Writer, editor, professor, etc. For more information, see jaygabler.com.
I was excited to revisit this album, because though it came out in 1991, two years before I started college, I remember it being huge in the Boston University dorms. I heard it God knows how many times in 1993 and 1994, but never in my life had I willingly cued it up. Having just listened to it again, I really don’t imagine myself repeating that decision.
The album starts with the anti-censorship anthem “The Power of Equality,” and as with 2 Live Crew, I am glad the Red Hot Chili Peppers fought for the right to express themselves, even if I don’t really feel the need for my life to contain that which they fought for the right to express.
Blood Sugar Sex Magik reminded me that the 1990s were a hot moment for white bros with goofy voices, and if we’re debating the relative musical merits of the past several decades, as a decade you’d probably prefer not to have John Popper skanking around in the gondola of your hot air balloon. Funk music had been fantastically goofy for a couple of decades by the time the Red Hot Chili Peppers came around, and while it’s beyond my abilities as a writer to articulate exactly why Rick James can get away with “Love Gravy” while Anthony Kiedis can’t get away with “Funky Monks,” it might have something to do with how hard it is to imagine this guy shouting, “I’m Anthony Kiedis, bitch!”
Blood Sugar Sex Magik sounds like sex, all right, but dumb sex: it’s like someone licked his penis and is trying to fuck you in the ear. And then there’s “Under the Bridge,” with its…choir? And then “Sir Psycho Sexy” turns into an eight-minute prog-rock jam. Even the best song on the album, the chugging “Give It Away,” sounds like it was written to inspire a Weird Al parody. (It did, with a video featuring Dick Van Patten.)
I appreciate the craft and musicianship behind this album, but it sounds like it was created for people who were just killing time waiting for Jackass to be created. Rob Callahan, next time I see you I will be interested to hear your take on this album, and to learn whether you’ve ever tried to pour Tabasco sauce into your eyes.
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