5 album of 1999
First Appeared at The Music Box, February 2000, Volume 7, #2
Written by John Metzger
Since exploding onto the music scene with the excellent Blood Sugar Sex Magik, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have gotten a bit lost. The group is no stranger to personnel changes, but the loss of guitarist John Frusciante seemed to send the band skittering over the edge. Their last album One Hot Minute seemed to touch upon ground the group had already tread, but lacked the fire that had once burned so brightly within them.
Californication finds Frusciante returning to the fold, and suddenly the Red Hot Chili Peppers are back. Better yet, theyíve created, with the help of producer Rick Rubin, their finest album to date. Adrenaline-soaked funk-rock (Around the World and Get On Top) is juxtaposed with gorgeous pop ballads (Road Trippiní and the title track) in what is certainly one of the best albums of the year.
The song cycle is centered around the bandís love-hate relationship with the Southern California lifestyle. Yet thereís a larger picture inherent in the lyrics that displays an overarching disillusionment with the American dream and a life-consuming need to escape.
The music drifts between half-baked, cosmic flights (Scar Tissue), dark, death-defying, drug-induced trances (Porcelain), and pile-driving, take-no-prisoners releases of anger (Easily). Californication is an album that combines the Red Hot Chili Peppers with the Smashing Pumpkins and, for good measure, tosses in a healthy dose of both Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. Itís emotion and power and beauty all wrapped up in one deliciously malcontent package that questions whether the Southern California lifestyle is really everything itís made out to be.
42nd Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Rock Song - Scar Tissue
(Flea, John Frusciante, Anthony Kiedis, and Chad Smith)
Of Further Interest...
Californication is available from
Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2000 The Music Box