Flashback: Californication Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers Tribute Series Part. III

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Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Californication
Released: June 8, 1999
Genre: Alternative Rock
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Executive Producer: Rick Rubin

Following an unsuccessful tour due to eventual poor sales from the One Hot Minute album and numerous injuries to singer Anthony Kiedis, the band regrouped after the tour to begin writing another album. Once the writing process began, the band realized that Dave Navarro and Anthony Kiedis were quietly battling severe drug addictions. Although Anthony was slowly correcting his problem, Dave Navarro wasn’t, and to his dismay, was subsequently fired from the band in 1998, after he fell over an amp while high when the band was jamming. Yet again, the future did not look bright for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This period was almost reminiscent of the time following original guitarist Hillel Slovak’s death in 1988, and John Frusciante’s departure in 1992, except now the band wasn’t getting along, had no guitarist and coming off a very poor album. Knowing something drastic had to happen for the band to start recording again, Flea, unbeknownst to the other bandmembers, visited former guitarist John Frusciante in 1998 during the band’s hiatus from music. John, at the time was heavily using drugs and wasn’t looking good, however, Flea convinced him to go to rehab and, to the consent of the rest of his bandmates, eventually offered John a spot to return to the band; an offer John emotionally agreed to. John Frusciante’s return to the Red Hot Chili Peppers was a spark of life the band needed. He and Anthony rekindled their strong friendship and began writing what would come to be classic songs. The Californication album brought about yet another new style to the band’s sound, focusing more on euphoric and melodic guitar riffs rather than the heavier style of playing in the previous Mother’s Milk and Blood Sugar Sex Magik sessions. The Californication album also brought the band even more success then ever before and reestablished the Red Hot Chili Peppers into the mainstream.

1. Around the World: Great opening track to the record reminiscent of the early funk days. Flea’s running bassline is a beauty in this funky track and John’s solo is a gem.
(9/10)

2. Parallell Universe: Great guitar riffs and solo from Frusciante along with a fast moving, quality bassline. Anthony’s vocals are also a plus. Great track.
(9/10)

3. Scar Tissue: Argueably one of the greatest Red Hot Chili Peppers songs ever written. The guitar line is absoolutely perfect along with quality vocals from Anthony. Lyrically this song shines as Kiedis talks about his lonliness and addiction. Frusciante’s final guitar solo is euphoric and a beauty. Simply the best song on the record.
(10/10)

4. Otherside: Vocally and lyrically, Anthony shines in this track, talking about his life and if he should continue on his destructive path of hard drugs. The guitar riffs are pure quality and compliment the vocals very well and the solo is one of the best on the record.
(9/10)

5. Get On Top: A funky track also reminiscent of their older funk days. The instrumentals, most noteably the slap bassline, shine here. The vocals from Anthony are good here as well.
(5/10)

6. Californication: The title track of the record, Californication almost never made the final cut of the record because of the difficulty the band had with coming up with a quality instrumental. Both the instrumentals and vocals shine in this track and lyrically Anthony speaks about society and the deterioration of the “Hollywood Dream”.
(10/10)

7. Easily: Instrumentals shine in this bass-heavy track along with nice vocals, most noteably the hooks, from Anthony. An overall good track.
(6/10)

8. Porcelain: Very depressing and dark song. Lyrics are very meaningful but i think they would have worked better in a different song. Very slow moving and instrumentally weak.
(4/10)

9: Emit Remmus: Nice wailing guitar effect with a nice running bassline from Flea. The track isnt very bad but not very high in replay value.
(6/10)

10. I Like Dirt: All facets of this song are pretty weak. Guitar lines arent very appealing and the vocals are very monotonous. Most people would skip this track.
(3/10)

11. The Velvet Glove: There is something about this track that grabs me. Although not a highlight on the album, I think this song is a must listen. Nice guitar riffs and solid vocals. Strong track.
(9/10)

12. Savior: This track will grow on you. It does start off slow but the switchup in the middle is quality. The lyrics talk about Anthony’s father and the backup vocals are a standout from Frusciante and a nice listen.
(7/10)

13: Purple Stain: This song is very average until the refreshingly perfect solo from Frusciante at the end. The rest of the song consists of a groovey guitar line and half rap-half singing from Anthony.
(7/10)

14. Right On Time: The bridge vocals are the only solid aspect of this song. Fast moving guitar and bass lines arent good except for the bridge.
(4/10)

15. Road Trippin’: The only acoustic guitar track on the record, this is a weak track overall but nice vocals make up for it.
(7/10)

Best:
Scar Tissue
Otherside
Californication

Worst:
Get On Top
I Like Dirt
Right On Time

Final LP Rating: 8.0/10
Californication was a very important record in the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ career. Not only did they get their lead and most creative guitarist John Frusciante back from his long hiatus as a contributing memeber of the Chili Peppers, but also Californication reestablished the band into the mainstream after some years of hiatus and a weak sub-par album. Not only did The Peppers reestablish themselves as a mainstream band, but they also delivered argueably their best album of their long career with not only heartfelt ballads such as “Scar Tissue” and “Californication” but also rock inspired hits such as “Around the World” and “Parallell Universe”.

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