And that’s how you outdo Californication, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ seventh, and perhaps best known album. Of course, “Under The Bridge” is much more than a prescient one-up on later melodies. It is a beautiful song. Surprising, too, because Blood Sugar Sex Magik is funky as hell. Through four earlier albums, the Chili Peppers struggled with experiments in punk-funk, barely registering on the mainstream radar. Finally, those experiments were perfected on their fifth record, which were to be accompanied by a new, melancholy flavour found in “I Could Have Lied”, “Breaking The Girl”, and of course “Under The Bridge”. It helps to have two of the most celebrated rock musicians of the last two decades in your band: John Frusciante and the enigmatic Flea. Together, they manage to pour James Brown and Iggy Pop, “I Feel Good” & “Search and Destroy”, into the same sound. Hence the rambunctious aggro-pop feel of “Give It Away”, a different way of saying ‘love thy neighbour’, it turns out: “Greedy little people in a sea of distressKeep your more to receive your lessUnimpressed by material excessLove is free love me say hell yes” Then there’s the odd sexual reference. Oh, who are we kidding? Blood Sugar Sex Magik is dripping with sexual innuendo. Even the innocuous (and seriously groovy-) sounding “Funky Monks” pushes those swollen buttons: “Every man has certain needs / Talkin' 'bout them dirty deeds”. As with James Brown, though, the tunes and the titties are a fit. In fact, the Chili Peppers’ breakthrough album is one of the strongest, most infectious iterations of back-slapping masculinity in rock.
Which brings us back to “Under The Bridge”. If “Suck My Kiss” and “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” are drunk on hormones, then Anthony Kiedis’ “walk through (the) hills” of Los Angeles is crippled by loneliness. Starting as an unaccompanied jam on guitar and ending on a spiritual plateau with choir song and a lyrical hint to suicide, it’s an intensely personal journey. Instead of jockeying for relevance with the other, brasher, material, it creates a thrilling counter-point that you won’t find on any old ‘party album’.
Blood Sugar Sex Magik sounds unlike anything you’ll find in the ‘rock’ aisle at the music store. But that doesn’t make it a dinosaur: it would be just as true if you had said it eighteen years ago, when it was released. Indie kids, listen up: the original ‘dance punk’ is right here.
Bruce Springsteen talks about his classic album "Darkness on the Edge of Town". Read More »
Add your review
Woodface is a masterclass in writing the 3:30 pop song, and is also probably the greatest record ever made by guys from New Zealand. Read More »
Add your review
South AfricaCity Press
Johannesburg CBDResourcing Solutions
HousesR 1 200 000
HousesR 3 220 000
HousesR 6 900 000