Californication (Album) by Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Chili Peppers have been known for their extremely polar change from absolute renegade funk, to more of a mellow pop. Californication is the midpoint in this paradigm shift; a combination of soft chord based songs, and ruthless slap bass riffs. The album starts out strong and fast- the grand opening to Around the World is a crazy combination of “Fazed” bass and guitar riffs, with a swell from the lead singer, leading into the songs main pattern. A funky, “bouncy” song, with smooth interludes, Around the World describes the narrator’s affection for an unsaid party: he’s been around the world and seen every woman to see, but she says “hello,” and he says “I do.” Their near nonsensical lyrics lead into Parallel Universe, a fast paced, aggressive “foot tapper,” more ambiguous lyrics accompanied by a wicked bass line makes this song fast and fun. Scar Tissue provides a nice mellow interlude.
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A fairly simple, although strange note progression, repeated background vocals, and a minor key all make this song a mellow, slightly bittersweet track. The next song, Otherside, one of my favorites provides a more sad approach on lyricism. Although the chord progression is used by hundreds of other songs, the Chili Peppers put their own original spin on the reused package. With a great ending we come to Get on Top, a song about crime and just general misbehaving. More phenomenal bass riffs from Flea, and more of the Peppers’ style. Here we come to the pinnacle of the album, as well as its namesake: Californicaion. What I consider to be one of the best songs ever written, Californication is a comment on our brainwashed society. “Hollywood sells Californication.” The seduction of the media, and the Californication of the world. Fantastic lyrics and fantastic music make this song one of the RHCP’s best. As we descend, we come to Easily. Really just another generic pop song, the simple chord progression and lack of actual riffs makes this song less attractive to me. Coming back up the slope again, we arrive at Porcelain. One of the softest and slowest songs they’ve ever written, Porcelain employs extremely strange chords and notes, combining minor sevenths and major sevenths. They evoke very specific moods; those of bittersweetness, and those of slight uplifting, respectively. It really does make you sit back and think about what this song is about. The softness is soon broken by Emit Remmus, Summer Time backwards. Many dispute the meaning of this song, and it is another nearly indecipherable tune, but one thing is for sure: it’s summer time in London. Emit Remmus changes to I Like Dirt, a fast paced “bouncy” song. It uses a good rhythm, that never fails to make me tap my foot, so much like all these other songs. Going back on the mellow track is This Velvet Glove. Or, should I say misleading? The song starts out mellow, enticing, and slams you back with a loud, booming chorus. Coming back down once more from the adrenaline high, we come to a constant “pounder,” Savior. Passing through this mostly generic track, we arrive at Purple Stain. A generic song musically, it contains double entendre worthy of Shakespeare. Right on Time contains a great bass line, and is another “foot tapper.” Finally, we have Road Trippin’. Although I believe Californication has the best lyrics, this song is worthy of the title of “Best Ending Song of All Time.” It conveys the ending of the album through its notes and chords. It conveys just the idea of “end,” making you know that the end is coming. It really does make you reflect, on things in general, and on all the songs in this album. As the song fades into silence, you are left in your own reflective silence.