Forget the critics. This is not a mediocre album. And I am out on a limb: this is better than Blood Sugar Sex Magik, wait this might be the best rock and roll funk album out in recent memory.
Sure Anthony Kedis is not going to blow your mind lyrically, but his delivery has never been more convincing, funkier, or more creative. Everyone is on form: the drums are not in your face but they are varied and provide a compelling texture for the real magic; Flea is on form so it is magik, whether it is break you legs and fingers snapping funky 'Hump de Bump' and '21st Century' or melodic genius on 'Wet Sand' "Slow Cheetah" or "Especially in Michigan". And you can feel his energy, feel that he is loving playing with John Frusciante again, which brings me to the main point.
John Frusciante is nothing less that a guitar god. Forget noodling solos, forget Radiohead this is freaking Mozart. John has laid down multiple guitar melodies that soar and resonate building one theme and then subverting it with another and another and then the original comes screaming in on top. It is nothing less than jaw dropping mind numbing genius! Oh, and his back up vocals add a perfect grit to Anthony's smooth pop.
This album is that perfect hybrid, walking the razor's edge between edgy and Popy, compulsively listenable and deep. Real deep, it really gets better every spin around the cd player.
Sure at first it is hard to distinguish one song from the next, nothing stands out. But that is not because these are mediocre tracks but rather because so many of them are real gems demanding their own comprehension.
Trust me, if you like the Chili Peppers sound a few listens to this Cd will take you to a realm few Albums can attest to. By the time you get to Turn it Again and expose yourself to the truly symphonic last two minute guitar solo you will Turn it Again and again and again in awe.
It is too bad that critics seem license to review an album and rate it after only a cursory listen, which is how the business works, because while they manage to discourage the utter crap, they are increasingly missing the really good albums in favor of gimmicky uneven albums.
Enjoy, and watch those ear drums...