Review Summary: This is an all time classic. Without a doubt one of the best albums of the 90's that will always stand the test of time.
Ever since the Red Hot Chili Peppers debuted in 1983, they became one of the most popular nightclub acts in America. Their first studio album, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, became one of the most sought out Funk records at the time, despite not reaching unimaginable heights of success. Two more albums followed until they were faced with a huge obstacle that was weighing them down: drugs.
Drugs became a huge part of life for all the Chili Peppers members, especially vocalist Anthony Kiedis and guitar player Hillel Slovak. The drugs in fact became such a huge part of their lives that it took the life of Slovak in 1988, which led to the recruitment of John Frusciante on guitar when he was only eighteen years old. Mother’s Milk, the band’s fourth album, was released in 1989, but after the recording, all members decided to quit their extreme drug habits in fear that they would begin to take toll on their bodies.
Blood Sugar Sex Magik, RHCP’s fifth and ground-breaking album, was recorded in 1991, when Kiedis, bass player Flea and drummer Chad Smith were all clean of drugs and hadn’t been more focused and more fresh in years. It took the band only two years from being a nightclub act in L.A. into an international sensation. Blood Sugar Sex Magik was one of the most successful records of the 1990’s.
Listening to the album, it’s quick to realize exactly why it was so successful. The music on BSSM was the best music RHCP recorded at the time, and still remains arguably the best they have ever recorded.
With four great studio albums already to their credit, the Red Hot Chili Peppers went into the studio to record Blood Sugar Sex Magik and said, “we’re going to kill this motherf***er.” The album reaches monumental heights of brilliance. Of, course, Funk music plays a colossal role in defining this classic. “Funky Monks”, one of the band’s most underrated songs, and the huge singles “Give It Away”, with Chad’s powerful drumming and “Suck My Kiss”, a song where Kiedis pleads for a sexual encounter, are all funk rock anthems. “Mellowship Slinky In B Major” could also be another song to define the funk rock genre with it’s incredible riff, and “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” contained perhaps Frusciante’s best guitar work on the album. There is not a single Funk song that is in any way terrible on this record.
Many of the album’s lyrical themes were based around what was frequently on Anthony’s mind. Of course, Sex, like most Chili Peppers albums, is a main theme. “Sir Psycho Sexy” is an unusual but hilarious song that goes for more than eight minutes, but something about it makes it one of their most unique songs, and even has Anthony pointing out there is “a devil in his dick and demons in his semen” as he forces a lady cop to suck his dick. He'd also been reminiscing about late Chili Peppers guitarist Hillel Slovak, composing “My Lovely Man” in his tribute. “The Power of Equality”, the album’s sensational opener, confronted topics concerning racism and prejudice. “I Could Have Lied” is the most heartfelt song on the record, about a relationship Kiedis had with Irish singer Sinéad O'Connor.
The singles released off BSSM were all great, along with some incredible music videos. “Give It Away”, the first single, featured the band in a black and white music video dancing in a deserted area, and “Suck My Kiss” featured clips from the Funky Monks DVD. “Breaking The Girl” was another great song that contained Chad’s best drum pattern on the album. “Under The Bridge”, of course, is a colossal song. No matter what you’re listening to, everyone has heard it. It has become one of the greatest songs of all time, one of the most learnt songs on guitar, and is a huge rock sing-along.
Reflecting back to 1991, Rock and Heavy Metal were producing many incredible albums that have all stood the test of time and made huge impacts on music. BSSM was actually released on the same day as Nirvana’s mega-platinum selling album Nevermind. Both albums are very different, but in my opinion, BSSM is in every way better than Nevermind, but let’s not deny that Nirvana made a great album, but I’m a Chili Pepper nut. I’ve been listening to their incredible music ever since I was six years old.
Blood Sugar Sex Magik remains my all-time favourite RHCP record, although Californication gave it a run for its money. Never has funk music made such an immense impact on the mainstream, and nor did it cause any negative reception or backlash. Blood Sugar Sex Magik was such an impressive and successful album, that Frusciante left the group in the middle of the tour to support it as he could not cope with the success.
• Suck My Kiss
• I Could Have Lied
• Mellowship Slinky In B Major
• Blood Sugar Sex Magik
• Under The Bridge
• Sir Psycho Sexy