• Red Hot Chili Peppers

    17 May 2007, 23:03 by Twang6

    These guys are great. I've been a Red Hot Chili Peppers fan for a relatively short time, and feel privileged that I have access to all of their best stuff.

    I'm using this space to organize my thoughts on each album, giving my opinions for future references and to kill time.

    Grading Scale

    U: Undecided
    1: Would sound better, if there was no sound.
    2: Utter shit.
    3: Pop fluff.
    4: Bland, under/over-produced. Better as background music.
    5: Decent, some good songs, but not much stands out.
    6: Several good songs, I may like it, but something is missing.
    7: Solid album, repeated listens are recommended to 'get' it. If you have the chance, check it out.
    8: Good, a recommended listen, repeated listens for pleasure.
    9: A classic. I'd suggest getting this eventually.
    10: One of my favorite albums ever. Find this now.

    The Red Hot Chili Peppers

    Year: 1984
    Label: EMI
    Rating: 5

    This is their first album, and it shows. I like a few songs here and there, most of it is good, but it is a little underwhelming. That's probably because I heard it after hearing most of the other albums. However, some other things do contribute to it's lack of luster, like how it only has two of the founding members, despite it being a first album. I realize this is true today, but the chemistry just isn't there in this one like it is now.

    Freaky Styley

    Year: 1985
    Label: EMI
    Rating: 8

    This was my favorite album for the longest time. It's been called "the closest RHCP will ever come to being pure funk rock." It's true, with George Clinton doing the production work, it's not hard to see why. It's also more weird than any of their other albums. The first 12 tracks are great, many of them classics in their own right, but the most interesting stuff comes later on. A spoken word piece entitled Thirty Dirty Birds is a song about birds on a curb eating worms, which Anthony Kiedis considers "The best song I ever wrote." That song is directly followed by Yertle the Turtle, a rapped story inspired by the Dr. Seuss book of the same name. The fact that Hillel Slovak is back in the mix makes it all the better.

    The Uplift Mofo Party Plan

    Year: 1987
    Label: EMI
    Rating: 8

    When listening to this and Freaky Styley, I find it hard to decide which I like better. It features drummer Jack Irons, completely re-uniting the founding group. It is more experimental than Freaky Styley, although not as weird. This album includes songs about sex, drugs, and general hooliganism, things you would expect from any RHCP album, but there is also the cover of Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues, which is a sped up and less folk-oriented version of the original; an ode to friendship; Walkin' on Down the Road, a song that has a hint of country influence; and what I perceive as a song about masturbation. Good stuff.

    Mother's Milk

    Year: 1989
    Label: EMI
    Rating: 10

    Despite this album being the most 'normal' album of theirs, it's my favorite. I find that the fusion of funk and metal is the most genius idea ever, when done right, and this is how you do it right. It starts with Good Time Boys, which is a good opening song, to say the least. Track 2 is a Stevie Wonder cover, and their first big hit, Higher Ground. After that, there are songs about the band's favorite basketballer (Magic Johnson), an ode to oddity, a tribute to the late Hillel Slovak, and the psychedelic Taste the Pain, which leads up to a song I would name when asked what the greatest song ever was, Stone Cold Bush. It has a wicked riff that strikes my fancy, along with a great chorus with catchy lyrics, and to top it off, a bass solo from Flea! In the remastered version, there is about three Hendrix covers, but none of them sound as good as Fire, which comes right after SCB. The next little ditty is called Pretty Little Ditty, which was stolen by some random pop band some time ago. Punk Rock Classic is the weak point on the album, it's a song about hypocrisy in the punk scene. I get the message, but I just don't like it, too loud (never thought I'd say that) and sudden, it just hurts the ears. Sexy Mexican Maid is a nice song, but repeated listens really bring the joy in it down. Johnny, Kick a Hole in the Sky is another great song from this album, closing the album (except in the extended version) with a catchy-as-hell song about having your homeland invaded. As you can tell, Mother's Milk is my favorite RHCP album. Oh, and Frusciante is God.

    Blood Sugar Sex Magik

    Year: 1991
    Label: Warner Music Group
    Rating: 8

    This is their breakthrough album, coinciding with the release of Nirvana's Nevermind to the exact date. It may have been overshadowed, I don't know I was about a year old at the time, but I believe this is the more solid, yet drier, album. It has the classic alternative/funk songs Give It Away and Suck My Kiss, the mid-tempo ballad Under the Bridge, and (my personal favorite) Apache Rose Peacock. By no means are those the only good tracks. This is their first really diverse album, having a variety of speeds, styles, subjects (most are still about doin' the nasty, though), and feeling. It is also their first album on Warner. It features the same line-up as the last album, a first at this point for them. It was recorded live, meaning they actually played the song through and recorded it (vs. recording each part separately, then mixing it), and that's why it sounds kinda fuzzy at times and you can hear cars and people cheering.

    One Hot Minute

    Year: 1995
    Label: Warner Music Group
    Rating: 9

    The Peppers' most unique album. This comes partly from Dave Navarro on the guitar, sitting in for Frusciante who wasn't pleased with the direction the band was going in and left. It starts with Warped, which itself starts with a spoken word piece by Kiedis recounting some escapades he and Flea had back in the day. The second track is a cover of a Christian children's song called "Jesus is my Aeroplane" or something. It's not really a cover, per se, more so borrowing the lyrical scheme. It features a chorus of schoolchildren, including Flea's own daughter and her kindergarten class, singing the the chorus near the end. After that there is RHCP's second longest song, Deep Kick. Another ode to friendship, Coffee Shop (which rules), a song sung by Flea (about an experience he had in some hick bar or something), a fun little song called One Big Mob, a bass-oriented Walkabout, and a song mourning the death of Kurt Cobain. After that, there's a few standard rock songs about corruption in churches, and the title track. It closes with a song that is radically different from anything they've done before, Transcending, a two-parter with psychedelic and grunge influences respectively.


    Year: 1999
    Label: Warner Music Group
    Score: 8

    This is about when the Peppers got to be a household name. Not only do they make music that you like, but music that your sister and yer ma likes. It's main downfall is that there are some production problems, such as the opening track's nearly abrasive intro. Moreso than previous albums, Californication has several slower ballad-y type songs. The title track, Scar Tissue, Otherside (a personal favorite), along with others that are not as notable (however enjoyable). Most of the best songs are still the harder stuff, like Emit Remmus (another favorite of mine), Right on Time, and again some others. Overall, a good listen, also a good way to end their "golden age", as well as the decade and century.

    By the Way

    Year: 2002
    Label: Warner Music Group
    Rating: 6

    This is the softest RHCP album. Try to grasp this: I like all the songs, but I don't really like the album. It's pretty much an extension of the softer side of it's predecessor. The exceptions are not surprisingly my favorite tracks. The title track, The Zephyr Song, Can't Stop, Throw Away Your Television, and On Mercury. Now, the title track is possibly the epitome of an RHCP song, soft verses with a heavier chorus, lots of bass, good guitar work, most of the stuff you would want from a song from them. Can't Stop is a classic, whenever I think to dismiss this album, this one saves it for me, along with Throw Away Your Television. As for the softer songs, few stick out, you'd be better off just getting Californication or Stadium Arcadium if that's what you're after. Overall, it's RHCP at their worst (in the studio) since they started out. Flea agrees, it's just not as fun as the rest of their discography.

    Note: Live in Hyde Park is a good place to find a lot of the best songs from the last two albums, and some new ones. Check it out.

    Stadium Arcadium

    Year: 2006
    Label: Warner Music Group
    Rating: 7/8

    My main gripe with Stadium Arcadium is that it's too long. The great songs are mixed in everywhere with the good songs across two discs. Double albums annoy me, because there is a pause interrupting the jamming, from switching CDs, but this isn't a problem once you put it on your computer or MP3 player. Stephen Thomas Erlewine (AMG) said, and I agree: "[L]ike how Blood Sugar was the tipping point when the LPs ceded ground to CDs, Stadium Arcadium could be seen as the point when albums were seen as a collection of digital playlists." Another thing I don't like about double albums is that the songs seem to lose individuality when it's packed into the same package as nearly 30 other songs, and you're hearing most of them for the first time ever. The "it's too long" problem is solved by simply listening to the discs separately, one after another, which is what I did (also because it was 4am, but whatever). The first disc (logically the first you would listen to) has 3 of the 5 singles and will likely be the more popular of the two, and that's understandable, there are a lot of great songs there. Warlocks probably being my favorite track on the album. Through the whole album, it has about as many slower songs as By The Way, but I feel the ones on SA are higher quality. Desecration Smile, and the one everyone knows, Snow ((Hey Oh)) being the stand-out ones. The second disc is a bit more enjoyable, Tell Me Baby, Hard to Concentrate, and Animal Bar all being strong tracks and favorites of mine from the album. Arguably, this is THE RHCP album, with a fair mix of funky, punky, and slow songs, along with a few songs that sound like they started out as covers, it only lacks the high energy and rapping that was once a part of their signature sound. You can't blame them though, Anthony (and Flea) is pushing 50 by now, and vocal cords don't last forever, also, with the slew of bad rappers who think they're good making millions lately, it's embarrassing to admit you like rap, let alone perform it. Another thing, this has probably the best production on any RHCP album since Blood Sugar and has the most solid feel since Mother's Milk...for that alone, I admire it, the good songs make me almost love it. This is a great spot to get into RHCP for new listeners, some older listeners may be a little let down, but those with an open mind will enjoy at least some parts of it.

    Those are the only studio albums they have out so far, I'll update when they release a new one and I get it.