on 16 April 2006
First off, I'd like to state that I'm not a RHCP mega-fan. Having said that, this album is my favourite album, by anyone, ever. It's also worth saying that if you consider yourself an avid Chili Peppers fan on the basis of 'By The Way' then don't bother with this album. You will have probably heard 'Under The Bridge' and read that this album is their greatest offering, (which is true) therefore will expect more of the same mellow type material as heard on 'By The Way,' and the aforementioned mega-hit off this album. You will be bitterly disappointed. This album is funk metal through and through, and the singing is mostly in the rap style. So.... if you're open minded, and want to know what the true Chili Peppers are all about, read on.
The Chili Peppers first 2 albums, (self titled and Freaky Styley) sound to me like nothing more than kinda enjoyable but very amateurish funky jam sessions. It came together in a big way with 'Uplift' with far superior melodies and actual songs! That album, and the subsequent 'Mothers Milk' (which was the first album with the current line-up, and the same line-up as on BSSM) had many a highlight, and I love those albums too. However, BSSM was a giant leap in every respect. With Rick Rubin at the production helm this album sounds like real funk rock pros who know they're at the top of their game, and they set out to create their greatest work. They succeeded totally.
Every single track, with the exception of 'They're Red Hot' (which was obviously intended as a joke throwaway, so it's forgivable) is a 10* winner. Tracks 1 & 2 flow seamlessly together to create an amazing opening medley of pure funky rock with soaring choruses, and cutting lyrics. Flea slapping his base like never before, John playing in a far heavier style than we're used to now and Chad anchoring it all down with some of the clearest drumming ever recorded. Along with 'Under The Bridge', (and to an extent 'I Could Have Lied') 'Breaking The girl' is the other all out "slow" track and is equally as great as its more famous cousin. The lyrics aren't as good, but the music is better, with Chad banging out a solo on scrap metal. Bizarre but perfect, it's a beautiful track.
I'm not gonna review every track, but suffice to say, most of the rest of the album continues in the same funk rock vein as set out in the first 2 tracks. 'Funky Monks' is one of my favourites, with an explosive guitar solo from John, which I relish all the more, cos I know he'll probably never lay down such a sound again, (here's hopin with Stadium Arcadium!!). Of course everyone knows 'Give It Away' and it is undeniably superb, but IMHO not the best funk rock song on this album by a long shot. For me, the title track outstrips it, as does 'The Righteous And The Wicked' with its ace bass riff and powerful chorus. 'My Lovely Man' is another highlight, as it's a lyrically beautiful tribute to the late great Hillel Slovak, their original guitarist, and sonically a great rocker, with John yet again unleashing an amazing extended guitar solo. Also of note is 'Naked In The Rain' which is unremarkable, compared to the rest of the album, (which means that it's still great) but it does contain an awesome slap bass solo from Flea, which really rocks. Hard.
For me, the real last track of the set, and the best, is 'Sir Psycho Sexy' and it's a brilliant way to finish. Yes, the lyrics are pornography in an audio form, but even on 'By The Way' the lyrics are pure filth, (not to this extent, granted) so it's what the Chilis are all about, only on this track they take it to the extreme! The first half of the song is a funk rave-up, in the style of most of the rest of the rest album, but then just over half way through, it breaks down into for me what is the most beautiful music on the whole album, (not acoustic like 'Under The Bridge' etc. but simply music that floats, in a tripped out manner). It's a classic Chilis song.
Again, I implore you to steer clear, if you're a hardcore 'By The Way' fan and expect this to be similar. It isn't really anything like 'By The Way'.... having said that, if your favourite track off 'By The Way' is 'Can't Stop' then you may want to give this a spin. It's a long album though, and heavier than 'Can't Stop' but don't dismiss it; endure and hopefully you'll get to love it as I do. It angers me to some extent how few songs were included off this album on their greatest hits album. You'd be better off buying 'What Hits!?' 'Greatest Hits' and BSSM. It really is their best album.
A seminal release. Cheers for reading.
on 16 May 2002
Er...wow. This is an INCREDIBLE album. THe songs contrast in styles and emotion, from the bittersweet 'Under The Bridge' to the buoyant 'Give It Away'.
My personal favourite track is 'I Could've Lied', which I could listen to on repeat for days... EVERY track is superb. Even the quirky 'They're Red Hot' is a valuable part of the album.
The album's continuity is excellent, considering the 74 minute duration. I never skip any tracks, and each one contributes to forming the mood of the next.
1)The Power Of Equality-8/10 A perfect opener with a brilliant chorus.
2)If You Have To Ask-7/10 Memorable chorus, decent verses.
3)Breaking The Girl-10/10 One of the best tracks, Kiedis at his best.
4)Funky Monks-8/10 Takes a few listens to get into, but when you do it's well worth the wait. Brilliant bass from Flea.
5)Suck My Kiss-10/10 The best up-tempo track, with the fast paced verses building up magnificently to the wonderful 'Suck my kiss...' line.
6)I Could've Lied-10/10 Poetic lyrics and subtle guitar work. Beautiful.
7)Mellowship Slinky In B Major-8/10 Carefully delivered vocals are complimented by the (again) excellent bass.
8)The Righteous & The Wicked-9/10 Sharp guitars and a truly wonderful chorus.
9)Give It Away-10/10 Begins as it means to go on, no messing-straight into funk and (once again!!!!) memorable chorus. This song will stay in your head for hours...
10)Blood Sugar Sex Magik-10/10 Im giving a lot of tens, aren't I... Dark and brooding vocals fit with the BEST guitar work on the album perfectly. Get's int oa VERY funky groove and stays there. Excellent.
11)Under The Bridge-10/10 I only consider this second best song on the album because I've listened to it so many times. For the first, say, 1000 listens this will be regarded as probably THE most lyrically competetnt song EVER.
12)Naked In The Rain-8/10 Hugely underrated-tight guitars and particularly good lyrics in the verses.
13)Apache Rose Peacock-7/10 Together with 'Sir Psycho Sexy', the definition of 'KERRRAZZY' lyrics. Very cool.
14)The Greeting Song-9/10 Very fast, very fun, very funky, very enjoyable.
15)My Lovely Man-8/10 The ending makes the song. Also, very poignant lyrics when taken into context (written about ex-guitarist who died...). Fantastic guitar solo, too.
16)Sir Psycho Sexy-8/10 Surprisingly, doesn't grate for an 8minute track. But the lyrics, oh the lyrics. How did they come up with this stuff? The wierdest lyrics since, well, track 13.
17)They're Red Hot-7/10 Short, humourous, uplifting and very very odd.
I have a very eclectic taste in music, from Roni Size to Nirvana, from Red Snapper to System of a Down, from Rage to Roots Manuva, etc. But this is an true classic, and absolutely EVERYBODY should own this album.
on 10 January 2004
I bought this album without knowing any of its songs... simply because I didn't think I could be disappointed by the RHCPs... and I wasn't!
As ever, Anthony Keidis proves he is one of the very best lyricists (in English language anyway) in the world. There is magik, there is true emotion throughout the album. The mix rap-funk-rock-punk is successful and works as if it was the most natural thing in the world... and maybe it is!
I listen to this album quietly in my bed before going to sleep, or full decibels with friends at parties, with a glass of "red blood" sitting quietly with a few close mates...
I heard Anthony on a radio interview and was not surprise to hear the personality that already shines through his lyric writing: a very deep, witty and funny bloke with his head way above the sky, who doesn't take himself so seriously, and a maaaaad sense of humour! One you'd like for a mate! (not just a pretty face and a gorgeous bod then! ;) )
This is a fantastic album, "stuck" in my CD player, doesn't wanna get off my ears... and I love it!
JUST buy it! You can't be disappointed!
The best band in the world - not even the Beatles can brag that their members constantly rank in the top fives of most people's greatest guitarists/bassists/drummers/frontmen - with one of their earlier albums, and it can only be described as essential. This is the album that made California funk cool again by giving it a rock edge, expressed in choppy, hormone-drenched scream-alongs such as Give It Away and Suck My Kiss, which ring with an adrenaline no other band has ever quite been able to achieve. However, whilst some rock bands may fall down on their ballads, the soul-searching Under The Bridge (who hasn't felt Anthony Kiedis' loneliness in the big city - in this case LA - expressed perfectly in the swelling chorus, 'take me to the place I love, take me all the way'?) and Breaking The Girl, an ode to Kiedis' childhood in the faux-glamourous world of the So-Cal underground scene, provide a nice contrast to the raw energy expressed elsewhere. A mesmirising CD that gets even more amazing with every listen as the layers are peeled back. The Chilis may have improved on their singles with classics such as Californication and By The Way; but for sheer musical exuberance, injecting an I-don't-care attitude that disguises the dark side of the rock scene (a premature antidote to Nirvana's Nevermind perhaps?) and achieving that rare feat of being more than the sum of its seventeen cuts, this has to be the one for me.
on 18 April 2003
The California funk rockers had come of age when they released this little gem way back in 1991 and still yet they had never brought a record that broke so much ground since then.
Branded as RHCP's best album ever, it is very hard not to agree with them, this album has all the ingredients of a classic. Every song had a little charm to it whether it be the catchy chorus of Give it Away or the rock guitar anthem of Suck my Kiss, the Chili's has showed they could take such styles and make it sound like they had been doing that style for years.
Lyrically the album is very offensive compared to By the Way or Californication. With songs concerning making sweet love (Apache Rose Peacock, Sir Psyco Sexy) dominating (The Righteous and the Wicked) and all out funk tunes (the title track, Give it Away) Blood Sugar Sex Magik will forever be their best album ever and that is a fact.
on 3 March 2003
Without a doubt the most creative chili peppers album - this has much more compelling lyrics than any to follow it, and those who jumped on the Chili Wagon for Californication, or By the way, will be surprised at the change of pace in this album - but let me say it is a sheer dissapointment to re-listen to their follow up albums - with songs like Track 11 'under the bridge' being absolute bliss to listen to and just so hard to follow up well... I would easilly label this the best of all Chili albums, and would happily give it more than 5 stars if it were possible. If you consider yourself a Chili Peppers fan and dont own this album, thn order it - NOW! Yo wont regret it (unless your some sort of insane chimpanzee or something =D). In advance; I leave you with but one word: Enjoy
on 15 September 2003
This is definatly one of the greatest Chili albums they have released. With John back on guitar completing the group, the Peppers have come up with some of their finest work to date. Although not my favourite RHCP album, that spots reserved for Mothers Milk, Blood Sugar Sex Magik is definatly a close second. They have everything that is needed for a perfect album, fast up beat songs (If you have to ask), well known catchy tunes (Give it away) to the slower ballads (Under the bridge (obviously)). Anyone giving this album less than 4 stars should not even be listening to this era of the Peppers work and cannot call themselves a true fan, they may be more suited to By The Way or Californication, mellower but nonetheless still great albums.
on 12 September 2003
From start to finish this is the most addictive and magic album i have ever heard. With John Frusciante playing guitar along with Flea and Chad it will the best music you will hear. The lyrics sung by Kiedis are amazing and all the songs contribute to their best album. My favourite songs have to be Power of Equality and Suck My Kiss. However Funky Monks, Breaking the Girl, Greeting Song and The Righteous and the Wicked are also worth a mention to name but a few. It also has the more famous Give it Away and Under the Bridge to get you hooked. The song I Could Have Lied is not noticed straight away aswell as Breaking the Girl but can turn into the most emotional tunes on the album. My Lovely Man tribute song also adds to the flavour of this album as well as the great Sir Psycho Sexy.
If you are a more recent fan this would make your collection but steer clear if you don't like this harder sound. Personally you can't help but love this album even on the 1000th hearing.
on 23 February 2014
Whether you're a new Chili's fan or an old one, this album is absolutely quintessential to your collection, even if you're not a fan of the band, this album is still a pioneer of Rock Funk. From the likes of the debut album, to Mother's Milk, BSSM provides a more mature and better constructed listen, the songs are meaningful and they truly sound like a different band, I don't know if it was the effect of where they recorded or because Rick Rubin produced this album, but it is essential, I will go through each song and speak about them.
1. Power of Equality - Flea's bass tone in this song is phenomenal, it's one funky number.
2. If You Have To Ask - John and Flea come together really well on this song, usually it's played slightly differently live, but the album version is the foundation, it's a great track.
3. Breaking The Girl - The only song on the album which I have no clue about, I don't know the meaning... some people say it's about a virgin having sex for the first time, others saying it's about a drug addict, who knows, who cares? it's a great song with beautiful guitar work.
4. Funky Monks - As the title of the song suggests, it is funky, Frusciante plays a hard finger-picking pattern through the song, combine that with the great vocals and Flea's use of a 5-string for added "boom", it's a personal favorite.
5. Suck My Kiss - Probably the most "hard rock" song on the album, it is a distorted, aggressive song, I like it, but not when I'm trying to chill.
6. I Could Have Lied - A haunting song, you can tell it has a lot of meaning to Anthony, I suspect it's about a failed relationship. John is off the charts in this one, the solo he pulls off is fantastic, a must listen.
7. Mellowship Slinky in B Major - Now, if you're talking to me about funk, this song is probably the one that comes to mind... Flea and John are phenomenal (when are they not?) great bass-line and guitar work to blend with it, a great song.
8. The Righteous and The Wicked - Flea again utilizing the 5-string for this one, a truly great blend of lyrics and music, up-tempo and hard-hitting.
9. Give it Away - Well, who doesn't know this song? arguably the Chili Peppers most famous song (along side Californication, Under The Bridge etc) just a really all round great song, no more to say.
10. Blood Sugar Sex Magik - Ah, the title track, this one took me a little while to get into at first, I don't know why. Nonetheless, it's an amazing song with a fantastic solo, fitting for a title track.
11. Under The Bridge - I have nothing to say, you already know it. ;)
12. Naked In The Rain - Damn, this song is epic... Flea de-tunes his bass and produces some amazing slap bass in this one, it's a great song.
13. Apache Rose Peacock - Another funky one, similar to Mellowship Slinky in B Major to me for some reason, a great number.
14. The Greeting Song - Probably the heaviest hitting song on the album alongside "Suck My Kiss" just a distorted power-chord heaven.
15. My Lovely Man - A song written for the late, great Hillel Slovak, great musically and great lyrically.
16. Sir Psycho Sexy - The sexiest song in existence, the poetic way Kiedis puts across this story is genius to say the least. If you weren't in the mood before hearing this song, you certainly will be after it. Pure sex.
17. They're Red Hot - A new twist on an old song, the joker of the album, it's a great ending and a funky awesome mesh of awesomeness.
Trust me, for the price of this album, you'd be stupid not to considering buying it. Don't base this off of things like I'm With You, you'll be disappointed, between this album and By The Way was the best the Chili Peppers ever were.
on 30 October 2012
When I first heard the Chili Peppers I initially resisted and ignored them as they were not my kind of thing. I was a metal fan at the time so it was all speed drumming, lightning riffs,growling and screaming. I'd started to play guitar in my early teens so naturally I thought faster and louder = better guitarist. My brother started listening to Blood Sugar Sex Magik quite a bit and since he owned the best stereo in the house I had to listen to it too. At first I completely rejected the minimalist guitar approach thinking that I knew better. After all,my musical journey from my first Iron Maiden albums right through Metallica to Black Sabbath put me in the company of some of the finest guitarists in the world.
But something strange started to happen when the songs on this album really started to stick with me. I'd been playing guitar for a couple of years and spent many an evening trying to grasp the incredible licks from my favourite metal bands. All of a sudden I'm wondering what it would be like to be good enough to play the skeletal riff from Under The Bridge? A song where the guitar is almost completely clean revealing only the merest hints of any overdrive on the strummed chords. Something was definitely changing in the way I thought about music and this album is where it started. Faster isn't always better. Neither is louder.
I'm not knocking the sheer amount of musical ideas that bands like Iron Maiden put into each song they write - there's definitely a place for that. But sometimes there's beauty in simplicity and letting a song breathe with a minimum of fuss is the way to go. From the stark two string partial chord that covers all of the verses for If You Have To Ask to the single note funky plucking of Apache Rose Peacock, these songs seem to have melodies specifically custom fitted to suit the dynamics of the song. That's not to say it's all stripped back and simple. John Frusciante more than ups the ante on incredible guitar feats with the aforementioned Under The Bridge, and deftly channels Hendrix directly through his Wah Pedal on tracks such as Naked in the Rain, Sir Psycho Sexy and the title track. Flea deftly demonstrates why he routinely makes it into the top 10 lists for best bass players and Chad Smith proves he really is a drummer's drummer with some of the most solid and funky beats ever laid down in a studio. Anthony Kiedis may not have the greatest vocal range ever but he has a distinct style of his own and can really punch the right buttons on the more emotional moments such as Under the Bridge and I Could Have lied.
The Robert Johnson Cover They're Red Hot seems both a really weird and fitting finale to an amazing album. My Lovely Man - A tribute to deceased guitarist Hillel Slovak contains one of the best guitar solos ever ripped out of a guitar in the name of funk rock. Breaking The Girl and I Could Have Lied are the albums other mellower moments (I Could Have Lied features not one but two amazing guitar solo's). If you're into playing yourself then this album is a masterclass in both understated and showy playing for guitar and bass.
The band create a very interesting mix between them and have a very unusual way of playing together. Most bands seem to sync into each other and with the drums, bass and guitar playing a very similar groove. But the Chili Peppers seem to play in very unique directions and it's the differences between the three players make the song. This is the album that really but the Chili Peppers on the map (And not Californication if you're one of the newer generation of fans). The sound production, craftsmanship, inventiveness and sheer fun of the album should put it down in anyones list of the best 100 albums ever made. Although the Chili Peppers have passed this milestone album in terms of sales with more recent releases, this is the sound of a band reaching levels of sonic creativity most bands with never reach.
If you've never been into the Chili Peppers then I recommend you start here. If you're a fan of the later Chili's then shame on you if you haven't already got this gem! I love the later albums with Frusciante - But Blood Sugar Sex Magik is their Magnum Opus as far as I'm concerned.