Review Summary: Thier first album to be heavily focused on melodies, and a return to form all at the same time, Californication is everything RHCP are: fun, sexy, funky, spiritual, exciting, and groundbreaking.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are nothing if not 3-Demensional. While their trademark punk-funk sound will always be in tact, each album expands that in a different way. 1991's "Blood Sugar Sex Magik" was a trippy, fun, rap-funk-alternative rock party that despite showing the band's strengths, did not have much depth. 1995's "One Hot Minute" proved the band did have a dark side; however, this was the main flaw, as there were no sing-along hooks or hints of pop crossover. 1999's "Californication" is the Chili Peppers' best album for many reasons. The lead track, "Around the World", combines super sexy California rapping from Anthony Kiedis and a new slightly electronic guitar riff from John Frusciante. The smooth singing breakdowns definitely define the record: a mix of alternative rap, soothing vocal harmonies, and songs that are as much about partying as self-discovery. There is something for all Chili Peppers fans here: The band's softer side lyrically and spirtual side musically in "This Velvet Glove," in which Anthony uses his potential sobriety to find that special someone, and "Savior," where he goes on an "Under the Bridge"-like journey to find the source of his life lessons. Those who want the band's sexy, slightly arrogant, funk rock will also get their fill: "Get On zTop" is an undescribable tune about how awesome they are, "Right on Time" is a 2-minute burst of John's silly, yet heavenly, voacals with Anthony's fast lyrics that can only be described as "melodic punk", and "I Like Dirt" is a song that will have you laughing as much as rocking. Anyone who needs proof, or just wants to be reminded, of the band's melody and Anthony's improved singing need to listen to the album's biggest pop hits. "Scar Tissue" brings together rock fans with John's amazing guitar skills and Anthony's strained, yet soaring vocals. However, two songs that really define the album, "Porcelain" and "Road Trippin," are 60's psychedelic pop revival at its best, and the titile track combines California lifestyle, "Give It Away"-like swagger, and the hypnotic musical soaring that defines the album. Californication is one of our generation's best rock albums because it defines what the Red Hot Chili Peppers' message will ALWAYS be: making music to excite, inspire, and just feel good about.