Saturday, September 7, 1991

Red Hot Chili Peppers release Blood Sugar Sex Magik: September 7, 1991

Originally posted September 7, 2012.

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The Red Hot Chili Peppers formed in 1983 and released four albums before the end of the decade. They found an audience primarily in the alternative rock world. The ‘90s saw them reach a new level with Blood Sugar Sex Magik, which All Music Guide’s Steve Huey calls their “best album.” SH It was a decidedly commercial effort, opening up the band to their widest audience. While the Peppers still maintained their trademark sound on “the infectiously funky singles Give It Away and Suck My Kiss,” SH Magik also marked their “first consistent embrace of lilting acoustic balladry.” SH

Among the latter was Under the Bridge, a #2 pop hit in which lead singer Anthony Kiedis laid bare his problems with drug addiction. While balladry wasn’t Kiedis’ strong suit, “these are some of the album’s finest moments, varying and expanding the group’s musical and emotional range.” SH They “give the album depth and provide contrast to the raw energy of Mellowship Slinky in B Major, Funky Monks, and ‘Give It Away.’” MG

It wasn’t just that the Peppers mixed funk and balladry by allowing Kiedis to temper “his testosterone with a more sensitive side.” SH With Rick Rubin as their producer, the group found “just the right blend of punk, funk, and hip-hop.” MG Magik demonstrated “continuity and cohesion both within and across the 17 cuts.” MG “Rubin masterfully fuses John Frusciante’s raunchy guitar with the irresistible grooves” MG so that the “guitar is less overpoweringly noisy, leaving room for differing textures and clearer lines.” SH “The band overall is more focused and less indulgent, even if some of the grooves drag on too long.” SH


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