Red Hot Chili Peppers
One Hot Minute


3.5
great

Review

by Matthijs van der Lee USER (219 Reviews)
January 24th, 2010 | 139 replies | 25,214 views


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Frusciante departs and the band starts messing up straight away. 'Oh, wait, you say this is actually a pretty good record?'

9 of 10 thought this review was well written

While the gaps between Red Hot Chili Peppers releases had always been fairly consistent, being about two years, it wasn’t an easy task for the band to follow up their breakthrough Blood Sugar Sex Magik. With Frusciante, who had proved to be an immensely talented guitarist, leaving mid-tour, the band had to quickly fill the empty guitar slot with Arik Marshall, who only stayed for touring. After many unfruitful searches for a new guitarist, the band eventually settled on Jane’s Addiction’s Dave Navarro. Musical interests conflicted however, as Navarro’s interest in funk was little, which considerably slowed the writing and recording process. In the end, it took 4 years from the band’s previous album to release One Hot Minute. In 1998, three years after that, Navarro unsurprisingly left because of creative differences.

Nevertheless, Navarro made his mark on the album. As opposed to the prominent sexual themes recurring on previous releases, One Hot Minute is notably darker, taking time to deal with subjects such as drug use and depression (Kiedis had resumed his drug addiction a year prior to the release of the album). Opener Warped is an immediate mood-setter, and shows definite potential. With its multi-tracked vocals and surprisingly hard-hitting riffs, it shows influences from psychedelic and hard rock, and shows how much difference Navarro had made. Combined with lines such as ‘My tendency for dependency is offending me/It's upending me/I'm pretending to be strong and free from my dependency/It's warping me’, it successfully conveys its message, and shows a completely different side of the band, which is not necessarily a bad thing. If the band could have filled One Hot Minute with songs of similar value, perhaps Frusciante’s departure did not need be regretted after all.

But alas, they could not. The album has several other examples of strong material, and even a few career highlights, but is also the band’s most inconsistent album since their debut. Tracks that follow a similar path as Warped prove to be highlights. The funk/metal crossover, paired with some weird, spacey vocal work on Coffee Shop turns out to be a winning combination, and the title track, aside from featuring some of Kiedis’ best clean singing on the album, is instrumentally one of the band’s heaviest yet. Shallow Be Thy Game remains the best cut, combining the traditional funk groove of the band with a very dark layer, like Coffee Shop bordering on heavy metal, and pacing it up tremendously compared to the other material. But with Kiedis and Navarro drawing all the attention, it is important not to forget about the rhythm section. During the entirety of the album, but especially on Coffee Shop and Shallow Be Thy Game, Flea and Smith once again cement their reputation as one of the absolute best rhythm duos in rock, altering their sound to fit Navarro's darker lead, resulting in one of their most aggressive hardest-hitting performances yet. The interplay is, needless to say, still unparalelled.

Like Blood Sugar Sex Magik, the band’s sixth is also home to three ballads. My Friends, the first of these, has remained the album’s most well-known song, and it is not difficult to see why. With its sweet acoustic guitar and equally sweet (but also sad) lyrics and vocals (‘My friends are so distressed/ And standing on the brink of emptiness/ No words I know of to express/ This emptiness’), is of course very appealing to the mainstream audience, but even despite that, it remains a strong and not at all commercialized ballad, truthfully expressing the subject of depression explored on the album. Tearjerker, a tribute to Kurt Cobain, who died a year before the album was released, and Transcending are also effective, be it to a lesser extent, and all show diversity in Navarro’s otherwise heavy playing style.

But as said, One Hot Minute is also far too inconsistent. Six of the tracks, meaning half of the album, do not quite make the mark, and that is, considering the potential the rest shows, even more of a shame. Aeroplane has annoying lyrics and vocals, especially during the chorus, Deep Kick is actually pretty energetic during for the most part, but contains an almost-2-minute boring psychedelic intro, Walkabout carries a slow, deep funk grove slightly reminiscent of Freaky Styley, but is pretty repetitive, and therefore drags at 5 minutes. The last on-the-verge-of-average track is Falling Into Grace. Though the song has a pretty interesting atmosphere, due to excessive use of the wah-pedal by Navarro (a recognizable feature on the album that sets him apart from Frusicante), but the Peppers have used female backing vocals in better ways in the past (Johnny, Kick a Hole in the Sky), and the chorus is rather weak.

The two worst moments are Pea and One Big Mob. Pea is a solo moment for Flea, who sings about himself and those who judge him by his size in a comical manner (‘I am a little pea/I love the sky and the trees/I'm a teeny tiny little ant/Checking out this and that/I am nothing/So you have nothing to hide/And I'm a pacifist/So I can *** your *** up/Oh yeah I'm small/Oh yeah I'm small/*** you asshole/You homophobic redneck dick/You're big and tough and macho/You can kick my ass/So ***ing what’), but the 1:47 track is, like so many before it, just another moment for a laugh, rather than one to be taken seriously. One Big Mob doesn’t really go anywhere. It starts out with a classic crazy Kiedis rap, but then breaks into a long psychedelic section, only to eventually return to where it started.

With Frusciante having left, One Hot Minute was bound to be very different. Nevertheless, credit must be given where credit is due. The album successfully explores darker, unknown musical territories for the band, and that brought out a whole new Chili Peppers. The writing is notably lacking in places, whereas Frusciante’s arrival had brought more structure in the department, but when looking through these mishaps, there is quite a lot to enjoy about One Hot Minute, only two tracks being downright bad. We should be thankful the classic formation reunited for Californication, but between that record and Blood Sugar Sex Magik, this one is, to be fair, criminally overlooked.

One Hot Minute's Red Hot Chili Peppers were:

- Anthony Kiedis ~ Lead Vocals
- Michael Peter ‘Flea’ Balzary ~ Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals on Pea
- David Michael Navarro ~ Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
- Chad Gaylord Smith ~ Drums


Chili Classics:

Warped
My Friends
Coffee Shop
One Hot Minute
Shallow Be Thy Game


TO BE CONTINUED…



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
January 24th 2010



7946 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nag won't be back until about 4 hours, so comment ahead and I will reply later.

Titan50
January 24th 2010



4588 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good stuff

LepreCon
January 24th 2010



3544 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm not gonna lie, I like this record quite a lot. Good review.
Also, awesome dig there, Titan50

Titan50
January 24th 2010



4588 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Watched it for the first time last Thursday, was like "WHOA THIS SHIT IS AWSUM" *downloads soundtrack*

BrandNewBoognish
January 24th 2010



1021 Comments


People talk shit about this album but i think it's just herd mentality bashing because this is 1000 times better than Stadium Arcadium and a lot more interesting than By the Way

thatguy84
January 24th 2010



214 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review. The only thing that I felt was missing from it was that you didn't really mention how much Flea and Chad really shine on this album; it's probably some of their best playing.

Also who the hell thought it'd be a good idea to put a crying baby in One Big Mob?

Fuff24
January 24th 2010



1117 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The only thing that I felt was missing from it was that you didn't really mention how much Flea and Chad really shine on this album; it's probably some of their best playing.

jagride
January 24th 2010



2256 Comments


That's Navarro's baby crying. Album is ok, has a couple of great songs

JWT155
January 24th 2010



9183 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really like Aeroplane and Pea, under rated album imho.

Digging: The Menzingers - Rented World

EVedder27
January 24th 2010



6088 Comments


There are some really great songs on this album, Shallow Be Thy Name and Warped being two of them. I have yet to listen to the whole album though.

Edit: And Aeroplane of course.

NebSnurb
January 24th 2010



535 Comments


Ive been putting this off too long....I think its time to obtain. Good review, like always.

Nagrarok
January 24th 2010



7946 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for the feeback guys, and yes, perhaps I should have mentioned Flea and Smith more. You haven't heard My Friends Mike?

EVedder27
January 24th 2010



6088 Comments


That's another great track. The other one I've heard is Tearjeaker which is pretty solid as well.

Nagrarok
January 24th 2010



7946 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Then you've basically heard half the album. Get to the rest, be my advice.

Nagrarok
January 24th 2010



7946 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

*Especially for thatguy and Fuff, Nag has added credit to the rhythm section in his review, which they very well deserve.*

Greggers
January 24th 2010



2375 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Bring on Californication!

Nagrarok
January 24th 2010



7946 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Tomorrow, my friend, tomorrow. Writing right now.

shindip
January 24th 2010



3536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pea and Transcending are awesome

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
January 24th 2010



23625 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I hate Aeroplane off of this. However, My Friends is one of my favourites by them.

This is also the only Chili Peppers record I don't have, probably because Dave Navarro is kinda shitty. John Frusciante and Hillel
make him inadequate.



Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

BrandNewBoognish
January 24th 2010



1021 Comments


Listen to early Janes Addiction. Navarro's best work> Frusciante and Slovak combined



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