Sound — 7
With the temporary departure of John Frusciante The Red Hot Chili Peppers continued valiantly, recruiting former Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro to play on their 1995 release One Hot Minute. Gone are the infectious, chirping funk numbers of Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and thrust staggeringly into the limelight are Navarro's crunching riffs, all of which groove rhythmically along with The Chili's usual rhythm section. It almost feels as if Navarro is reluctant to take hold and lead the song, when he does it turns out well enough, but nothing that comes close to surpassing Frusciante's genius licks on Blood Sugar Sex Magik. At his best Navarro delivers the goods, at his worst he copies John Frusciate's style blatantly. Flea seems to be pushed from his usual spot, his bass often audible, though completely overshadowed by Dave Navarro's hard rock riffs. Chad Smith, however, steps his game up, pounding like a madman throughout the blistering chant of 'Warped' notably.
Lyrics — 9
Anthony Kiedis, the happy, reformed addict we knew from Mother's Milk and Blood Sugar Sex Magik returns, with his drug habit in full effect. Allegedly he had a tooth pulled and had to be drugged, leading to relapse. His lyrics are tormented, even the most positive of them ending up as lamentations as demonstrated on 'Aeroplane'. He delves from death, to friends, to loss, to addiction and even to recalling his bizarre upbringing. It all leaves a sad hole in the pit of your gut, because the hole CD seems lyrically devoid of any happiness. But Kiedis is a skilled, and ever-improving lyricist, forming rhymes that any other man would struggle with, with ease. He also widens his vocal palette, shifting even farther from his rapping and singing almost exclusively on One Hot Minute, a feat he accomplishes with surprising grace.
Overall Impression — 7
A twisted snapshot of The Red Hot Chili Peppers in one of their darkest hours, regardless One Hot Minute is a listenable and fairly enjoyable album. Some songs could definitely have been cut, perhaps an indication of the hazy state of affairs they were mixed up in during recording. This is without a doubt The Chili's least inspired CD, and not recommended to a first time listener, however if you are a seasoned Chili's fan and haven't tuned into One Hot Minute you may as well give it a try, there are a handful of good tracks. 'Warped', 'My Friends', 'Shallow Be Thy Game' make up the most solid of the songs.