Anthony Kiedis, Michael Peter Balzary (Flea), John Frusciante and Will Ferrel, no, not Will, Chad Smith all provide glossy Rock instrumentals and vocals to an album that is from beginning to end a roller-coaster of ear-to-mind visuals. From the beginning with the gritty “Around the World” to the pain-stricken “Otherside” and motivational vocal performance of Kiedis on “Saviour“. ‘Californication’ is an album that you cannot miss an opportunity to listen to.
All of the instrumentals provide a backdrop of emotion to the song which is layered with Frusciante’s heartbreaking guitar melodies and background vocals as well as the subtleness of Smith’s dry but still enjoyable drumming.
The first four songs, “Around the World” to “Otherside” are filled with lyrics on loneliness, appreciating the love of their fans, drug abuse and depression. While all of these topics are drastically different, they are all an important factor to the stability of the band as well as the trials and tribulations that Kiedis and Frusciante struggled with.
Alike many of RHCP’s releases, they include a variety of instrumentals that have thunderous bass lines, courtesy of Flea and striking guitar solos. Yet, it’s when their slower songs come on play that really show their diversity and ability to craft emotionally overwhelming soundtracks to ones life. In particular, the minimally instrumental “Porcelain“. A song describing a woman who is suffering from drug abuse who is also pregnant. Kiedis supplies light-high-pitched vocals that you can sway your whole body too, yet, your heart will hurt tremendously at the same time with his projection of emotions.
The follow-up track, “Emit Remmus” (Summer Time backwards for those who don’t know) is a drastic switch of ViBES as well as overall tone from the previous track. Flea provides an extremely funky bass line and Frusciante supplies a melody that could’ve fitted perfectly on ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik‘.
However, the real standout on the album is the final track (on the standard version). “Road Trippin’” sees Kiedis and Frusciante singing over a layer of wonderful guitar chords and other string assortments.
In overall, it is an album that contains multiple topics that are relevant to us today and are not just the struggles of celebrities. Although this album came 8 years after Frusciante’s last collaborative project with the band, it still shows that the chemistry between the four of them back then was still undeniable and that there was still time for them to craft masterpieces of music.