Review Summary: One Hot Minute is The Red Hot Chili Peppers most unusual album but still as interesting and funky as ever despite the fact it is with a new guitarist, Dave Navarro.
One Hot Minute is certainly The Red Hot Chili Pepper’s strangest release. It must have been a difficult period of time for the band when it came out. After their huge success in 1991 with Blood Sugar Sex Magic, they elevated themselves from the crazy underground L.A. group to international rock stars. Unfortunately, with this instant success, as well as touring and drugs, guitarist John Frusciante departed. It is quite amazing that the Red Hot Chili Peppers were able to continue after losing their second guitarist in 4 years, but less than 4 years later, they recruited none other than Jane’s Addiction’s Dave Navarro to play, and in 1995, The Red Hot Chili Peppers released something very different from Blood Sugar Sex Magic. They created the widely overlooked One Hot Minute. One Hot Minute is still as energized, diverse, and unique as any Chili Peppers release. Flea still shows some spectacular bass lines and Anthony Kiedis continues to wonderfully pull off some interesting vocal performances. One Hot Minute is truly another great addition to The Red Hot Chili Pepper’s catalogue.
The first question that probably comes to mind about One Hot Minute is how does Dave Navarro do with The Red Hot Chili Peppers? Well really he does just fine. Dave shows an impressive amount of skill and personality in his playing. Navarro even manages to incorporate funky elements into the music as if he was Hillel Slovak or John Frusciante himself. In Aeroplane and One Big Mob he uses these elements helping to produce some solid funk music with the other members of the band. His best performance can be found on Walkabout; a really groovy track in which Navarro shows off his wah wah peddle skills and an amazing solo. On One Hot Minute, Dave Navarro does a find job fitting in with the band and really displays some fine guitar skills allowing for the band to flex their creativity muscles.
As I mentioned before, One Hot Minute is not a very typical album and The Red Hot Chili Pepper’s most unusual. Before practically every song gets going, there are some sorts of strange noises or a soft intro ranging from 10 seconds to over a minute. On Deep Kick for example, there seems to be some quiet, random noises along with a very light bass line as Anthony Kiedis recites a poem. He states “But love and music can save us/ And did/ While the giant grey monster grew more poisoned and volatile around us/ Jaws clamping down/ Spewing ugly *** around/ Nothing is the same/ So we keep moving/ We keep moving”
Deep Kick then suddenly explodes into the most energetic song on the album in which Flea ends up taking lead vocals at the very end. Also rather peculiar is One Big Mob. From the second it begins, the song is clearly something that could have been on The Uplift Mofo Party Plan with its high energy incantations and Anthony Kiedis classic, silly rapping. The interesting thing about this song is how after its crazy beginning, there’s a breakdown. Yes, the Red Hot Chili Peppers use a breakdown in One Big Mob and for a major chuck of the track there is a quiet buildup that leads to a similar beginning. It comes off as quite an exciting piece and a very uniquely interesting one. That is what is so wonderful about this album. It really is so fascinating. Every song has a different sound and something uncommon or exciting about it. So what we find on One Hot Minute is really no bland or generic songs and really no songs that sound similar, but diverse and unique pieces. Though that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily all good.
One Hot Minute has some truly classic Red Hot Chili Peppers songs. The hit single My Friends is a wonderful track with its upbeat and emotional acoustic feel. The song is a prime example of what The Red Hot Chili Peppers are able to create. But unfortunately, on One Hot Minute they form some fairly poor songs. One that immediately comes to mind is Tearjerker. I’d say Tearjerker was an attempt at a beautiful, heart-warming song like Under The Bridge. To me, the Chili Peppers seemed to have failed at achieving this for it barely comes off as beautiful at all. The lyrics about Kurt Cobain’s death aren’t executed well and overall the song comes off as rather awkward. Also, Coffee Shop isn’t done so well. It is a very heavy track with some amazing bass slapping from Flea, though the way Anthony chooses to sing is so unusual that Coffee Shop isn’t super enjoyable. Anthony seems to use some unfitting vocals often on the album, as on the title track, One Hot Minute, his pipes seem perplexing and in general unpleasant. Though plenty of songs on One Hot Minute are great. Aeroplane is very groovy and Shallow Be Thy Name has a perfect mix of heaviness and funkiness so all in all, most of the songs are fine and entertaining.
One Hot Minute is a fine addition to The Red Hot Chili Pepper’s long discography. Even with a new guitarist, Dave Navarro, The Red Hot Chili Peppers exceed in creating unique and interesting songs that ultimately follow in their funky, energetic style. Tracks like My Friends and Walkabout are as memorable as any hit song and intriguing listens such as Deep Kick make One Hot Minute so cool. Anthony Kiedis might ruin a few songs and not all of them are masterpieces but The Red Hot Chili Peppers come up with some excellent material and a nice amount of uncommon works. Predominantly, One Hot Minute is a great album no matter how slightly strange is might be.
Shallow Be Thy Name
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Flea is Godly