The Red Hot Chili Peppers at this point weren’t hugely well known, even in the USA. This album, although not a breakthrough like Blood Sugar Sex Magik was later on, got the group some chart attention and some interest via several singles from this album. There were multiple personnel changes prior to the release of this album, eventually with the group adding the quintessential John Frusciante on guitar and Chad Smith on drums. This resulted in the classic RHCP lineup that fans love and know today. This was the group’s first release that went gold and although this is no Blood Sugar Sex Magik, it is likely going to be an interesting listening experience. Let’s hear it.
Good Time Boys begins with some weird playing from bass player Flea and a bunch of other weird sounds before this tune gets going. Instantly, this sounds mega and amazing, and John Frusciante’s guitar playing is really excellent on this song. Anthony Kiedis’s singing is intense and enjoyable to listen to, although his voice is still developing on this tune. Although this was recorded back in 1989, it sounds nothing at all like the music around the time. Which is a good thing musically. John Frusciante is the real star of this tune, and he sounds really amazing and totally enjoyable. Kiedis’s vocals are semi-Rapped here. There is an intermissionary break down which is actually quite different before this tune resumes into the verses. A good tune, the Red Hot Chili Peppers know how to make great music, especially with John Frusciante as their guitarist. An excellent and different listen, this is a good way to spend five minutes of your life listening to this awesome track, which concludes with some amazing lead guitar breaks. Fun.
Higher Ground is one of the hit singles from the album and begins with Flea playing some awesome slap bass. Soon enough, Chad Smith enters with drum rolls and the song gets going. This is much better than what was around at the time, and John Frusciante plays some awesome and mean guitar here. This is a good piece as it shows the future of music for the 1990s: less keyboard oriented and more cool and clever guitar based. There are some chanted vocals in the chorus, and this heavy and melodic piece sounds really awesome. A great listen, especially for RHCP fans out there, this must be heard by any Rock fan out there. This is a fantastic song, period. Worth your ears for sure, it ends with the chanted chorus and Anthony Kiedis doing some spoken words over the top, before concluding in a Hardcore Punk style fashion. Brilliant.
Subway To Venus begins with more Funk based riffage from John Frusciante. The band then enters a semi-Disco groove, complete with some strange horns. Anthony Kiedis’s voice isn’t the best here, but still, this is a superb and awesome tune to listen to throughout. The playing of this song is so brilliant that one can believe if it was all a single take for each member of the band, which it likely was. An excellent and enjoyable piece of music that deserves to be heard more often, although Kiedis’s voice doesn’t sound fantastic here, again. Despite that, this is quite clearly an amazing song. The breakdown in the middle of the song is really quite good, and this is an instant classic and underrated Rock music to enjoy. Right towards the end is some funky syncopation to hear from the group, before launching into a sped-up guitar solo section to conclude. Excellent work.
Magic Johnson begins with some pounding drum rolls and some crowd cheering, with some rapid-fire lyrics from Anthony Kiedis. This eventually launches into quite a silly song that actually is quite good, although this has some of the try-hard humour that Blood Sugar Sex Magik would predominantly have later on. John Frusciante is a great guitarist here, and the drumming from Chad Smith here is quite excellent. A really uplifting and enjoyable tune to hear, warts and all, this is a great punchy tune that shows that the RHCP were going to be hugely popular in the future for delivering quirky, Funky Rock music. Excellent listening, even if this is not to everyone’s tastes. The outro is weird, and the song ends with the crowd cheering. Nice.
Nobody Weird Like Me begins with some awesome slap bass from Flea, with some additional electronic textures added into the mix. Guitars enter, and we are underway. This is an extremely fast and furious tune that is energetic, to say the least. A really cool, short and sharp listening experience, this is very much following Alternative Music trends of the time. There are some warped and interesting sounds throughout this tune, which are really wacky. A far-out song that is for headbanging, this sounds like a really sped-up and powerful tune that should be heard by more. It is like Hardcore Punk, with some wacky musicality thrown into the mix here. Eventually, towards the end of the song is some slower and more melodic playing that sounds mint. A fine tune to hear, it ends with some loose instrumentation. Great sounding tune.
Knock Me Down begins with some overdriven guitars by John Frusciante, and quickly launches into a very good song with some upbeat melodies and singing. Anthony Kiedis sounds a lot better here, and although the lyrics present are very nonsensical, this is an enjoyable and catchy listen. A good example of funky and loveable music, this is really excellent and underrated music. The midsection has more great guitar playing from John Frusciante, and the rest of the band is just as talented as he is, in their own way. A really fantastic tune to hear, there is a key change towards the end, which is a little unnecessary but is fine regardless. Smooth and awesome, the Red Hot Chili Peppers know how to impress.
Taste The Pain begins with some weird reversed sounds, and some interesting guitar leads and bass playing from Frusciante and Flea. Unfortunately, this is a bit off sounding. Still, one can easily overlook this as the material on Blood Sugar Sex Magik was fairly patchy, too. It is a strangely sexual piece that is interesting to hear, and Anthony Kiedis is in full Rock God mode here. This is sleazy and very different to the Hair Metal that was predominant on mainstream radio at the time. It has a cool midsection with some great chord changes and some very Sgt. Pepper-like horns here. Still, this is good for quirky. There are some nice guitar, bass and drumming, just as much as Anthony Kiedis’s vocals have a presence. Kiedis himself isn’t the best singer on this record, but the music here does show some great promise. There are some very Aerosmith styled vocals towards the end here, and some neat guitar playing by John Frusciante and some other random sounds finish this lengthy fade out.
Stone Cold Bush is a musical assault on the senses. Unfortunately, it is also rubbish. By this point of the album, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are going down the drain in musical terms. A good listen if you can’t take music seriously, otherwise, this is not very good. The playing is good but it is quite clear that the RHCP have done better elsewhere. Flea’s bass guitar playing is pretty good, mind you. He is the star here, before some awful sex sounds and a terrible guitar solo play on. This is junk, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers probably know this themselves. It’s strangely listenable, but still far away from being great. Another rather sexist song, this is ordinary. Skip it if you need to do so.
Fire is a Jimi Hendrix cover, and it is really awful for a cover. It is sped up, trashy and really terrible. Jimi Hendrix must be rolling in his grave here, and the whole tune is amazingly bad. A true piece of detritus musically, this shows how bad RHCP was at the time to do such a thing. Avoid like the plague, and listen to the original instead. A joke.
Pretty Little Ditty was famously sampled for the Crazy Town hit Butterfly many years later on. It begins with some gorgeous and immaculate. This is a sweet change from the previous two tracks and shows that the Red Hot Chili Peppers had a great ability to Rock. The riffage and playing throughout are creative, excellent and gorgeous. A wonderful and beautiful slice of music and musicianship, this instrumental sounds really amazing and chilled. A great listen throughout, the Butterfly riff is repeated throughout, and sounds really cool. There are also some horns here. Great music to hear, and something to remember from this album. It ends with some good drum rolls. Nice work.
Punk Rock Classic is a joke. Please just stop this record and do something else right now, if you are still listening to this album. It sounds a lot like a parody of RHCP, with them trying to do a Dead Kennedys tune. Enough to send one to sleep, do not listen to this. It sounds stupid and bizarre, and the Chilis ought to do better than this. A piece of nonsense, with the Sweet Child O’ Mine Guns ‘N’ Roses riff sampled at the end. God knows why, or what for. Terrible.
Sexy Mexican Maid begins with some very 1980s sounds, including reverberated drums and similar retro sounds on this tune. Obviously another sleazy, funky and sexual tune here, this is a huge improvement on the previous track. This album is very hit-and-miss, but this song is a really nice listen. A wonderful listening experience about sexual deeds with a housemaid, this is the ultimate male sexual fantasy here. There is a screaming guitar solo from John Frusciante that sounds really amazing to listen to, just before Anthony Kiedis makes it clear what he enjoys. A cool tune, there is some squealing saxophone at the end. An improvement nonetheless, this one is worth hearing.
Johnny, Kick A Hole In The Sky begins with some weird singing, which is truly awful, which is followed by a naff bass guitar part, and launches into a rubbish tune, only saved here by Frusciante and Flea’s playing on their respective instruments. The music here is lame and refers to Christian ideals. Goodness knows what on earth these guys were thinking on this album. Anyway, it isn’t worth listening to. The try-hard and lame musical and lyrical approach on this album is appalling, and there are no reasons why you should hear this tune. A strange and weird musical piece, this sounds really like musical junk. Please skip this music and avoid it. It’s not very good to hear. Flea does his best to save this mediocre song from being totally unlistenable, as does John Frusciante. The rest of the band do not. A lame tune that could have been bettered by a better band. It also is too long here, at over five minutes long in length. The instrumental section at the end is okay, but aside from that, this is terrible. This is the end of the main album.
Song That Made Us What We Are Today goes on for over 12 minutes. It launches quickly into quite a good listening experience with great guitar riffing and bass playing. A unique, delicious and refreshing tune to hear, this is a great and enjoyable listening experience. There are some great pinch harmonics and use of hammer-ons here, and although there are no vocals, this is extremely good. A fine and fantastic piece of music to listen to, this sounds thunderous and amazing. John Frusciante proves he is a knowledgeable and excellent musician in particular, with his unusual and strange guitar work here. This instrumental just sounds like jam band music, nothing too special nor excellent to listen to here after the riffs stop. That is the problem with this record, it is so hit-and-miss that one wonders exactly why it was recorded in the first place. This is a good instrumental but not essential to listen to here. The guitars are phased out near the middle, and we can hear Flea’s playing really well here. Frusciante then re-enters with some vicious sounding guitar parts. Unfortunately, this is quite repetitive and poor music to listen to, even today. It just unnecessarily goes on and on for a jam session. The guitars and bass become more minimal in their playing in the second half, before going back into the main riffs. Despite that this is a lengthy instrumental, there are moments but it is simply not good enough to listen to. Some overdubbed and stereo-panned funky guitar parts are up next, which sound rather unusual. A strange and super long piece of music. The main riffs are good, but otherwise, this is largely forgettable, to be fair. An album that is a bit of a drag, and this song is no different in that respect. This does sound a lot like a Jimi Hendrix imitation throwaway piece, which is sad really. An interesting listen if you have patience for a 12-minute-long song. Enough to bore your brains out at times, but this is not really needed on this album. Flea’s bass guitar playing towards the end is really good, as the guitars stop briefly, with some brief guitar licks from John Frusciante. This gets more minimal right towards the end, and the guitars are out of the mix. There is just Flea and Chad Smith here for a bit before Frusciante returns to finish up this super long tune. Very difficult to enjoy, and the crappy guitar work at the end says it all. Unnecessary.
Knock Me Down has a great guitar riff to begin with before this launches into a song that should have been on the main album. It is a decent listening experience and sounds like a better piece from the RHCP than expected. There is some interesting Mellotron and playing by the band to match Anthony Kiedis’s singing on this. “If you see me getting by, if you see me getting high, knock me down…” is a weird set of lyrics and singing here. A weird and strange tune to listen to, but this sounds quite good for what it is. A catchy, interesting and adventurous listen by the Chilis, this is a piece you should lend your ears to. A cool tune, although a bit repetitive and dated to listen to. There are also some female backing vocals, which are definitely an oddity for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. There is a key change towards the end, which is also very weird. Towards the end are some more female backing vocals and great singing and playing from the band. An excellent listen, this is a good one in a patchy album. Worth hearing.
Sexy Mexican Maid returns, again. It’s an alternate version of the song that sounds pretty good here, once again. This is awesome listening, mind you and sounds really dirty and sensually sexual. Of course, this sort of song would be frowned upon today, but in 1989, this was nothing unusual for audiences to hear. One of the better RHCP tunes, this sounds really quirky, cool and excellent. A lively and awesome tune to hear, this is a really great listening. John Frusciante’s guitar playing here is really excellent and awesome, and it is obvious where Lenny Kravitz got his musical mojo from (i.e. listening to these records). An excellent tune, although this isn’t exactly one for most ladies out there. A cool listening experience nonetheless, this has the sleazy saxophone return in the second half. A really sweet listen, worth your time once again.
Salute To Kareem may be a reference to the skateboard Kareem Campbell. It begins with slap bass from Flea and some awful sounding chord progressions here. This, again, proves that the album here is very hit-and-miss musically. One wishes that this could have been done better, and although it has some suspenseful stop/start motions, this again is junk. A really ordinary piece, one wonders exactly why the RHCP couldn’t have done better at this point. Ordinary and dull, just like an original flavoured bag of potato chips, this goes nowhere. A musical yawn, and enough to send one to sleep. Ignore this rubbish instrumental and you’ll be fine. Lame, and nonsensical instrumental music here.
Castles Made Of Sand – Live is, of course, a Jimi Hendrix cover. It begins with some bland guitar tones and playing by John Frusciante, and his guitar even sounds out of tune. Anthony Kiedis’s singing is really terrible and ordinary here, and even though Jimi Hendrix wasn’t much of a singer, he does better on the original than what Anthony Kiedis does here. It’s a weird addition to the album, but this is not a great cover of the original. Anyone who is a half-decent guitarist and singer could do better than this. John Frusciante’s soloing is good, but brief. A very ordinary rendition of a classic song, Anthony Kiedis could have taken singing lessons or something to lift the band’s game at this point. Ordinary.
Crosstown Traffic – Live is another Jimi Hendrix cover, and the last song from the extra tracks on this album. It begins with some loose guitar parts, and drumrolls and goes straight into a terrible, terrible rendition of a great song. Seriously, this is bad. The worst track on the entire album, and Anthony Kiedis’s vocals are so try-hard and terrible that they ruin this song. The rest of the band is dragged along. John Frusciante isn’t really Jimi Hendrix here, either, and he is better at playing non-Jimi songs. Awful, but thankfully it is over fairly quickly. Rubbish, the elongated outro doesn’t help things, either. Loads of microphonic feedback are at the end. Junk.
To be completely honest, this is a disappointment of an album. On some tracks, the music is fine and good. On many tracks, it is truly awful to hear the Red Hot Chili Peppers attempt to live up to their name. Should you listen to this? No, only real RHCP fans will like it. The rest of us will switch off the album halfway through, and find something better to do with our lives. In short, this is not good, and it should have been much better overall.
Lame music, complete with try-hard humour.