The Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers

EMI America Records, 1984

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I still remember discovering the wondrous joy that is the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1989, after playing their album Mothers Milk at the college radio station. Filled with a fervor about a group I hadn't felt since I discovered Black Flag and Husker Du, I rushed out to the music store and picked up a few of the band's older albums, including their self-titled release from 1985.

To say I was a tad disappointed with this particular selection would be a grave understatement. There were only touches of the manic funk/rock that I had fallen in love with on Mothers Milk. I had no idea what to call the sludge I was listening to.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Today, fourteen years after this album came out, it's still a tough one for me to listen to - and it does not rank among the best work of Anthony Kiedis and crew. It might have brought them enough money to buy some new tube socks, but that's about all I can say for its artistic (and aesthetic) merits.

While the basswork of Flea always seems to be on the mark, it is the songwriting that is the most painful throughout The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Check out the opening track, "True Men Don't Kill Coyotes" - what the fuck is this supposed to be about? Nah, on second thought, don't explain it to me; I don't want to know. But there's not much of a rhythm section provided on this track. Things don't get better with the next tracks, "Baby Appeal" (the less I know about this one, the better) and "Buckle Down".

In fact, the only glimmer of hope I heard on the whole album came on the fourth track, "Get Up And Jump," a song which offered some hints of promise for the Chili Peppers.Unfortunately, that's the only sign of hope for the rest of the album. Tracks like "Mommy Where's Daddy," "Out In L.A.," "Why Don't You Love Me" and "Police Helicopter" all serve to distract the listener instead of sucking them in. Rule number one: You don't alienate your listeners.

I'd like to say there's some redeeming value to The Red Hot Chili Peppers, but "Get Up And Jump" can be found on What Hits?!?, meaning you don't have to wade through all the rest of the sewage to get to the decent material. (Of course, that's not the only track from the debut on that greatest hits album, or on Out In L.A., for that matter.)

The sad truth is that this album is hard to qualify even as a "for-the-fans" release, and would be well-served to be forgotten about. Lord knows I've been trying since 1990.

Rating: D-

User Rating: C-



© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of EMI America Records, and is used for informational purposes only.