The Red Hot Chili Peppers
CD Stock Number: MFSL UDCD 6823
Considering how truly great the Chili Peppers have been over the past decade, I feel a little guilty for giving them a mediocre review on Californication. The still think the review does the album justice, but it doesn't reflect how great some of their other albums have been. So what'd ya say we go back to one of dem ol' albums?
Mother's Milk is the album previous to the hugely successful (rightfully so) Blood Sugar Sex Magik. If you don't have the album, chances are that you have heard the cover of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground" at some point in time.
Mother's Milk really was the Peppers first big break. They had a couple of albums previously, but they never made it big until "Higher Ground" hit the airwaves. Along with the Stevie cover, there's also a pretty powerful version of the Jimi Hendrix song "Fire" but then we move on to original tunes.
This album is much more heavy-metal and punk inspired than the more recent Chili Peppers albums, but it also has a lot more jazz and soul in it too, so it balances out. The Peppers have evolved a lot since their early days, but somehow left a "signature" shall we say, since they are so easily identifiable. You'd never confuse them for another band. Regardless of what your opinion is of them, you have to admit they're original.
The album starts out with the song "Good Time Boys" that's a pretty heavy tune. Anthony raps like only he can, but there is much more use of backup vocals than you see nowadays. You also see the mandatory DJ mixing and the guitar solo at the end. Without doubt, a cool tune. Next comes "Higher Ground", it's an okay cover, but not my favorite song on the album, too mainstream to do the rest of the album justice. The next song "Subway to Venus" is a work of art though. Flea on trumpet, need I say more? Take his funky bass guitar style, and apply it to a trumpet and you'll know what I'm talking about. The tune has that great funk/hip-hop/rock style that you just gotta love about Chili Peppers. The guys then get just plain crazy with "Magic Johnson" and make you want to thrash along to "Nobody Weird Like Me." "Knock Me Down" takes the tempo down a little, but before you know it you're rockin' to "Punk Rock Classic." Trust me, the name says it all ;-) Finally you'll reach "Johny, Kick a Hole In the Sky." This is definitely one of the angriest songs on the album. Full of rage, yet soulful musically. Full of energy no matter how you see it though.
As far as sound quality goes, this disc is excellent. Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab used the Ultradisc II and the original gain system for the remaster of Mother's Milk. The disk has very high sound quality through all of its thirteen tracks. Upon comparison to the original, I was quite surprised with the differences. The most notable one in my system was the addition of LOTS more sub-bass information. Also very apparent were greater vocal intelligibility and a more natural presentation on Flea's trumpet and bass guitar. John Frusciante's lead/rhythm guitar and Chad Smith's drums also took on more body, but Flea just stands out on the recording (and while performing naked on the Woodstock '99 stage as seen below-- ed). Instrument separation was enhanced throughout the album, allowing me to be able to pick Flea out. For me, when you get such up-beat music like the peppers, the musical instruments blur. Where the rhythm ends and the bass begins can be harder to determine, but it's not so with this recording. I can focus on any instrument I choose. Harshness was generally reduced and the overall presentation is less aggressive sonically. At the same time, the recording has a smoother attack and decay. This helped preserve the beat of the music much more clearly.
Mother's Milk is a solid album from the kings of Funk/Rock/hip-hop. The music is off the wall, and the
MoFi remaster has incredible sound quality. Usually you're lucky to get one of the two, not great music and great sound. If you're like me and love RHCP, you need to take a trip to your local CD store.
Sound Quality: 91