RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
One Hot Minute
FEELING GROOVY, readers? Feeling like a million maraca-shaking sun-kissed summertime big bucks a go-go? Then don’t touch this one with an elephant’s sock drawer.
And don’t just take it from us. “The overall tone of this record,” weeps Mr Anthony ‘Hell And Back Even Though I’m Not On Drugs Anymore’ Kiedis, “is living through the experience of sadness, loneliness, tragedy and death.” Cheers! And make mine a pint of strychnine! When you are an ex-heroin addict, it seems you can do one of two things: you can be Shaun Ryder, decide it’s “frothy, man” and make an album that metaphorically dances naked. Or you can be Anthony Kiedis and make innards music.
This record is huge. A huge, long, pulsing, cobra-size inner intestine with indigestion and a bathroom problem, a record made by men who have faced dead chums/heroin hell proper; now with added grizzle via ex-Janes Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro whose mother was, for God’s sake, murdered.
Life, then, is shite, so there’s only one thing for it: you make half of your seventh LP the biggest adolescent f— off metal-punk-sheer-bloody-racket LP of your entire lives, and then make the other half a grown-up’s paean to music/love as an all-conquering superforce, while the listener’s eyebrows furl themselves into a fisherman’s knot in total confusion.
The single, thankfully, is the worst news. The twisted metal diablo howl of ‘Warped’ blunders into the ridiculous funk-doodle bass workout ‘Aeroplane’. “I like pleasure spiked with pain and pleasure is my aeroplane”, croons Ant before we’re shunted through the rest of this record; alternately battered round the head with a housing estate and kissed by the winged elves of mellow fruitfulness. No, like, compromise man.
‘Deep Kick’ is a dream-creep soliloquy about giant lobsters, and how they f—you up, your mum and dad, but love and music can save us, whereas ‘My Friends’ offers the wry observation that “My friends are so depressed”. Nevertheless, it breathes deeply in its fruity jangle-rock meltdown before the Killing Joke terror-rock of ‘Coffee Shop’, and the high-pitched a capella out-take ‘PEA’ which contains the line, F— you asshole! You homophobic redneck dick!”
‘Big Mob’ is The Epic, a torrid Rage Against The Machine-toned bluster which ebbs gracefully into bush-blown desert rock showing off the crystalline production efforts of Rick Rubin. It also includes the notion of “a boy named Sue rocking out to the beat of a kangaroo”. It sounds like an entire road-movie in itself and lasts about seven years. Unfeasibly, it’s great.
So too is the spliffed out, heck, romance groove of the jazz-funked ‘Walk About’ which is definitely ‘frothy, man’, and the fun-sized ‘Tear Jerker’, all tingly guitars and violas, about some lovelette, “Backstage in a dress in a perfect mess/But nonetheless I like your whiskers, babe/I like the dimple in your chin, your pale blue eyes”. Which means he’s quite possibly in love with Cary Grant in a dress. And who can blame him?
Then the chaos implodes. ‘One Hot Minute’ (the track) is heavy bloody metal sludge rock misery, and then Ant goes bitter berserk with ‘Shallow Be Thy Game’ in which he screams “YOU CAN’T CONTAIN ME! I WILL BE YOUR HERETIC!” like a fever-fuelled mongrel pulverising the bones of a diplodocus.
Finally, there’s Blub Rouser Two in ‘Transcending’, about their chum River Phoenix (“The smartest guy I ever met/I love you, you’re my brother”) which is mostly gorgeous and fit for The Verve if there wasn’t the insistence that “We’re all creation’s tortured souls, we are the leaves that fall” before arriving with its soul on fire in a tempest at the gateway of Hades.
‘One Hot Minute’ – the LP -contains no pop genius of ‘Under The Bridge’ status. It does, however, contain moments of impressive songsmith clarity within the sound of America’s, and their own, manic depression. Quite where this leaves the cartoon caper-free Chilis is debatable.
Certainly, this is more hard work than necessary for being ‘entertained’. It’s clear that this LP is something they had to vomit out of their cleaned-up abdomens, and let’s hope they’re feeling much better now. Anthony, incidentally, would probably tell you that his LP makes him ‘feel happy’. That’s proper Reality for you. Just say no, kids. (6) Sylvia Patterson