Band: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: Wow, well, Anthony Kiedis tried to at least sing for the first time since "Under the Bridge." So, there's that.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: I really can't stand this band. They're not funky, they beat you over the head with hard rock and Kiedis' awful rap/rock sing annoys me. I can't fucking stand this band.
Best song: "Scar Tissue" is moderately listenable.
Worst song: Everything else sucks.
Is it awesome?: No.
I, uh, kind of can't stand this band. Upon listening to "Californication," all this unhappiness resurfaced.
To recap: The Chili Peppers deal in white guy funk, hackneyed spirituality, almost metal ("Parallel Universe"), actual melody ("Scar Tissue") and general idiocy. They make music for idiots.
That they are popular is more an indication of the crappy state of the music industry than anything. It's an industry based on tired cliches and pushing established (often crappy) bands onto the fawning music press.
Case in point: The AV Club. AV Club isn't the paradigm of indie rock, but, like a lot of the music press, it saw Rick Rubin, a return of John Frusciante and immediately thought "good album."
Through all this, it somehow made one of the most consistent, compelling, and confident—not to mention commercial and Californiacentric—records of its career, largely by going with what it knows.
Doing the same fucking thing, not experimenting and writing a record about the most self-indulgent state in the union? Those are all hallmarks of a good album? I'd suggest it is not.