Thursday, April 08, 2010

CD of the Day: ‘Californication,’ Red Hot Chili Peppers (1999)

This dramatic comeback album is greater than the sum of its parts. The best songs are frontloaded on the disc, but the second half doesn’t exactly falter, either. “Californication” is a smooth and pleasurable journey start to finish; its consistency goes a long way.

The first four songs are certainly one of the best stretches of music the band’s produced in two decades of work. Opener “Around the World” is actually the weakest of the bunch, but isn’t that growling bass line a great way to say, "Uh, yeah, we're BACK"? “Parallel Universe" takes the opposite tack; it builds and builds to a massive explosion in the final 1:30. “Scar Tissue’s” riff, meanwhile, rivals that of “Under the Bridge,” and “Otherside” is a groove of addictive power.

While the title track, in the sixth slot, is the last great song of this CD, that doesn’t mean the final eight cuts aren’t worth your time. “I Like Dirt” and “Right on Time” are the least of these, but they’re more than countered by hard-driving “Emit Remmus,” rich “This Velvet Glove,” and grandiose “Savior.” Quiet numbers, “Porcelain” and “Road Trippin’,” are also worthwhile.

After disappearing for the latter half of the ’90s, RHCP earned the accolades and success they received with this tremendous return to form. It got me through many an all-nighter.

Grade: A-

Favorite Track: “Scar Tissue”

Other Favorite Track: “Californication”

Least Favorite Track: “Get on Top”

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