By Dylan Farrell | Music enthusiast & first year public relations student
The 90’s, a nostalgic era in which everyone looks fondly upon, but that is not to take away from the timeless pieces of music it has graced us with. Arguably the best era in music, it gave us such amazing albums such as Pearl Jam’s “Ten,” Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic,” Soundgarden’s “Superunkown,” and so many others which have garnered a cult following over the years.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers were determined to make the 90’s a memorable era, getting off to a booming start with “Blood Sugar Sex Magik,” then tapering off with “One Hot Minute” in terms of success. Success was reachable and after much band member controversy the acclaimed “Californication” was released just in time to be called a ‘90s album which brought RHCP back into the limelight.
This album achieved everything RHCP had set in sight, and offered a chill ride from the album’s opener to closer.
Scar Tissue – The Original Single
The tempo definitely turns down on “Scar Tissue” but it is in no way a bad thing. This song is the epitome of imagery in a song, it takes you on a journey through the eyes of another person. The opening riff itself sets it up as a nice smooth tune which you can sing along to, or just feel the music, whatever you’re into.
The three distinct Frusciante solo’s in this piece give it its identity as the perfect driving song, it keeps the song’s momentum going strong and adds enough that you’ll fall in love with this song every time.
Favourite Lyrics: “I’ll make it to the moon if I have to crawl”
Song Rating: 9.5/10
Around the World – The Second Released Single
Could there have been a stronger opener for an album? I’m not sure, but from my very first listen “Around the World” had captivated me with one of the grooviest opening riffs heard around the world – no pun intended.
This song takes us on an almost surreal journey that drifts between groovy and rock ballad, and gives us a catchy dance inducing course. You’d be lying if you said that this song did not make you either a) sing along or b) bob your head.
As a basic low down this song starts groovy, becomes a rock ballad, and then closes with an outro similar to the intro. A perfect opener.
Favourite Lyric: “I know I know, that life is beautiful around the world”
Song Rating: 9/10
Otherside – The Third Released Single
“Otherside” takes us through the drug struggles of Hillel Slovak, who died in 1988. The song is told from his perspective and how he’s taking everything to the other side (afterlife). A truly beautiful song, both lyrically and musically.
This song, like many other RHCP staples, is a song that lets the music flow through you; you feel the music and the imagery again is very powerful. Every band member is on point in this song and it keeps the album flowing beautifully.
Favourite Lyric: “Push the trigger and pull the thread, I’ve got to take it on the otherside”
Song Rating: 9.5/10
Californication – The Fourth Released Single
“Californication” is both the title track and the anthem of this album, almost everyone born in at least the mid-90’s will know at least one part of this song.
Everyone in 1999 was dreaming of californication and this song has stood the test of time because it is still a concert staple that everyone will cheer for.
Musically this song could not have gotten any better. Through the work of Frusciante, Flea, and Chad Smith the rhythm of this song matches the lyrics perfectly.
Definitely my favourite of the album I cannot resist turning the volume up and jamming out to this song each and every time.
Favourite Lyric: “Destruction leads to a very rough road but it also breeds creation”
Song Rating: 10/10
Road Trippin’ – The Fifth Released Single
This song is the least known of the singles but offers a chill segue to the end of the album, after the hot start with “Around the World” it ends on a calm high and takes you out of the magic that is “Californicstion.” Personally, not my favourite song off the album but nonetheless it is a beautifully written and recorded song that gives off only the most positive vibes.
Favourite Lyric: “So much has come before those battle lost and won”
Song Rating: 6/10
Parallel Universe – The Last Released Single
After the great start, the energy keeps on flowing with the darker, more twisted “Parallel Universe.” This song is not your typical Chili Pepper song which they had a reputation for, the lyrics in general are a different theme altogether, and the funkier bass riffs are absent.
But for what it is, a melodic ballad, the band hits the high notes well and supplies this song with a never-ending energy. Ending with the strong Frusciante dominated outro the song keeps “Californication” on a high note.
Favourite Lyrics: “When you hear the beloved song, I am with you”
Song Rating: 7.5/10
Overall, the album has amazing high points in its singles that segue into each other and keep the album flowing almost perfectly. The filler songs which were not released as singles are almost perfect as well, some songs may seem a little off beat but they are an acquired taste and over time after each listen this album gains more and more respect.
Alas, the 90’s came to a close, but not without one final shout from arguably the most popular rock band of the decade, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and their album “Californication.”
Overall Rating: 9/10
So I pose a question to everyone, what was your favourite ‘90s album?