Let’s discuss any and all music here. You’ve got a new artist who’s rocking your boat that you want to talk about? Post a video! Found out about that unearthed Coltrane album that has the jazz freak in you losing your mind? Lay it out for us! Do you have a theory about what your favorite band might do for their next album? Let’s hear it! Anything and everything music-related goes here.
This week’s discussion prompt: What are the skeletons in your musical closet? Are there bands that you used to listen to a lot that you’re sort of embarrassed about now? Are there any artists that you used to hold in high esteem that you now consider to be kind of a joke? Did you go through some sort of phase musically that makes you cringe thinking about it, or that just wasn’t true to what you really enjoy?
I own all of my musical likes and dislikes these days, so I find it hard to think of things in the way of “guilty pleasures” per se. But when I was 14 or 15 just getting into music in a big way, I was WAY MORE into the Red Hot Chili Peppers than I am now. Along with Nirvana they were the first band I really got into, and I ended up getting all their albums up to that point (everything from Blood Sugar Sex Magik back), as well as two T-shirts, a poster, two VHS tapes, a live bootleg that I spent $34.99 plus tax on, and a cobbled together biography hagiography. At one point I even wanted to get that sun circle symbol thingy tattooed on my left wrist – good thing there are laws against people under eighteen getting tattoos, and the homemade ones I’d seen looked shitty enough to put me off that idea.
But by the time Californication came out, I was twenty years old and had moved on to other things musically. In spite of initially being excited about John Frusiante rejoining the band, I was disappointed to find what I once considered to be one of the coolest bands in the world planted firmly in the middle-of-the-road. A few songs were just memorable enough (but not too quirky or abrasive either) to get airplay, and the rest were largely forgettable filler tracks – granted, they had been a mainstream band for years by that point, but never before had they been so boring.
These days I’ll still go to bat for Blood Sugar Sex Magik as the one time they managed to put together an album that was greater than the sum of the band’s parts. Kiedis’ rap/singing kind of sucks and most of the lyrics range from sort of silly to super shitty (even though I can still sing along to all of them, as well as “singing” every single guitar part and humming most of the bass lines), but musically the band is locked into some sort of magical groove (though to what extent this view is informed by pure nostalgia is up for debate).
As a musical gateway the Chili Peppers also proved invaluable in introducing me to a multitude of way cooler artists: Mingus, Sly and the Family Stone, Funkadelic, Robert Johnson, The Stooges, Minutemen, most L.A. punk and a bunch of other stuff all initially landed on my radar thanks to RHCP. And along with Kurt Cobain, Flea was one of the first artists who got me to question the stupid small town casual homophobia that was still very commonplace in the early nineties, and subsequently kick it to the curb for good.
As far as their music goes, I have BSSM, Mother’s Milk, One Hot Minute and the early best of comp What Hits!? on the computer, but rarely go out of the way to listen to them.
But when those songs pop up on shuffle, I rarely skip them either.
I think One Hot Minute is far from great, but it’s better than its reputation suggests. It’s overly long and has a few clunkers, but I’ll take a weirder and more experimental album over the middle-of-the-road stuff they put out after that any day of the week. And “Aeroplane” just might be my favorite RHCP song. It’s incredibly catchy, has decent lyrics about finding solace in music while dealing with addiction and depression – and that bass line, holy shit.
As always, any and all music-related topics are welcome. Have fun, and rock out with yr guac out!