The Red Hot Chili Peppers are a band synonymous with writing songs that contain light guitar tones with lyrics that cover both mature and light-hearted subjects, yet a brief period from 1995-1998 saw the bands most pronounced deviation from the sound they are most loved for. After the departure of the band’s virtuosic guitarist John Frusciante in 1992, the band hired another gifted guitarist, Dave Navarro, from Janes Addiction between 1995-1998.
Navarro brought with him a dark guitar tone that blended with the notoriously funky sound of the band to create a heavy album that was both edgy and hard-hitting. Furthermore, frontman Anthony Kiedis was struggling with addiction issues that lead to some brilliantly genuine and mature lyrics that are best seen in the bands first pre-release for the album ‘Warped’:
Is offending me
It’s upending me
I’m pretending see
To be strong and free
From my dependency
It’s warping me”
This tumultuous sequence in the band’s history produced an incredibly unique album that really stands out from anything else in the band’s discography to date. The album is heavier, darker and more experimentalist than almost any other Red Hot Chili Pepper album, which is made even more commendable by the fact that did not try to rest on their laurels and simply capitalize on the monumental success of their prior album Blood Sugar Sex Magik.
Despite the three pre-released singles ‘Warped’, ‘My Friends’ and ‘Aeroplanes’ all doing very well on the charts, and the album even going on to be two times platinum, the album only sold half as many copies as its predecessor Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and so this shift in sound was not necessarily well received by fans or critics alike and was thus seen as a poor follow up album.
However, appreciation for the alum is growing as it ages and it must be said that there is a large portion of fans that believe amongst Chili Pepper folklore this alum is severely overlooked and underappreciated. This album is not disliked because of what it is, but because of what it’s not. It is not Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and that is a good thing! It is a unique, brooding album drenched in pain, addiction and maturity that makes it a hidden gem that should definitely be listened to again, or for the first, time on its 25th anniversary!
One Hot Minute is available via Warner Records. Check out the music video for ‘Warped’ below: