One Hot Minute

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Warner Brothers Records, 1995

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


Well, the year was 1995. John Frusciante had seemingly been lost to the world, enveloped in a never-ending heroin spiral. It had been four years since the breakthrough of Blood Sugar Sex Magik and the Chili Peppers needed to do something to stay relevant. So they decided to hook up with former Jane’s Addiction’s guitarist Dave Navarro and prayed for the best.

The result was One Hot Minute, a record that has gotten a bit of a bum rap, even from the band themselves. In the twenty years since this disc, they’ve only recently (2016) started playing “Aeroplane” again. That track sounds like a pop song to me; it doesn’t feel like good ol’ Chili Peppers. The album’s first single “Warped” is the track that really, really got me into the Chili Peppers. It’s got so much energy and ambition. Flea, Chad Smith, and Navarro are on fire musically and to me, it became one of the definitive Peppers tracks in terms of energy; it’s always managed to pump me up no matter when I’ve heard it.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The main detriment to the whole disc is Navarro’s guitar playing. It’s not that it was terrible – far from it. In fact, the record could’ve used more guitar. Overdubs would’ve been really nice, particularly on tracks like “Warped” and the meandering “Falling Into Grace.” But then there are tracks like “Coffee Shop” and “My Friends,” which really help from light playing.

“Deep Kick” is one of the most autobiographical tracks the band ever recorded; recounting their early years at high school, the song is a welcome detour from the overall weirdness of the record. Then of course, there’s “Pea,” Flea’s chance to shine, which brings some fun to the proceedings. Tracks like “Walkabout” and the quite different “Transcending,” the band’s ode to River Phoenix, tend to bring things down a bit and don’t really make themselves worthwhile of revisiting.

It’s been stated since that Anthony was deep into addiction again during this time and that Flea had to pick up a lot of the slack in terms of lyrics here. That comes across all throughout the disc. On “Tearjerker,” Anthony’s voice doesn’t seem up to par, but Navarro’s playing is just stellar on the whole track. So it seems that the band was firing on about half the cylinders needed for a truly great and memorable disc. What we got instead was a half-decent disc that doesn’t get all the accolades that the future records with Frusciante would get.

Rating: B-

User Rating: A-



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