Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Blood Sugar Sex Magik”exhibits various styles of alternative rock

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A German-issued re-release of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” (1991) is available. There are only 2000 copies of the album available. “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” is important to the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ catalog and to the development of alternative rock.

The album includes some of the best-known Red Hot Chili Peppers’ songs. Tracks such as “Suck My Kiss,” “Give It Away,” “Under the Bridge,” and “Breaking the Girl” show the range of the band and the different styles the band uses to create its brand alternative rock.

“Give It Away” by Red Hot Chilli Peppers

While the “it” isn’t necessarily specified, the fun of the song is found in the vocal delivery and the cohesiveness of the instrumentation. The song is unbelievably catchy. The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ use of language is inventive, and along with the bass-filled rhythm, the lyrics that almost rhyme on top of a funk rock soundscape, make the song unforgettable. The song is also imbued with a sort of kinetic energy that seems specific to this Los Angeles-based band. The song is also quite danceable.

“Under the Bridge”: the moody side of Red Hot Chili Peppers

Once lead singer Anthony Kiedis’ book, “Scar Tissue” was released, for me, the content of the book and “Under the Bridge” became linked. The song is a departure from “Give It Away,” which sounds like a joyous if edgy celebration of some aspects of life. “Under the Bridge” on the other hand, is a somber exploration of the feeling that accompanies living under a bridge and attending to a drug addiction.

The overriding feeling that listeners get from “Under the Bridge” is melancholy. Specific words from the lyrics evoke the song’s mood. “Sometimes I feel like I don’t have a partner,” is an example of a lyrical line that depicts loneliness. The slow pace of the song, coupled with the moody guitar that punctuates the lyrics create a moodiness that never leaves the song.

But this isn’t a dirge. “Under the Bridge” offers hope for the song’s narrator. However, before listeners can get there, they are treated to a ringing electric guitar that ushers in stratospheric voices that chime “under the bridge downtown,” to which the lead singer replies various lines, among them: “Forgot about my love,” “I could not get enough,” and “I gave my life away.”

The exchange between backing vocals and lead vocals reminds listeners of that between the self and the subconscious, or between the addict and an accusatory society. Either way, the emotional and social import of the song is there throughout the length of the song, and for a while, people can forget that Red Hot Chili Peppers are thought by some to be a party band.

“Blood Sugar Sex Magik” is an eclectic collection of tracks from a now-iconic band. The various styles depicted on the album show a range of expression that could be missed if listeners only focus on the fast songs.

Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” is available for purchase at:

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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