Sound — 10
Pretty much the black sheep of their career. Or perhaps the ugly duckling would be a better metaphor? From what I have seen, over the last five years since its release (though it seems like only yesterday), even some of the very harshest critics have come around. This album is spectacular in its beauty, curbing the random sexploits of earlier years to produce a mature, uplifting work of musical art. If the earlier albums were dominated by Flea, then this is undoubtedly the fruit of John's labours. Every melody falls wonderfully into place, and every song has so much more to it than first meets the ear. And when Flea is unleashed, my God, it is stupendous. There are only truly three occasions where he is truly free to bring to the fore the pounding bass we know and love, but he makes the most of them, driving By The Way, Can't Stop and Throw Away Your Television deep into your subconscious, from whence they'll never leave. Similarly, Chad is left to provide a foundation for John's melodies. Between them, however, he and Flea are probably the best rhythm section in rock today, and they hold the entire album together; a good thing, as, had John been left entirely to his own devices, well, I'm sure you've heard his solo projects.
Lyrics — 10
Welcome to the forefront, Anthony Kiedis. Sir Psycho Sexy, Tony Flow, whatever he was before, he grows up with this album. His voice has never sounded better, nor his lyrics more clever. He strikes the perfect blend between trippy stoner babble, wit, and just a touch of soul. Like John, Anthony has never been better than he is with this one.
Overall Impression — 10
For me, this is the Chili's magnum opus. Though some of their earlier efforts are undoubtedly more fun for bouncing around and moshing, this has a little something extra. It has the funky classics, it has the soulful ballads, and it even manages to throw in a few top class pop songs. For me, they've never sounded better than this. It is, for my money, the finest album ever recorded, and might well remain that way for many years yet. All hail the Chilis.