“The Other Brother of ‘Nevermind’

1 04 2012
Courtesy of Dave Nicoll (via Flickr)

Courtesy of Dave Nicoll (via Flickr)

This just dawned on me. Red Hot Chili Peppers’ fifth and best album, “Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik,” was released on Sept. 24, 1991, which is the same day that, what most would call the No. 1 album of the ’90s, was released; Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” There were so many phenomenal albums that were released in 1991, and without throwing “Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik” in the mix of the greatest, I would be leaving out a key component in the development of RHCP’s prosperous career, an introduction to a more melodically driven and less distorted RHCP, and simply one of the best albums of the ’90s.

This album gained worldwide attention immediately and rose to the top  by selling more than 15 million copies. I think when this album is compared to the preceding one, “Mother’s Milk,” the differences are palpable. One of the main differences is bass guitar player Michael “Flea” Balzary began applying the “less is more” concept to his bass lines by making them less busy. By playing  more simply, it allowed for room for everything else to come together. And just for the record, when I say simply, I don’t mean easy. If you’ve ever heard a RHCP song, you know that Flea is a badass and the bass line typically isn’t simple. Perhaps, the conversion to less notes and more relaxation on the bass is where the classification comes from.

The emergence of less distorted guitar riffs is another big difference. Some of the songs  like “Suck My Kiss” and “Give it Away” still contained heavy metal guitar riffs, but contained less distortion. On top of that, the music comes together more. It seems more like a team effort instead of a certain one or two instruments being the center of attention all the time. In the end, all of the changes made really broadened the horizon for the band, and RHCP received wonderful reviews following the album’s release.

“Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik” is without a doubt RHCP’s best album and is also one of my favorite albums of the ’90s. I’m glad that it gets to share its birthday with another top 5 album of 1991. All I can say is that Sept. 24, 1991 was a huge day because two of the best bands of the ’90s made their mark in music history that day. Happy late 20th!

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