One of my all-time favorite albums when it comes to pop rock, “Californication” celebrates today its 20th birthday. Happy birthday!
“Californication”, the sixth album released by Red Hot Chilli Peppers, album premiered on June 8th, back in 1999 – exactly 20 years from today.
Red Hot Chilli Peppers is this incredible band that was always liked by every single person at every party. While even the biggest classics struggled to find their minute to shine, the Peppers fitted almost nonchalantly.
To me, the sounds of “Californication” remind of childhood. Travelling with parents in a car without air conditioning in a blazing heat. Listening to it on a walkman while being dragged to all these beautiful places I didn’t appreciate back then. I obviously made up words to catch up with the fast-spitting Anthony Kiedis. But that was part of the unforgettable memory that ties with this album. Me, my blue Sony walkman and RHCP (and a few other cassetes). Ah, good times.
Red Hot Chilli Pepper was established in 1983, but “Californication” took the crown of becoming the band’s popularity pinnacle. It met with raving reviews, which praised Kiedis’ vocals, a more matured lyrics. Some even called it epiphanal.
Why “Californication” became such a classic?
First of all, Red Hot Chilli Peppers proved their skills in “Blood Sugar Sex Magic”, but the albums preceding “Californication” weren’t that successful. Prior to this 1999’s release, the Peppers were wild dogs, going through phases of funk rock, mild punk rock and alternative sounds. Their lyrics were quite not eligible for radio play and the band, as talented as they were, remained in the shadow of other popular rock bands.
“Californication” turned the tables with a stomp resounding for many years to follow. The album marked a comeback of the legendary guitarist John Frusciante, who, as some claim, was the brain behind this RHCP rise to fame. The mastermind quickly grew to join the pantheon of best guitar players alive, bringing an extremely melodic, catchy vibe to all songs featured on “Californication”.
Top 5 songs from “Californication” by Red Hot Chilli Peppers
#5 Road Trippin’
This song was clearly designed to be listened to on-the-road. “Road Trippin'” belongs to one of the best ballad songs composed by RHCP in their entire career run. It’s also the song that captures the reason why Frusciante’s influence was so big on the band. The gently melodic guitar meets the double voice layer of Kiedis and Frusciante and the lyrics make you wish you were able to freely roam on these roads in the US.
#4 This Velvet Glove
A ballad wins once again. “This Velvet Glove” is John Frusciante’s spectacle. The entire guitar section sounds great – from
How long, how long… this iconic opening is one of the hallmarks of this album. It’s one of the songs that encompass the entirety of what RHCP does best. It’s catchy, incorporates a funky rhythm and matches it with the guitar that dictates the melody throughout the entire song. Let me just say that “Otherside” is easily one of the most diversified songs featured on “Californication”.
#2 Scar Tissue
It may not be the most complicated song in the world, but it’s the sound of my childhood. Period.
“Scar Tissue” has the most hypnotizing guitar solo of Frusciante, divided into three parts and bridged by Anthony Kiedis vocal chunks. It’s that weeping sound that turns this particular song into a masterpiece of alternative rock. With its high-pitch ending solo, “Scar Tissue” is one of the rare gems that defined the sound of RHCP.
The intro. The lyrics. The chorus. Even the goddamn video. This album-titled piece is probably an ode to Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ whole career – a band-defining song. While previous albums proved the lyrics of RHCP to be often vulgar and controversial, “Californication” was a proof that their music can be deeper too. It’s a bit of a paradox that such an ultimate, ageless classic of 90s rock criticized the era from head to toes, isn’t it?
What was your favorite song from “Californication” by Red Hot Chilli Pepper? What were your memories related with the album? Share in comments!