The Spinners

Californication (Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1999)

In Alternative Rock, American, Juno Barbra Streisand, Punk Rock on January 14, 2010 at 12:51 pm

This is the sole album that molded my entire adolescence.

I blame Anthony Kiedis’ pretty face and bleached blonde hair crooning “Otherside” on MTV one late night on mapping my dive into Red Hot Chili Peppers’ kingdom of rocking socks and punk rock. From that day onwards, I had sworn my eternal love and blind lust to Kiedis; nothing short of him proposing to my thirteen-year-old self could shake the torch I held for him and his songs. This is a band where the legend and hagiography of Flea’s bass lines and hardcore ingenuity surpass Frusciante’s solos, Kiedis’ funky vocals and Smith’s subtle snare beats. And somehow one can either blame or praise Rick Rubin for resuscitating the band’s descent to the moor of One Hot Minute‘s flunk.

Everything about Californication captures my absolute interest and adoration, never mind the double entendres and a whole lot of cussing that didn’t go through my consciousness as a thirteen-year-old. Getting past the sensationalized songs in the album (“Otherside”, “Scar Tissue”, “Californication”, “Around the World” and perhaps “Road Trippin'”—could anyone still recall that last shot amongst the other four? I doubt it), the other songs justify themselves rather independently; in fact, I can say that they are far better than those that represented the album as singles.

I’ve always held something special for “Easily”, a nonsensical, rap-like song about anything goes. The lyrics may produce blank stares but the chords and solo are inspirational. “Savior” gives out something to everyone with the heavy drums and religious metaphors. A mixture of rapid switching from crooned stanzas to hardboiled chorus makes up “Parallel Universe” and its poetic declarations. These three tracks, I have to admit, are my all-time favorite songs from the fifteen-track album.

Listening to it now, I realize that Californication is definitely right on time; looking fine just as what the Peppers can attest to.

– Juno Barbra Streisand

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