Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers – One Hot Minute

Even the best bands can hit a rut. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are no exception. They have found the musical equivalent of a comfy armchair and are loathe to leave it.

Californication and By The Way were both fine albums, but they didn’t really break any new ground. I know this won’t be popular, but their sound is becoming latter-day Bon Jovi bland.

I was having a browse through my CD collection a while back and dug out One Hot Minute. When this came out in 1995, I’d just started at University and it became part of the soundtrack to that freshman year.

One Hot Minute – The Best Bits

Even 10 years later, One Hot Minute sounds as fresh as when I first listened to it. Warped kicks things off with a brooding psychedelic intro which explodes into five minutes of frenetic funk. Aeroplane follows with a terrific upbeat groove which always brings a smile.

Kiedis turns Jim Morrison on Deep Kick with a poetic, spoken-word intro about the vitality of youth and the fight against the “ugly, grey monster” which I’ve always taken to be either age, stagnation or the dullness of a mundane, 9-to-5 lifestyle (all of which have applied to me at one time or another!).

My Friends is a beautiful, if sad acoustic track and one of the strongest songs on the album. Coffee Shop is a rousing, raucous romp with some great lyrics, aptly followed by the diminutive Pea.

Without going into the rest of the album track-by-track, I can say that One Hot Minute doesn’t have any weak tracks. Every tune has it’s own personality and feel, and the tracks are arranged so that they contrast perfectly.

Summing Up

One Hot Minute is definitely my favourite Red Hot Chili Peppers album. The sound is heavier (mostly attributed to the influence of Dave Navarro on guitar), but it still retains the funk and chilled-out sensibilities that are Chili Peppers trademarks by now.

You can also hear a touch of their future direction for albums like Californication on tracks like My Friends and Falling Into Grace. For me, the difference is that on later albums, the songs tend to run into each other. A casual listener would find it hard to distinguish the tracks. The difference on One Hot Minute is that each song has a definite personality and an irresistible sing-along appeal.

This review was originally written by me on 1 December 2006 and has been posted on various places online over the last few years. I’ve moved it here to keep a complete archive of my single and video reviews from my entire blogging career.

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