Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication (1999)
My thanks to the fictional Ben Wyatt and my non-fictional wife for inspiring this post!
Time to get back.
Back to where I (once) belong every September.
Back to school.
As you might have guessed, I’ve recently found myself singing The Beatles’ Get Back, in particular the line about California Grass.
I have a sneaking suspicion Sir Paul McCartney wasn’t talking about the school-approved GRASS method for problem solving. Nevertheless, I will conveniently pretend he was and use the GRASS method to try and figure out the Red Hot Chili Peppers and their fasciantion with the state of California.
Before listening to Californication, this is what I suspected would be the case:
Time for the GRASS method to see if my hypothesis is correct (and who says you never use this stuff in “real life”) 😀
In 1999, The Red Hot Chili Peppers released the album Californication, produced by Rick Rubin. It marked the return of ace guitarist John Frusciante and was commercially and critically successful.
Based on the album title and Anthony Kiedis’s penchant for singing about his home state, do the lyrics actually contain any other words?
A: Application (what strategy will be used to solve the problem)
I will record the number of times the prefix “Californi-” is said/sung. Next, I will prepare a properly labelled line graph using Excel.
Here are my results.
I was pleased to see Kiedis was capable of name-checking other geographic locations. Although it seemed like California was referenced all the time, it turns out the state tends to feature prominently in the singles but not so much in the rest of the album tracks.
Confession: I like, but don’t love the Red Hot Chili Peppers. At least not when listening to music by myself.
That being confessed, I still admire them more than perhaps any other active musicians.
– Frusciante’s guitar work is never flashy but always exactly appropriate.
– Flea’s bass prowess is well documented and his turn as Needles in Back to the Future II & III remains criminally underrated
– Kiedis has that instantly identifiable quality that I look for in a lead singer
– And let’s face it, Will Ferrell can really play those drums!
For whatever reason, that admiration doesn’t translate into craving the Chilis.
I’d probably put them in the same respect-but-don’t-really-listen-to-category as The White Stripes.
In fact, I’ll borrow a rating I used in one of my White Stripes reviews: I’d be thrilled to listen to any of these Californication tunes…if it came on in a friend’s car.
This album reminds me of driving in cars with friends towards the end of high school. That sort of nostalgia rarely hurts an album’s case and this RHCP revisit was no exception.