There’s been some discussion in the comments, as a result of a line I added to my recent review of Californication that I was hoping it’d be an improvement over One Hot Minute. It was a comment I made offhand, and based on my memory of hearing this album ages ago. Old impressions are hardly fair, so let’s give it another spin, shall we?
Warped starts out with a fairly weird, trippy bit. But it soon turns into a big RHCP rawk trippy song. The effects on the vocals, here, were unnecessary, despite the song title. Aeroplane was the song shoved at us as the hit. It’s an OK song, catchy enough to stick in your head long after hearing it. Sounds like it could’ve been an outtake left off Blood Sugar Sex Magik. The kids singing at the end used to tick me off as pointless, and now, well, I pretty much feel the same. But whatever works for them.
Deep Kick starts off with a spoken word bit, but after almost two minutes it launches into another Chilis funk rawk fest. On record, it rocks hard enough – live, this song would kill. Well, most of it would – once we hit 5:05 it becomes an atonal slow song. WTF. I skipped to the next track. Moving on, My Friends (not to be confused with “Me and my, me and my, me and my FRIENDS!” from the old days) starts out acoustic and becomes a pretty, slow rock song. It’s not exactly memorable, but it’s decent enough.
Coffee Shop rocks HARD. The melody line is definitely weird. That’s more than a couple of tracks here, already, where I’m wondering if the band was in a troubled spot, of maybe the drugs were good? I shouldn’t disparage, these guys should be given due credit for trying new things. But is it something you’d wanna hear more than once? Hm. I like the instrumental break at 1:35. Very funky!
Pea is a gentle, odd little tune. The lyrics are hilarious, but again with the atonal singing. Is that an acoustic bass, or just the bottom strings on a regular acoustic? Just an strange song.
One Big Mob goes right back into the pummel-rock. Lots of tom work over the chanting. This is a funk punk party! Well, except for the giant section in the middle, from 1:05 to 3:45, where they go all slow and muddy and trippy again. Sigh. Walkabout is a great track, a slow funk jam. I really liked this one, shoulda been a radio hit. It blends right into Tearjerker, a slow song that ambles along, and even the big payoff isn’t bad, but it’s not great either. Feels like a song to get though.
One Hot Minute is a hard-hitter. Sounds like Rollins Band could’ve done it, honestly. It has that sound that’s trying to crush you, even if Kiedis’ vocals aren’t nearly as menacing as ol’ angry-ass Hank’s. Yes! Falling into Grace has a big, fat ass, and is a Chilis funk workout. The chorus is a little weak, but I liked most of this. Shallow Be Thy Game is a full-on funk punk rock attack. Yes! This is a strong one! Transcending closes things off with a mid-tempo track that houses a strong groove. And then, right near the end, there’s another big rock crusher jam. Going out with a bang, for sure, this is one of the album’s best tracks. Nice one!
In sum: My memory of this record is faulty. I dismissed it (easily, it seems). And perhaps it doesn’t have as many tracks that are on the order of their biggest hits and, yes, there are some weirdo freaky tracks, but this is the Chilis, and we expect that of them by now. I’d say 3/4 of this record is really, really strong. I’d also wager it gets better as it goes, the ending much better than the beginning, like it took them a while to find their feet. I’m very glad I revisited it! Let’s JAM!