Sound — 4
Crazy funky beats combined with soft, melodic music that teenage girls will listen to. As far as innovations here, there's not much new. The chemistry of the band makes it sound good, and Flea and John Frusciante are amazing musicians. They take ordinary boring top 40 crap and make it moderately amusing.
Lyrics — 8
Some might say that Anthony Kiedis has evolved in his lyrical skill. On one hand, his writing is nowhere near as random as on older albums, and he actually sings, instead of the early 90'half rap. I think there are occasionally times when he doesn't quite match the music, however. Throw Away Your Television, though one of the more fast paced, bass intensive songs, still lacks the energy they used to have. It would have sounded better with just a shade more intensity from everyone involved (except Flea).
Overall Impression — 4
I have to say that this is just not the same band as the old Red Hot Chili Peppers. I personally miss the random sexploits of the old days. It gave the idea that they weren't always taking themselves too seriously. The real crime here though, is that a formerly great band has lost every ounce of the energy that made them so much fun. They're the kind of songs that if I saw them live, I wouldn't be able to start a pit (obviously), or even dance, or move. I'd probably just watch from my chair, slightly bored. There are a few decent songs, I suppose, but they all sound kind of the same. They're fairly slow, overly melodic, and I have trouble sitting through the entire CD without putting on an older one. Flea's insane bass skills are the only thing that saves this album for me, but good bass can only do so much to top 40 populist crap. And this is coming from someone who actually liked Californication.