Background:

One Hot Minute is the fifth album by Red Hot Chili Peppers, was released September 12, 1995 and features a total of 13 tracks. All the music and lyrics was done by the band themselves, and Rick Rubin was the producer.

The album was the sucessor to the critically acclaimed Blood Sugar Sex Magik, which had been released 4 years earlier. However, people who thought that the band would continue in the same sound was in for a big surprise. One of the major changes in the band's soundscape was guitarist Dave Navarro (ex-Jane's Addiction and Porno for Pyros), who after several other guitarists, finally had replaced John Frusciante who left the band in 1992. Dave Navarro brought a much more textured and layered sound than his predesseor John Frusciante; who favoured a more raw and funky style. Most of the songs for One Hot Minute was primarily composed on Hawaii, whilst Anthony Kiedis (who afterwards admited his drug abuse in that period) took a great deal longer to put lyrics to all the songs. Recordings took place in Los Angeles.

Although the album sold moderately, it didn't fare as well as Blood Suger Sex Magik had, and a lot of people, critics and fans alike, simply disliked the band's sound. However, I personally think that One Hot Minute is one of the most interesting and experimental rock albums of the 90's, and is in my opinion one of the best albums done by the band. Unlike others, I think that Dave Navarro's playing is ingenius, and his use of effects and his whole way of blending in, creates sort of a parallel sound dimension to what the band could/can achieve with John Frusciante (don't get me wrong, I do not dislike him, and I do not favour either of them from the other). Lyrically, One Hot Minute is perhaps not one of Anthony Kiedis' stronger efforts, and compared to other albums it seems as if he lacks an overall direction. There are however, some true emotional gems on the album. Instrumentally the album is however extremely bombastic, and especially Flea has many dominant parts.


Overview:

1. Warped
2. Aeroplane
3. Deep Kick
4. My Friends
5. Coffee Shop
6. Pea
7. One Big Mob
8. Walkabout
9. Tearjerker
10. One Hot Minute
11. Falling Into Grace
12. Shallow Be Thy Game
13. Transcending


Songs:

1. Warped (5.05) is the first song of the album, and in many ways it really breaks down the overall sound that the band experiments with on One Hot Minute. The song is progressive, having an overall psychedelic sound, yet still containing melodic elements. Dave Navarro's textured and effecty guitar work is present throughout the song, and he also pulls off a great solo. Trivia: Red Hot Chili Peppers performed this song at the '95 M-TV Movie Awards.

The next song is 2. Aeroplane (4.47), which is one of my personal favorites. It's positive, it's breezy and it's funky as hell. The song contains some great dynamics, especially because of Flea's terrific playing, which argubly is one of his stronger efforts (setting aside technical difficulty). Flea's bass solo is definitely one of the best and funkiest parts of the entire album. Trivia: Flea's daughter Clara is one of the kids singing in the outro.

The best word to describe 3. Deep Kick (6.33) is, epic! The intro runs for almost 1.30 mins, in a slow dreamy riff, where Anthony Kiedis recites a surreal, metaphorical poem about his and Flea's youth. The powerful verse is extremely driving, especially because of Dave Navarro's rapid acoustics. In the songs outro, it is this time Flea who philosophies over his and Anthony's experiences.

4. My Friends (4.02) was one of the more commercial songs on One Hot Minute. Many bashed the song for being an attempt to mirror the success of Under the Bridge from Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Although a kin to Under the Bridge in its ballad style, My Friends has a more layered approach, with a more textured sound as well as several guitar solos, and it is in my opinion a great song.

Want to shock your friends? Then put on 5. Coffee Shop (3.08) which suddenly explodes from out of nowhere. The song is definitely another result of the sound that the band experiments with on the album. Flea lets it rip in this song, with 2 (!) effecty bass solos. In the first one, Flea slaps his bass with some wahwah and siren effects, which gives the solo a deliciously smooth and liquid sound. The solo ends in a great synch play between Flea and Dave Navarro. In his second solo, Flea digs in hard (almost sounds as if he's ripping his strings off), and ends in a slapping riff which basically finishes the song off.

6. Pea (1.47) is Flea's own little autobiographical song. If you bought One Hot Minute at Wal-Mart this song isn't included due to censorship reasons. Trivia: This is the only song from One Hot Minute that the band (the others join in at the repeating lines towards the end) still plays live.

7. One Big Mob (6.03) is like Warped a very progressive song. The song features several different parts, that sound good by themselves, but which sounds a bit ackward when connected. Especially the song's outro seems out of place. One Big Mob does contain some great parts, but is argubly one of the songs on the album that doesn't work, and which sadly made many slant the rest of the album. Trivia: the crying baby is Dave Navarro's kid brother Gabe Navarro.

After the bit ackward One Big Mob, all is forgiven with 8. Walkabout (5.06). This is as pure chillout as rock/funk can get, and is just generally a feel good type of song. Anthony Kiedis is smooth, Dave Navarro does pure magic with the wahwah pedal, Flea lays down the funk with his fingerstyle approach and Chad Smith holds it together with his steady beat.

9. Tearjerker (4.19) is perhaps one the most underrated songs of One Hot Minute. The ballad like song is speculated to be about the death of Kurt Cobain, and it contains some great harmonics, especially the small bridge. In my opinion, Dave Navarro also executes the most stylish guitar solo on the album.

The title song 10. One Hot Minute (6.33) is ironically another overlooked song. The sound is again in the psychedelic spectre, with some very grungey guitar and hard metallic bass textures. One Hot Minute may initially seem a bit repitive, but it's one of those songs that eventually grows on you.

11. Falling Into Grace (3.48) is built up around Flea's bass which has a sort of slimey, wavey sound, that really gives the song character. Basically a pretty good song, which features some nice percussion and backing vocals.

A real rocker is 12. Shallow Be Thy Game (4.33) which demonstrates the explosive side of Red Hot Chili Peppers. Chad Smith helps create some great build ups, especially the one leading up to the guitar solo. The song is also a prime example of Dave Navarro's layered, textured and effecty guitar work.

The final song is 13. Transcending (5.46). The song which was largely composed and written by Flea, is about (and dedicated to) Flea's close friend River Phoenix who had tragically overdosed. The song is devided into 2 parts. The first one is built up around a mellow bass riff. Dave Navarro blends in nicely, especially with some nice fingerplaying. Also mentionable is the use of something as simple as a triangle, which adds a texture that's very unique. The song takes a dramatic turn when it explodes in a grudgey, distored, shattering mess...sort of like how River's life ended.

Sources:

1) The album
2) My head

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