Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Rock of Ages: Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Soul to Squeeze" (1993)

Red Hot Chili Peppers is one of my generations foremost important bands. Blending funk music, hard rock and hip hop, they are an amalgam group of party boys who wrote some of the eras most memorable anthems and rockers. Written and recorded during the fruitful sessions that birthed their '91 hit album Blood Sugar Sex Magik, "Soul to Squeeze" did not see release until 1993, where it was released as a single for the film Coneheads. That's right. Coneheads. Weird, yes. But it also happens to be a fantastic song. Why it wasn't used on BSSM is beyond my knowledge, but alas it was finally given a shot and it worked out pretty well. It's easily the bands most heartbreakingly beautiful ballad. Anthony Keidas lyrics finally shine past the oversexual freak that his prior works usually sounded like. It is a song about loss, especially the loss of Keidas' longtime friend and original RHCP member Hilal Slovak.

As a ballad, "Soul to Squeeze" still fills in the slower tempo with plenty of great guitar hooks and classic Flea bass antics. John Frusciante's guitar is melancholy and reflective as it woos its way through the track. When the breakdown comes, the song explodes into a more usual Chili Peppers rocker, then slows down again. Lest we forget Anthony Keidas' scat breakdown! Something to be said about that mans strange vocalizing. I love it. This song his vocals go from beautiful and meaningful to zany and frantic scatting and back again. It's somethign I always loved about the track. When "Soul to Squeeze" finally became a single, Frusciante left the band and the Peppers were in a period of transition. Although One Hot Minute is a fantastic album, Frusciante's beautiful guitar solos were missing> Luckily he came back to the band during the late 90's and their career has been since great. "Soul to Squeeze" is a song written by a band who had lost a lot to drugs and other things and luckily for them, they were able to stay intact through turbelent times. We also got a beautiful ballad out of it.

Up Next: The Lemonheads contemplative song of moving on

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