Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik

2009-02-25 11:46
Red Hot Chili Peppers

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 distress
Keep your more to receive your less
Unimpressed by material excess
Love 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.

“Take me to the place I love / Take me all the way”

What to read next: Kalahari

Nikki 2009/02/25 09:09
Agreed, their earlier works were way more experimental & out there! My first album at high school back in 1994 was the follow up to this - One Hot Minute & till today it stays one of my favourites of all time! My Friends, Aeroplane - remember those tunes!? AWESOME BAND! One of the best of all time!
Liv 2009/02/25 10:19
The BEST album of my lifetime! Great writing Niel.
Pierre 2009/02/25 14:05
If you dig the chillis, you MUST read Anthonys autobiography Scar Tissue, a riviting read and you will start to understand their music on a much deeper level. BSSM: One of the best albums of all time, and yes it (along with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Gun n Rose and Metalica) defined Generation X.
nadia 2009/02/25 14:36
the chillis rock big time I love them
Jean 2009/02/25 15:14
Scar Tissue. ... hmmm. I didn't dig that so much. I thought it read like a list of chicks he'd done together with a list of drugs he did them on. Bit boring. And felt very ghost-written to me. Borrow, don't buy.
Ryan 2009/02/25 16:11
Just read Scar Tissue! AK shouldn't even be alive cause of the hectic sh*t those guys got up to. Love their music, always will.
dave 2009/02/25 17:26
Sheena 2009/02/25 17:48
I agree with Pierre, BSSM is definitely one of the best Chilli albums. I do so LOVE them! They rock and have always being edgier than most bands.
Kay 2009/02/25 18:53
I have been so dedicated to Chili Peppers for more than ten years since I first heard them, that I have the asterisk (or angel's... for those who know the true meaning...) tattooed on my wrist. I maintain that BSSM is the second best album, after Mother's Milk (1989). But it's still a piece of living art. "killing your abortion please, that is what she needs..." Righteous & the Wicked. Legend.
Smoke 2009/02/26 09:47
My absolute FAVOURITE album of all time. The songs just flow together seamlessly. Oh, and another good read is a biography about the Peppers called "Fornication" - excellent read as well.
tirhas 2009/11/06 19:43
fuck the fuckin website and i waana fuck u
Angelo 2010/02/08 15:38
love the chillis
shir 2010/02/18 09:46
love sexy chillichannel girls
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.