on June 8, 2002
I'm not discovering a new continent by saying there are things that completely change the universe after being invented. Such things like the wheel, electricity, the machine gun, the car, and finally, Red Hot Chili Peppers' 'Blood Sugar Sex Magik'.
I've grown up with this album and I can't even imagine leaving it. 'Blood Sugar' isn't just a music CD, it's something to identify with, a vital piece of what I am.
I know some people start listening to a CD with tracks they already know like the hit 'Under The Bridge'. Here you better leave it, feel 'Blood Sugar Sex Magik' like you feel a movie.
'Power of Equality' is a good opener with an excellent guitar solo. 'If You Have To Ask' is a party song with a party chorus and groovy background guitar. Now enough of the warm up, it's time to start the main show.
'Breaking The Girl' is a beatiful lovesong, it has a dramatic flute and Anthony's vocals are very impressive, not to mention the famous Frusciante Guitar in the beginning. 'Funky Monks' is a song about the Peppers themselves but also about every man out there. 'Suck My Kiss' is one of my personal favorites, it's even better than the hit 'Give It Away'. 'The Righteous And The Wicked' contains the best choir vocals and the funkiest guitar part. The songs 'My Lovely Man', 'Greeting Song' and 'Apache Rose Peacock' are outstanding because dominated by the genius of Flea who plays the most melodic bass I've ever heard.
My favorite song is 'Sir Psycho Sexy', it's a movie itself, the last 2 instrumental minutes remind you that even the best adventures gonna end. Afterwards you can't imagine a life without 'Blood Sugar Sex Magik'. This album changed your universe, too.
Let me know if my review was helpful, Blood Sugar is my all-time favorite.
on September 9, 2000
Blood... a fluid that carries nourishment and oxygen to all parts of the body.
Sugar... a sweet, white crystal.
Sex... a sexually motivated phenomena or behaviour.
Magik... supernatural power over natural forces.
Hmm, a self-reviewing album title. Like the four elements (earth, wind, fire, and water), the title of this album perfectly encompasses all that lies within it.
The blood speaks to the power of the funk; a force that (as George Clinton says) not only moves, but removes. The tight syncopated grooves put forth by these musicians are definitely life enhancing. There was a period last year when this album stayed in my CD player for months and months. I'd never get tired of listening to it, or dancing to it, or mellowing out to it. Check out "Power of Equality", "If You Have to Ask", "Funky Monks", "Mellowship Slinky" and "Apache Rose Peacock" for real hardcore funk that moves from vivacious party jams, to laid back slow burning grooves.
The sugar speaks to the incredibly simple yet beautiful pop songs that ease into the mix every once in a while. "I Could Have Lied", "Breaking the Girl", and even the more uptempo "My Lovely Man" (about the late Chili guitarist Hillel Slovak) are great examples of this. And then of course there's "Under the Bridge", a song whose power is so awe-inspiring that I played it in my room over and over even at the height of its popularity (those who know of my iconoclastic tastes can testify that this is a remarkable feat). It ranks as one of my all-time favourite 'songs'.
The sex refers to the primal energies that flow through the entire album. The Chilis have said that their songs are formed through intense jam sessions, the four packed together in a darkened room and playing together until they reach a Zen-like state. They have this innate power to tap into that collective sexual energy (conception) and produce something new and beautiful (birth). I can't think of anything more sexual than that.
The magik refers to the interplay between John Frusciante (guitar) and Flea (bass). I've always thought that when I reach the Pearly Gates, I'd like to look off to one side and see John and Flea, shirtless, standing face-to-face, holding guitars and looking into each other's eyes. They'd be playing the most beautiful and soulful and satisfying and magical tune that my ears have ever heard. They have a great musical partnership. It saddened me deeply when I first heard that John had left the group (especially since I was just about to seem them live for the first time; I'm ecstatic he's back). He and Flea, two musicians who are fantastic on their own, form a tandem that I can listen to for hours.
This album has been a constant for me over the last nine years. It is safe to say that it will always be on my top-5 desert island list. There is not a down moment over its seventy-plus minutes (except maybe the Robert Johnson cover of "They're Red Hot", which is a little too hardcore-punkish for my liking; but I can easily overlook that because it's barely a minute long). Enjoy...
on October 5, 2005
So yes, we live in a world where rock fans soak up corporate mess and other bands that thrive on attitude but not necessarily good songwriting. In this case, Blood Sugar Sex Magik would be too intelligent of an album for all of you. It's an album that is a complete microcosm filled with musical styles from hardcore funk metal to New Orleans jazz. It is a different sounding sort of rock and there is a reason why this is the summit for anyone that is a true Red Hot Chili Peppers fan.
Forget Californication and By The Way. This is the album that gave the Red Hot Chili Peppers something they had lacked for a long time before this -- an identity. Gone were the days of wild drug habits, band engimas, fights with producers, and minimal creative control. This is where four creative and ingenuous musicians -- Anthony Kiedis, Flea, John Frusciante, and Chad Smith.
There are two things worth noting on this album. Every track was recorded live and was not overdubbed or anything -- you can hear Rick Rubin's voice before "The Power of Equality" and "Suck My Kiss" and the crickets chirping at the end of "Sir Pyscho Sexy" and "They're Red Hot". In other words, this is how the album was intended to sound without the remastering or anything. The dirt is right there and it makes you feel like you are actually in the studio with them recording these songs in the summer of 1991. Another thing is, each band member wrote their own part of their song, so the creativity behind each of the songs is stronger and the songs sounding more pure.
They always say Anthony Kiedis's lyrics are unintelligent. I highly dispute that...drugs, globalization, sex, life, relationships, attitude, humanity, war, politics, peace, human rights...all of that is discussed in this album. So you tell me if Kiedis cannot write unintelligent lyrics. I don't think unintelligent lyrics are supposed to make you think.
As for the songs, there are absolutely no fillers in this album unlike their later albums. In fact, this is the last album that would not contain fillers in my opinion. It starts off with
"The Power of Equality" a politically charged high energy song with Kiedis doing very impressive rapping and Flea delivering a top notch bassline.
"If You Had To Ask" is a humorous song about Kiedis's life in L.A.
"Breaking The Girl" , which is about broken relationships, is a type of song where their funk meets classical music in a way.
"Funky Monks", is a song about every man and woman out there, including themselves. I could not believe John could actually sing that high on chorus, and Flea's suging bassline is the best bassline you will ever hear besides the following song.
"Suck My Kiss" is an ode to sex and society and it is impressive how Flea and John combine their instruments to create one sound.
"I Could Have Lied" is pretty much the saddest song you will ever hear as it also touches on broken relationships.
"Mellowship Slinky in B Major" is all about Kiedis's life as it is very lighthearted and provides a very heavy funked up guitar riff by John.
"The Righteous & The Wicked" is another politically charged song as it refers to the Gulf War. John's guitar work is impressive here. Kiedis' vocals add to the dynamics of the song.
"Give It Away" is their first number one hit and also amongst the best on this album. The juice harp was pretty well pared with John's guitar and Flea provides a very very addictive bassline. Chad's drumming also helps move the song along pretty well.
"Blood Sugar Sex Magik" might be their weakest song on the album, but nonetheless still a quality listen. Very erotic guitar by John. Great drumming by Chad.
"Under The Bridge" is about Anthony's heroin stage forshadows the way they would do ballads for here on out. Comes as a stand still on the album and it is pretty good. Amazingly nearly did not make the album due the fact Anthony originally stashed the lyrics away and Soul To Squeeze was going to be put on here.
"Naked In The Rain" is pretty much about society and escaping to a utopia. Not one of the more popular RHCP song, it still deserves to be on the album and it is pretty good. Nice bassline by Flea.
"Apache Rose Peacock" is by far the funkiest and the best song on the album. Being about a girl Anthony saw in New Orleans creatively and allegorically referred to as the apache rose peacock, it features very addictive bassline by Flea and Anthony's random lyrics make it the party on the album.
"The Greeting Song" is amongst the fastest songs RHCP ever made. A very surging and refreshing ride from start to finish.
"My Lovely Man" is the ode to Hillel Slovak and features a tearjerking melodical bass play by Flea, followed by as surging solo by John.
"Sir Pyscho Sexy" is pretty much the dirtiest 5 1/2 minutes you'll ever hear followed by the sweetest 2 1/2 minute instrumental RHCP has ever done. It was to be the original closing to the album.
"They're Red Hot" was a goof off recorded at 2 AM on the hill outside the mansion they recorded the album. It serves as a funny way to end the album, almost like an throw in scene long after the end of a play. Pretty good. Features Chad playing with only his hands.
It's a great album, I love it, it means the world to me and you should get this album to really know how a real band creates music and creates an album.
on June 5, 2005
Blood Sugar Sex Magik represents the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the top of their game. Masterfully fusing adrennalized funk and textured rock, this album became instantly a classic.
Energized funk dominates the album as it shown through "The Power of Equality" (I don't know why that wasn't released as a single), "If You Have To Ask" (excellent bass by Flea), "Suck My Kiss" (which has the best bassline ever recorded and is the best song on the album), "Mellowship Slinky In B-Major" (great guitar riffs), "The Righteous & The Wicked" (which has the most impressive background vocals ever done by John Frusciante), and the ever-popular "Give It Away" (you have to hear how Frusicante's funk guitar was fused with the juice harp), and Naked In The Rain (besides Suck My Kiss this is the best work Flea has done on bass).
Most people love the ballads of BSSM, which include "Breaking the Girl" (where it seems funk rock meets classical music), "I Could Have Lied" (the saddest song you'll ever hear), and "Under The Bridge" (with the soulful closing).
Flea's melodical magic is also shown through the melodical/sleazy funk of "Funky Monks", the title track, "Sir Pyscho Sexy" (the 2 1/2 minute instrumental at the end is the best that I have ever heard), and the New Orleans-flavored "Apache Rose Peacock", the fast paced "The Greeting Song" and the ode to the late Hillel Slovak "My Lovely Man" (Slovak died three years earlier).
Pedestrian fans of the band will probably prefer 1999's Californication and 2002's By The Way (and don't get me wrong they are both great), but the real hardcore fans of the band, like me, will uphold this 1991 masterpiece and 1989's masterpiece Mother's Milk as the pinnacle of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
on April 30, 2005
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are arguably my favourite band ever. They are a band that everyone has heard of, and millions of people buy their records. The resurgence in their popularity with 1999's "Californication," and 2002's "By The Way" saw a whole new generation of teenagers go out and buy their back catalogue. I am one of these 'new fans' and have only been a fan for about three or four years, but in that time I've bought eight albums by the Chili Peppers, and at some point will probably own all of their records. When I listen to their music, I just get taken to another place, and I really like that place! Not many bands can last for twenty years and be at a point of such critical and commercial success.
The band's most prolific album to date still remains their 1991 classic "Blood Sugar Sex Magik," which was released on the same day as Nirvana's "Nevermind!" That's something that doesn't happen very often; two all-time classics released on the same day! While Nevermind had more of a cultural impact and sold more, in my opinion, Blood Sugar Sex Magik is a *slightly* better collection of songs. There's seventeen songs here of pure rock and funk, and they all flow so seamlessly. I've actually owned this album for over a year, and just couldn't get into it. It's taken quite a while to penetrate the genius of this record, but once this is achieved, the results are sure to be rewarding for years to come.
The album opens with the funky "The Power Of Equality." While not one of the best songs on the album, this is a great intro that prepares the listener for what is to come over the next hour or so. Anthony Kiedis' vocals are sharp and precise. "If You Have To Ask" is an even better song with a deep rap in the verses, complemented by high backing vocals in the chorus. This song works very well with catchy guitar licks decorating the bass. "Breaking The Girl" is an almost waltz-like song with a sweeping chorus between the lyrics, "Twisting and turning, you're feeling the burning, you're breaking the girl!" A classic in the Chili Peppers back catalogue. "Funky Monks" is a great, funky, upbeat song with fresh vocals and a strong melody. Anthony's vocals are very appealing and the repetition of the lines in the verses is very anthemic. The high vocals, "You are on the run," in the chorus also add to the song's longevity. "Suck My Kiss" is a very powerful rock song with hard-hitting vocals and string drums. The guitar riff of this song is incredible, and the way the lyrics make you think dirty thoughts is so subliminal that after a while you just grow accustomed to them!
"I Could Have Lied" is one of the best songs on the album, but is often lost in the loud and funky reputation of this album. This is actually a very gentle ballad that will just take you to another place - a place of tranquility and perhaps even spirituality. The verses are gentle like a lullaby and the choruses are powerful, albeit soft in their melody. The guitar solo is the centre of genius on this masterpiece. "Mellowship Slinky In B Major" brings the funk back to the forefront with a stomping guitar riff that runs through the song. The peppy beat of this song soon morphs into a beast for the chorus. "The Righteous & The Wicked" has a force that just drives and drives into your head, with a swinging chorus that is just meant to be sang loud and proud in a car, with the roof down, on a long road trip through the desert! "Give It Away" is a classic and the second most popular song from the album. The video to this song is amazing and very sexual (isn't this just the sexiest rock band around?!) but the song is so much more! The pure funk on this song cannot be denied. It's totally undiluted, carnal, feeling the beat that rocks your body. The drums are incredible and guitar solos are works of genius.
The album's title track, "Blood Sugar Sex Magik," rocks hard but has a soft, gentle intro. The choruses are a melting pot of rock, funk, hints of pop, and rap. The true centrepiece of the album and easily the most famous song by the band ever is the next song. It is of course "Under The Bridge," and is worth nothing less than the title of masterpiece. This song saved the band and meant so much to millions of people all over the world. An anthem if ever I heard one! "Naked In The Rain" is one of my favourite songs from the album, because it has a punk rock style to it that is somehow separate from every other song from the album. The verses are well structured, the bridges flow seamlessly between the verses and choruses, and the chorus is, well, just amazing. The backing vocals that sing "Naked in the rain!" are awesome. "Apache Rose Peacock" is another fantastic song that tells a cute little story about a girl Anthony saw, and his reaction to this. His reaction is hilarious and very explicit with hints of animal passions underneath!
"The Greeting Song" is a fast-paced song that rocks well but reminds me of something from "Mother's Milk" more than the rest of the material from this album. It's still quite a good song though, just not the best. "My Lovely Man" is a brilliant song because Flea plays a very melodic bass here, one of the highlights of his career in this amazing band. "Sir Psycho Sexy" is the longest track on the album at just over eight minutes, and it's not really one of my favourites. The lyrics are probably the most explicit I've ever heard in any song, and as a gay man, it's a bit gritty to hear all about these female sex passions! The lyrics as a whole are more of a poem, though, and what a poem. The album closes with "They're Red Hot," which is a rather pointless outro to any otherwise amazing album.
OVERALL GRADE: 10/10
This album sold around 8 million copies in America throughout the Nineties, and is one of those classic rock albums that will just continue to sell and sell and sell! The music is timeless, and because of this it WILL keep selling for decades to come, meaning different things to whole new generations of fans. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are an incredible rock band, and their place in the hall of fame is definitely secured. This album is a big reason why, and one of the reasons why I will continue to buy anything they release in the future. Work begun in March on the band's new album, and is surely one of the most anticipated records in years! Blood Sugar Sex Magik isn't my favourite album by the Chilis, but it's still an incredible work of art. Your collection isn't complete without it.
on July 14, 2006
I remember 1991 as a year when the compact disc began to gain serious popularity over the cassette tape as the musical medium of choice. More importantly though, 1991 laid the foundation for the next decade of what was to come musically, and was arguably one of the most important and influential years in music in the past 15 years.
Nevermind, Ten, Achtung Baby, Use Your Illusion I & II, Metalica's Black Album, BSSM...
It blows my mind to think that these albums--each monumental in their own respect and the definitive albums in the careers of their makers--were realeased in a single year, let alone in a span of two months (August and September, 1991) But this review isnt about 1991 or what Pearl Jam, Nirvana and the RHCP were doing in late August; it's about the most monstrous effort of all...an album that would transcend generations since its inception and leave a stamp on the lives of many of us now in our 20's and early 30's.
Blood Sugar Sex Magik is OUR album. You know who you are. It oozes sex and radiates with an energy that I can only describe as that. Its funk is ridiculous, and its power dictates our bodies when we listen to it...like a puppetmaster. Simply put, there's something that I can only describe as Magikal happening in this album. I can't put my finger on it, but those of you who own this album probably know what I'm getting at. It approaches the full 74 minute capacity of a CD, all along consistently maintaining its flow of energy and never once lets up.
For me, this is hands down THE definitive album of the last 15 years of my life. The other albums I've listed above are brilliant but BSSM covers more ground, is heavier, more powerful, deeper, and has more prescence. It left its mark on me long ago and continues to evolve with me. It's part of my essence.
I'd consider myself to have a diverse and extensive taste in and collection of music, and although I can't tell you exactly why, of all the music I have ever owned, this one cd has gotten the most spins and never tires on me.
BSSM barely managed to stay out of the mainstream and never got overplayed on the radio. Maybe it had soemthing to do with the other activity that year in music. Who knows. The result though is that this album has attained what I would describe as almost a cult-like following in that those of us who have owned it from the start have become part of it and simply "get it". It's a guy's album. Whether 15 and just listening to it for the first time, or 35 and had it since its release, there are a lot of guys out there with an intense passion for this album.
If you own this album and havent thought about it or listened to it recently, this is a friendly reminder to get it going again. If you don't own this album...well...that's too bad, but I guess its never too late to pick it up and experience the hype for yourself.
on March 19, 2001
A lot of critics and fans of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers felt that they "sold out" with Blood Sugar Sex Magik. The truth is, however, that RHCP matured wonderfully as they entered the early 1990's.
Two interesting aspects of this album are that it was recorded in a famous house in California (famous for the murders that took place there) and that there is a fair amount of background noise (such as talking, whistling, and hand-clapping) throughout the songs. Most of the songs even run into each other, without fading out. These elements give BSSM a very "warm" feeling, in that the listener feels like he/she is actually hearing these songs played live. For instance, at the end of "If You Had To Ask", Anthony and Chad are heard clapping and cheering at both John and Flea as they are playing their beautiful ending riffs. Recording albums in a house versus in a traditional recording studio almost always yield results such as this. The artists are 100% involved in the process since they are (loosely speaking) "living" with their work, whereas attending the studio daily can often resemble going to a 9-5 job, in that when the recording day is over the artist can completely remove their concentration from the album.
Musically, Flea's bass lines stand out in particular, most notably because he is not simply playing the root notes of John's chords. You can literally pick out Flea's bass lines as being distinct from John's guitar work on every song. While this is certainly nothing new, it is quite refreshing to hear from a band that is lumped in with the (white) rock label. Chad's drumming is also wonderful, as he plays extremely aggressive when needed, but can switch to a softer playing style when it is called for. Anthony's voice is also quite beautiful, especially when he harmonizes with Flea. Anthony's lyrics are normally of the "Walk This Way", 1970's Steven Tyler vein; however he also shows a much softer side on tracks such as "Under the Bridge" and "Breaking The Girl." The majority of the lyrics deal with sex, but not so much in a crude AC/DC way as you would be inclined to think. Compare "...she kept her motor clean..." with "I'll kiss your hair / your skin so bare / I'll take you with me girl, anywhere..."
Overall, if you are a fan of the funk, or you just want to start a RHCP collection, I can't recommend BSSM enough. Aside from a few mediocre lyrical passages and that maybe one or two of the more mundane tracks could have been replaced by the glorious single "Soul To Squeeze", BSSM reaches a level of perfection that is truly awe-inspiring. It is evident by the musicianship that RHCP displayed (as well as in the hand-written lyric sheet and photography in the booklet) that a lot of care was put into the making of BSSM, elevating it one notch above a person's average music-listening experience.
(If you liked BSSM, check out their DVD/video called "Funky Monks." It is a documentary made by some of their friends that chronicles the making of this album.)
on August 21, 2001
Yeah, I know, that phrase gets bandied about so much in album reviews on this website so that it's almost lost all meaning, but nowhere is it more relevant and true than when applied to this masterpiece. Owners and lovers of Blood Sugar Sex Magik like myself will know that I speak without hyperbole when I make this claim. From the opening count-in to "The Power Of Equality" to the fadeout of crickets chirping at night alongside an empty highway, BSSM has the aura of a powerfully soulful and funky jam-session that is so irrepressibly tied to the 1990's and, more specifically, 90's California.
I don't quite know where to begin praising this album, such is the solidity and completeness of it there are no high or low points. With works of funk perfection in "Suck My Kiss", "Give It Away", "Blood Sugar Sex Magik", "Apache Rose Peacock", "The Greeting Song", "Sir Psycho Sexy" and the brilliantly hardcore finale in "They're Red Hot" (I defy anyone to keep completely still while listening to it), tempered by beautiful ballads in "Breaking The Girl" and the classic "Under The Bridge", the talent present in the Red Hot Chili Peppers portrayed on this album is almost scary. Anthony's unmistakable voice lends so much power and soul to his lyrics of love and lust, and Chad's drumming is perfect. Which brings me to John and Flea. If you haven't heard the symbiotic relationship between the former's guitar and the latter's bass, you haven't fully experienced music. Listen to Sir Psycho Sexy's two-and-a-half minute outro if you want proof. It's breathtaking.
The world's population is split into two sections: those who own Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and those who haven't bought it yet. Don't be left out. This album will move you, physically and spiritually.
on November 13, 2006
Some people call this the apex of their career. I wouldn't be inclined to disagree. Their first three albums showed a band moving from lazy funk onto a more funk-rock sound. However, filler and low running times (a limitation of the vinyl era) made them good, but not overly satisfying listens. 1989's Mother's Milk had a producer-induced funk-metal muscle that some have scorned. I happened to like this machismo, but still, the album was short and had its share of weak, unecessary tracks. Then came this 1991 album. Wow, it could've been a double LP! What about the filler? Well, this thing is pretty darn consistent. Tracks roll on and on, yet nothing sounds forced or out of place. The funk is at its funkiest here, and Rick Rubin let's the band perform as they please. It's good and natural fun. Often its in your face. Sometimes its not. Either way, its a fantastic snapshop of the band at its incendiary peak. Later efforts, like the overly-metallic/somewhat-psychedelic/mellow/akward One Hot Minute and the three post-return-of-Frusciante albums all show a band that can't belt out the funk with the same reckless abandon shown here.
Hightlights include: all those singles you know, plus "Mellowship Slinky in B Major," "The Power of Equality," "Funky Monks" and "Sir Psycho Sexy."
I'd suggest you immediately buy this if you simply enjoy music.
on November 5, 1999
I know seven people who have gone to music conservatories to study musical composition. Every single one of them owns this album and keeps it with them ALL THE TIME. One of them keeps it on in his car whenever the car is running. This should be a testament to how amazing this album is.
This is one of the best pop albums produced in the 90's. Just as I have never met a single person who dislikes Jimi Hendrix, I have never met anyone who dislikes the Red Hot Chili Peppers. "Give It Away", "Under the Bridge", and "Breaking the Girl" are all enormously popular radio anthems by now, but every single song on this CD is great.
This album has an energetic yet layered sound which draws you in and makes you want to listen to it over and over again. If you want some hard-hitting songs, try "The Greeting Song" or "Give It Away". If you want some songs you can just sit back and listen to, try "Breaking The Girl" or "I Could Have Lied". This album affects me like Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" in that I could listen to it all my life and not get tired of it.