Red Hot Chili Peppers
Blood Sugar Sex Magik


5.0
classic

Review

by FriendofTheDevil70 USER (14 Reviews)
November 24th, 2007 | 17 replies | 4,215 views


Release Date: 1991 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A timeless classic, that does what any good album should do, invoking a pluthora of emotions out of the listener.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

John Frusciante was an extremely unhappy man following the release of the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s breakthrough fifth album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik. The Chili Pepper’s high school dropout, funk guru of a guitarist was dreadfully unhappy with the growing worldwide popularity the band was gaining. A culmination of sorts that exemplified the effects that an unhappy Frusciante was having on the band’s sound, came on a performance of Under The Bridge on Saturday Night Live, in which Frusciante purposely played out of key at times, and deliberately sang awful back up vocals. But Blood Sugar Sex Magik kept selling, and things went from bad to worse. Frusciante ended up leaving the band in 1992 at the end of the world tour, putting the band in all too familiar spot, such as when founder of the band Hillel Slovak died in 1988.

Now, you may ask why such a lengthy introduction about the extreme pessimism of John Frusciante is needed in a review about an actual album. Well, you see, understanding the negativity of Frusciante’s attitude on this album is a key component to understanding the album itself. Throughout a band in turmoil, botched live performances, and overall growing tensions, Blood Sugar Sex Magik still managed to prosper as an absolute gem of an album combining high energy rock and funk into one amazing sonic journey.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about this record is that all of the instrumentals essentially cater to one genre, yet never in any sense of the word become predictable or boring. It’s safe to say that every song on this album besides three can be described as Funk, or Funk Rock. With that said, Flea always finds ways to makes his slap and pop bass forceful, Frusciante’s guitar lines always rhythmic and in the groove, and Chad Smith’s drums consistently sharp with some nice fills. In fact, all the instrumentals are all represented evenly in the album’s opener, Power of Equality. Flea’s bass fills regularly pump more energy into the song; while Frusciante’s solid rhythm guitar playing remains funky, and sharp as a knife. As usual throughout the album, vocalist Anthony Kiedis produces catchy raps containing wonderfully entertaining lyrics. With all this in consideration, Power of Equality can be viewed as a perfect representation for the album as a whole-funky, high energy, and fun.

As mentioned, many other tracks can be held in the same vein as the opener. Funky Monks opens with the funkiest guitar riff on the entire album, and proceeds to groove right along until Frusciante explodes with an off the wall guitar solo. Welcomed tempo changes come at the end of the song with a slower funk vibe being presented. If You Have to Ask is equally funky as Flea plays a heavily detuned, pokey (in a good way) bassline, and Anthony raps away with some amusing rhymes. An upbeat chorus is present as well, and again, presents excellent variation.

If we explore the more Rock sounding parts of this album, we will find tracks such as Suck My Kiss. The opening bassline sounds like something Rage Against the Machine would write. The song is high energy, and very much of interest to hear the band play in a more rock style on this predominantly Funk album. Blood Sugar Sex Magik is the same way, with an excellent melodic main riff and some deep voiced vocals from Anthony until one of the biggest “sing along” choruses of the album bursts into the song. The title track is surely an underrated highlight of the album, and is sure to please even the funkiest listeners of the band. My Lovely Man is another Rock influenced track that flows back and forth between funk and Rock nicely.

As expected however, more of the funk continues. The Righteous and the Wicked is a pokey, sneaky song that features more of the same, fun, instrumentally tight as hell funk that the album is famous for. Give It Away, one of the hits off the album, gets my vote for catchiest song on the album. It’s more of the same good time funk and rapping, but again it’s the subtle differences that make the variation on this record amazing.

And yes, how could we forget the ballads on this album? Coming from the Red Hot Chili
Peppers, many people thought that a song that sounded, well, “normal”, was impossible for the band to pull off. But the doubters were proven wrong with Under The Bridge. Everything about this song is near perfect. From Frusciante’s free flowing strummed guitar lines, light percussion, and the true vocal highlight of the album from Anthony, with his lyrics dealing with his past (and still to come in his future) heroin use. You have all heard it so, it doesn’t really need to be described, but I will say that in no way is it overrated or overplayed. There are more ballads though, such as I Could Have Lied, which is nearly just as good as Under The Bridge. The song features top notch lyrics, and beautiful acoustic guitar work, until everything culminates into the best guitar solo on the album from John Frusciante. Breaking The Girl is equally a highlight with a bit of a more foreign feel to this track. The acoustic guitar playing and vocals are again a highlight for this excellent song. It is these three songs that allowed the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s to vary their work from just funk, and make a truly amazing album. As a result, their experiments worked, and now are free to write in a multitude of styles and genres.

And finally we get to Anthony Kiedis, whose vocals are the icing on the cakes for the band. While a good majority of the album is Anthony spitting hard hitting, raps, he exemplifies the rare ability to incorporate some actual good lyrical writing while keeping his raps fun. A good example is in If You Have To Ask-

“A wanna be gangster thinkin’ he’s a wise guy, rob another bank he’s a sock ‘em in the eye guy”

“Most in the race, just loose their grace, to the blackest hole in all of space Crooked as a hooker now suck my thumb, anybody wanna come get some?”

As I said, quirky and fun are the best adjectives to describe the raps on this album. On Give It Away, more of the same is exemplified-

“Greedy little people in a sea of distress, keep your more to receive your less
Unimpressed by material excess, love is free love so me say hell yes!”

In Under The Bridge however, Anthony takes a more deep approach to his lyrics (his heroin and cocaine addictions), combined with the emotional chord progression, the result is a phenomenal piece of work-

“Sometimes I feel like, I don’t have a partner, sometimes I feel like, my only friend
Is the city I live in, the city of angels, lonely as I am, together we cry.”

“Under the Bridge downtown, is where I drew some blood

Under The Bridge Downtown, I could not get enough.”
As you can see, Kiedis delivers a varied lyrical style on the album, always keeping things interesting.

And so we come to the end of this timeless album. Even after describing the album, one may ask exactly why it deserves a classic rating. The answer is simply this. Blood Sugar Sex Magik will not give everything in music, and it doesn’t try to. But for what it attempts to do, there is simply no better album out there. I can’t recommend any specific tracks to you; all I can say is to listen to this already if you haven’t. If you have heard it, well, maybe its time to give it another spin to groove along to it again.



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4.3
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Comments:Add a Comment 
FriendofTheDevil70
November 24th 2007



384 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Simply one of my favorite albums of all time, and despite how many other people have reviewed it, I just had to do a review myself.

And as a side note, how do you get bolding to show up from Microsoft Word to the actual review on the site? Thanks.This Message Edited On 11.24.07This Message Edited On 11.24.07

FriendofTheDevil70
November 24th 2007



384 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ahh, thanks, I'll get around to bolding the titles tommorow.This Message Edited On 11.24.07

Yazz_Flute
November 25th 2007



18736 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Very nice review, i love this album.

In the summary at the top though, isn't the word "plethora" and not "pluthora?"

Digging: Anekdoten - Vemod

noahliquid
November 25th 2007



8 Comments


i need to give this another listen

Meatplow
November 25th 2007



5524 Comments


I dislike what they've become in recent years, making increasingly lax music and filing lawsuits against TV shows that steal their album titles.

Still their albums always had some kind of a charm. This is a great example but I prefer the way earlier stuff though, it's far more fresh and funky.

McP3000
November 25th 2007



3941 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

What? I think Stadium Arcadium is their second best album yet...


Anyway, good review...even though it wasn't needed.

FriendofTheDevil70
November 25th 2007



384 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Seems like everyone thought SA was great when it was first released, but now it seems no one cares about it. Its the second best album the Chilis have ever done IMO.

ohcleverhansyou
November 25th 2007



885 Comments


It's a really good CD, it would have been a fabulous CD had they cut all the not-quite-
crap-but-not-very-good songs and made it a one disc. The word "unhappy" shows up
a few too many times in the first paragraph, but that's alright.This Message Edited On 11.25.07

Aficionado
November 25th 2007



1027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Stadium Arcadium kinda sucked tbh. Oh and btw Friendofthedevil, I'd suggest not bolding the titles, but instead italicizing them it will make them look better. Also, it's spelt Plethora not Pluthora.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
November 25th 2007



15693 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Boring album. Give It Away must be one of the most overrated/annoying songs ever.

ohcleverhansyou
November 25th 2007



885 Comments


And with the new lawsuit, kinda funny.

McP3000
November 25th 2007



3941 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

There's hardly any filler in Stadium Arcadium. Its one of the best double albums i've ever bought.

Aficionado
November 25th 2007



1027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You need to buy more double albums then

McP3000
November 25th 2007



3941 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

No, i actually should buy less because i always have to skip tracks too often.

Anyway, i would have preferred the review if there wasn't the seperations at the bottom between lyrics. You make Kiedis out to be a better lyricist than he is. Under the Bridge is great lyrics wise...but thats just one song...

FriendofTheDevil70
November 25th 2007



384 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Its not that I think his lyrics are true masterpieces, I just personally find them cool as hell. They certainly aren't on the level of a Cohen, Dylan, Waters, etc. but I find them to suit the music perfectly.

And yes, the seperations, I realize now, don't look very good. I'm going to pick a day this week to clean up the review a bit. Thanks everyone, for all the comments as well.

Sound
November 25th 2007



3838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think Kiedis' lyrics on Californication are slightly better than on this.

Classic
November 25th 2007



4 Comments


Yeah it is a great album i bought it used at some book store and i was kind of blown away... but i dont think it is their best. I enjoy Californication the most of any of their albums. I feel like there are almost no weak tracks on it. I cant say the same about this one. But still good.



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