These are the Melancholy Mechanics of My Mind

Originally written for the guys at Universally Speaking: The Red Hot Chili Peppers Podcast who asked me for my thoughts on three B-sides from the One Hot Minute era of the band. It’s possible I over complicated this, just a little bit. In fact I went full Jack Kerouac—loads of words written very quickly and given a once over edit. This was not because I love Kerouac (altho I do) but because by the time I’d finished I realised I didn’t actually have said time. Capote accused Kerouac of being merely a typist. That’s sort of true here: once I started typing a whole bunch of thoughts came out unbidden—like they were already cached or something—and that means I need to provide a trigger warning here: what follows starts lighthearted, then there’s a death, then there’s the actual review of the B-sides (sorry guys, couldn’t help it). If that’s not what you came for then you can leave now or you can read this mostly lighthearted blog and skip the bit in the middle (yes there’s a subsequent trigger warning and hopefully these help more than they offend). Finally—and before this introductory paragraph outstays it’s welcome (see, I’m doing it again, Jack’s fault)—a big thank you to the guys @Universallyrhcp because had they not asked me to do this I’d never have put it together: my love for music and in particular the acts herein—Hendrix, Jane’s Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers—were forged in a teenage brain that was on a journey of discovery, fear, grief and ultimately happiness. Thank you for getting me to take it out and have a look at it. Oh and apologies for any errata, I really didn’t, and in fact still don’t, have the time.

When it comes to the Chili Peppers it all depends where you come in. A song on the radio? MTV? A mate? For me it’s a car stereo and not just any car stereo—some big boys’ car stereo. Big boys who can drive. By themselves. In a car. This is not my crowd, these people are, they’re, they’re actually cool. We’re racing down a Hertfordshire backroad and I’m in the backseat, in the middle; we’re in a Ford Fiesta. Not as far as my imagination is concerned we aren’t. I feel like I just landed in a real life version of the arcade game Outrun. I am the pixelated blonde girl riding shotgun in the red Ferrari with the ocean breeze through her hair. And the soundtrack, oh the soundtrack. Hendrix on the way there, the Red Hot Chili Peppers on the way back (both seamlessly interrupted by RDS traffic updates). Beautiful.

The year is 1993 and I’m sort of, kinda, just about reaching the ‘good’ part of adolescence the bit where your voice box works, you drink beer and realise that you have absolutely no responsibilities whatsoever. I mean, you’ve never had responsibilities but now the “no” is active: in realising that you will one day be an adult you embrace irresponsibility right here and now.  Prior to this I have not so much been an awkward early teen so much as in a pupa. Seriously, there’s three years back there that I just don’t remember, as though the movie played but no-one pressed record.  I was mutating from childish caterpillar to striking butterfly and I was not missing out on the sticky cocoon-ey bit in the middle.  This manifests itself culturally as a gap in my music collection.  My early LP’s venture from Thriller to Five Star via Rick Astley; then there’s an abrupt stop at 1989’s NOW 16. By the time I emerge from my pupa the LP’s have been replaced with CD’s and the synthesisers have been replaced with guitars.  

Sitting there in the Ford Fiesta this is what I love. The cool older kids are playing guitar music, meanwhile my actual mates are all into rave, Mum’s into Jazz, Dad’s into classical, Mum hates classical, Dad hates jazz, they both hate anything post-1966 (as for MTV—as if!). So no music gets played at home (which is a pragmatic boost for domestic harmony and a woeful loss for cultural wellbeing). Upshot: I have never heard Hendrix. I have heard the Red Hot Chili Peppers I just didn’t know they were the Give it Away band. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are a band I’ve seem emblazoned on black tee-shirts worn by sixth formers so I’ve been equating them to the likes of Anthrax, Megadeth and Poison. I may not have shared my mates love of rave but I enjoyed their love of me so defecting to the black tee-shirt brigade is something that CANNOT HAPPEN. The idea that I could wear a black tee-shirt and keep my mates is anathema to my adolescent brain. Sonically I’m guitars, sartorially I’m rave—that’s about as much deviance as any of us can handle.

Unlike Anthrax, Megadeth and Poison, who have been gracing sixth form tee shirts since I started secondary, the Red Hot Chili Peppers seem to be a recent band. I’m surprised therefore to find they have a greatest hits album—appropriately titled What Hits?!—which I buy with the money from my paper round. I buy Hendrix the same day.  Hendrix hits me like a train and I love those laid back hippie guitar shapes immediately. What Hits?! takes longer to assimilate. I’ve not heard anything like it before.  There’s the slap and pop of the bass, the shredded guitars on top of a horn section; and then there’s the lyrics. They sing about Hollywood but it’s not the glitzy home of the Oscars with the golden benches and the sign in the hills. These songs are about dirty places with needles, rough sleepers and the sort of scuzzy parties recovery from which takes a lifetime (but that you’d kinda like to be invited to). Yet the scenes depicted, they aren’t sad, they’re fun and they’re colourful; there are paisley dragons, talking dolphins, bitchy little princesses; there’s hope, vanity and more love than is common in your average party animal. 

I want this, I want more of this, I need more of it now. And more of it there is: there’s a whole damn back catalogue. Need this and I know how to get it. A mate steals me his brother’s Uplift Mofo Party plans and Mother’s Milk albums. Why he does this I do not know, I guess he’s a teenager too and teenagers are fucked up in the head. I upgrade the paper round to Sainsburys and buy the self-titled first RHCP album before my first pay-check.I gorge on these albums until each becomes known, assimilated, sort of ‘completed’. No problem because here comes Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik a beast of an album that lasts me the entirety of summer. I wouldn’t say I assimilate BSSM in the way as the early albums, it’s more like I launch a repeated assault the law of diminishing returns until the law itself is diminished: if I don’t stop listening to Blood Sugar then Blood Sugar will deliver anew.

Alas, even then, there comes a point where I listen to the album slightly less. Twice a day, then once a day. Then once a week. I even *gulp* cheat with other bands.  

If you think I’m milking the whole loyalty thing then you’d be (a) perpetrating a gross slur upon my integrity; and (b) completely correct. 

Back in ‘93 I listen to loads of other stuff: Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice in Chains. (Grunge hits Hemel Hempstead about two years late which given my pupal state circa ‘91 is convenient for me.) One of the more obscure bands I listen to is Porno for Pyros. I’d heard the single of Pets on holiday in America where they seemed quite big, in Hemel they are tiny. Which is a shame because Pets is a stone tune. So much so that I spent £15 to get the album (that’s about thirty quid in todays money and yes kids we really did spend these amounts on solitary albums). One of the benefits of spending this much is that you damn well listen to what you’ve bought. PFP doesn’t grab me in the way that What Hits?! did but it’s, well, interesting. It’s the same Los Angeles being depicted but these songs are all riots and fires and, erm, wanking in front of the fires caused by the riots. The leader singer, too, he’s intriguing like the banshee love child of Cindi Lauder and Barry White, if that child was a cat, and that cat had just had its foot stepped on.  I’ve just encountered Perry Farrell. Much as I’m intrigued I’m not so enamoured as to actually Google ‘Perry Farrell’ and not just because Google doesn’t exist yet. 

At this point luck intervenes. Remember that teenager from earlier, the one that’s fucked up in the head? Well he steals another of his Brother’s tapes: Ritual de lo Habitual by Jane’s Addiction. Now if I thought the Chilis were a black tee shirt band then Jane’s definitely were. “Why have you got me that?” I ask, not a little ungratefully, “aren’t they metal?” 

“Peter, I think you may like it.” Oh thank you Andrew Reynolds, thank you for having this one thought on my behalf.  (And sorry Tim Reynolds, I still have the merchandise if you want it back, it was totally Andrew’s fault.)

Fucked up in the head or not, he’s nailed it. That voice, I recognise it instantly, it’s only Barry-Cyndi-Cat-Banshee-man. Porno for Pyros and Jane’s Addiction are fronted by the same guy: I had no idea. (I told you my music-less house was bad for my cultural wellbeing) The coincidence takes me to a second listen but it’s the whole package that keeps me coming back. Riots and fires have been replaced by threesomes and thievery and not a metaphor, like actual theft—“I enjoyed stealing, it’s as simple as that!” The imagery, then, is similar to the PFP album. Yet this works better, a lot better. The difference is the guitars. In particular, the lead guitar player. I probably do read the little brown booklet in the cassette case, I probably read the name Dave Navarro, I just don’t bother actively remembering it. Until…

“Dave Navarro to join Chili Peppers

“Ex Jane’s Addiction Axe-Man to join band”

Now if I were Prime Minister then this would be on every clapperboard outside every newsagents in the whole country. That’s how big this news is. Alas, I’m not and it’s a sub headline on a forgotten issue of Kerrang. Whatever: Hoe. Ley Shit. 

Ritual de lo Habitual, Nothing’s Shocking and Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik. I listen to these albums and my mates don’t. I am therefore superior to my mates. Those same mates have learned not to ‘get Pete started’ when it comes to music so this ridiculously arrogant stance remains in place for the nearly two years between the Kerrang headline and One Hot Minute being released. My mates slowly gravitate to Indie by way of Britpop. Let them have their fun, I think, for I have this.

This it should be said, is not very much more than potential. Hubris and all, I am existing on something of a promise: the Chilis are great, Jane’s are great. The match is simple, this next album equals greatness squared. I can wait.

On this front the band do not let me down. In September of 1994 I spend a tenner on the Taste the Pain single purely to hear the track Millionaires Against Hunger. That old be ten quid to hear a solitary B-side from 1985. It’s not the first time I’ve done something like this; about once a month I head down to HMV on Oxford Street just to see if any cold singles have appeared and by now I seem to have everything there is to have. The law of diminishing returns bit back. In denial about this I keep scavenging, I even stay in on New Year’s Eve (and the night before) because Radio 1 are playing parts of the Reading and Woodstock ’94 sets. I’m seventeen, I should be out drinking naughty beers and instead I’m in my room hovering my fingers over the play/pause and record buttons on my midi system.

Technically September 1994 is only a year from the release of the album that will ultimately be called One Hot Minute. For me, though, this is only in the same way a smoker perceives a flight to Australia as only twenty four hours. My midi system vigil has left me with a handful of live versions of existing songs; an early version of Walkabout in disguise as an improvised outro to If You Have to Ask and one genuinely new song that I assume to be Swirly, a song the band have hinted at in interviews. The denouement to Swirly co-opts Jane’s’ Three Days. Hearing this is the highlight of the entire Christmas.

By the time One Hot Minute lands I’m so committed that I love it almost unconditionally. I’ve ladened  it with expectations and the lads have delivered. This must be why arranged marriages are so successful. That’s not sarcasm. Look! I wrote it all down here : 

What I omit in this soliloquy is that this may not be rational. I’m about to take things darker and if you are not in the mood just skip the next paragraph. You’ll miss some Pete stuff but not much One Hot Minute stuff and that’s why we’re here. Skip ahead. Don’t worry. It’s fine.

Back in ‘95 things aren’t fine. My love for the Chilis grows so much from ‘93 onwards that they become part of my life forever. It’s just that the story told so far runs in parallel with another. I’m in the car with the big boys not because I’m the sort of cool teenager who has older mates but because one of those big boys’ Mum know my Mum and therefore that big boy knows my Mum’s got cancer. That’s why they take me out. The holiday in America is an unbelievably generous gesture with a mate whose Mum knows my Mum and knows my Mum’s got cancer. And the reason I’m in my room, with my finger posed over play/pause, on New Year’s Eve is because I don’t want to go out. Obviously. Mum just died. These waves of grief are coming thick and faster. Better concentrate on something that next swell might just send you under. That something was music. I backed Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik to deliver anew and it did. (My Lovely Man, fucking hell.) Should I be writing this? Is it relevant? Inasmuch as we’re talking about One Hot Minute and I’ve made it personal—I can’t not make it personal—then yeah. The thoughts I have about the album are positive thoughts that I can’t disentangle from a negative moment. I try to keep it real but how can I? Can I?

It may not be rational but here’s the thing: I’ll stand up for One Hot Minute as a masterpiece of an album. Listen with unprejudiced ears and it stands up. The extra guitar, the big choruses, the harmonies. It’s the Chilis, just not as we know them. 

Here’s the rub: Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik is a jazz album and One Hot Minute isn’t. If you come looking for the former you might not find it. If you just want good music, it’s all there.  

Let’s take this out and look it.  

Blood Sugar, oh my lord, what a groovy record. Like literally, tune your ears to the bass and just float along. You can imagine Flea listening to it in his car, head bopping. (This almost certainly didn’t happen and no-one thought it did.)

One Hot Minute rocks. It’s a rock album. Put it on. Listen. Pay attention because the band have something to say. You might not like it because life’s not always nice and they’re here to tell you. You can imagine Dave listening to it in his car, occasionally pressing next track. (This almost certainly didn’t happen yet everyone thought it could have.)

Public perception matters. 

One Hot Minute gets a lot of shit and I believe said shit falls into three tranches: (a) It’s not Blood, Sugar Part II (b) Britpop; and (c) the track selection.

Britpop. Britpop was a jingoistic marketing charade that elevated mediocre bands like Menswear above guitar bands that actually said shit. In July 1995 Raw magazine published this 

Image.png

And by October Raw had changed direction to become “Britain’s newest Britpop Mag”. This was happening everywhere. The NME who in ‘94 devoted their cover to the Red Hot Chili Pepper, ‘the biggest band in the world right now,’ are, by ‘95 claiming they ‘don’t normally cover this band’. I know this because I’ve just started Uni and there’s an NME available in very third room. The press are full of shit. Shit that infects the minds of my mates. Everyone has their CD’s on display in their rooms, some of them even own (but never play) BSSM. However, I can’t discuss One Hot Minute because the shiny new thing just lay the hoary old old one to waste. One Hot Minute sounds like metal and metal sounds like grunge and grunge is dead. One Hot Minute is dead on arrival. In four years I never meet anyone who’s listened to OHM twice, it’s all Britpop. I’m just not on this page. I love this album and I’m eighteen and I want to talk about it. A lot. I love it, I want to share it. Alas, it just leads to arguments. It probably doesn’t help that in my mind the competition is so abject, so utterly piss poor that the discussion should be moot in the first place. I’m surrounded by dunces who can’t wait for me to shut up so that they can turn me on to the new Bluetones album. This is how I see it. I’ll grow out of my musical snobbery one day but for now the new Bluetones album sounds like it was written for babies. ‘Oh my God have you heard Oasis’ new album’. Fuck. Right. Off.

Not Blood Sugar part II. This is the one I can get with. Blood Sugar is such a cool record and One Hot Minute is dark and serious. Blood Sugar has sparse guitars and prominent bass. One Hot Minute is the other way round. Maybe it’s my upbringing where Mum loved jazz and Dad loved classical and never the twain did meet but it makes sense that you could love one and not the other. In the same way that OHM was dead on arrival, BSSM was Officially Cool on arrival. All those eighteen years olds are yet to learn that life is relative and all around me I hear stunning declarations like “jazz is shit,” they actively laugh at me for listening to Funkadelic, one of them, a student DJ on the student radio station, even borrows my Sly and the Family Stone CD and slags it off ON AIR. All the while I think but you’ve got Blood, Sugar on your shelf what did you think that was when you bought it you fucking lunatic? I am, it should be said, a lot. I mean, I just want to talk to people about an album that I love and when people don’t want to I blame them for being—wrong! I don’t let in that there might a different breed of people for whom OHM is a genuine let down, the converse thought never occurs to me: that if you love jazz and that brought you to Blood Sugar and you love Blood Sugar for that reason, that then (and only then!) you’re probably allowed a certain ambivalence towards One Hot Minute.

Not that this version of the band couldn’t do jazzy, they just hid it.  All of which brings me on to the final point: Track selection. 

Upon release ‘Swirly’ has been tightened up, re-lyriced and turned into Warped. Warped, to this day the most psyche rock song the band have done. They perform it at Woodstock, Reading and the VMA’s. They release it as a single three weeks before the album, get it on MTV rotation and make it side one track one of the record. That’s a lot of heavy lifting for what Geffen records might a decade earlier have called “unrepresentative” art. I sort of like that the band make this artistic decision, like, “this is us now, if you don’t like it, go home”. The problem is that people do exactly that, they hate it at hello. Warped is a great track, however, put Aeroplane at the top of the batting order and they sell 2 million more units—it is impossible to disprove this. Speaking of batting order, zoom in on that Raw magazine article and you’ll notice there was a last minute change. Warped still opens but we’ve lost two songs: the never since heard Blender, and Stretch. I’ll save you from squinting, here’s what Raw have to say about Stretch:

“Seguing (sic) in directly from One Big Mob, ‘Stretch’ moves in numerous areas and really works, playing audio tricks with stereophonic vocal switching. Separate sections of music which initially seem to have no common frame of reference, soon come into focus like a magic eye picture. It’s a track which will undoubtedly stand up to repeated scrutiny and will yield further rewards the more you listen to it. A standout moment”

Raw aren’t wrong, it’s just that Stretch’s ‘standout moment’ is reserved for the My Friends CD single. It isn’t even one of those ‘actually an A-side,’ B-sides that will one day turn up on a film soundtrack. At least when Stretch (aka Stretch You Out) appeared on My Friends we were treated to a song with an intro, when it re-re-appeared on the Deluxe Edition they left the outro to One Big Mob on the actual recording. It’s maddening and tantalising because Stretch undeniably would have lifted One Hot Minute. (Aside: If there’s one rarity I’d happily pay thirty quid for (and the rest) it’s Raw magazine’s advance CD of One Hot Minute.) Stretch is funky as fuck and in the best possible way; shades of Parliafunkadelicment interspersed with the sort of meandering baseline that can trace its bloodline back to Funky Monks or even Freaky Styley. The lyrics to the intro are quite possibly filthy but not in an overt Suck My Kiss (or, God help us, Sex Rap) way, more like Hendrix’s Crosstown Traffic, a way in which they which might not be filthy at all. I guess there are people out there that like Blood Sugar for the Sex, and I guess Stretch might have redressed the balance on this front, for me the sex on BBSM has always been bit like the sex in life: percentage wise not that much of a big deal. (Corollary: The lack of sex on OHM may be a fourth tranche of difference between the albums but you’d have to ask someone else.).

Stretch isn’t perfect, like a lot of the OHM songs it goes on a bit and forgets how to end, although slightly more forgivably here. One of the stated problems with the writing process was the need for this jam band to actually write songs instead of jamming until they appeared; Stretch however sounds like it may have been just that: a jam. Let it play out, man. Oh and one more thing, Stretch contains one of my favourite ever Kiedis lines: make it up as I go along, that way it is never wrong. Years later when I first join Twitter I have this as my bio. Stretch, in short, is a really jazzy song that deserved so much more, hell One Hot Minute deserved Stretch just like jazz lovers deserved One Hot Minute. It never did turn up on a motion picture soundtrack.

Speaking of which. That Warped single, the one that’s three weeks before the album, that had a little gem buried on it called Melancholy Mechanics. This song also turned up on the soundtrack to Twister, hanging out with ditties by acts like Van Halen, Lisa Loeb and the Goo Goo Dolls. I hope it had fun.  I’m going to go back a bit before I get to Melancholy.  I’m going to talk about movies for a bit. 

Back in ’89 Mother’s Milk was released and the first song on side two is an amazing song called Taste the Pain, a song that also featured on the Say Anything soundtrack. This, was the sort of soundtrack you might have wanted to be on. Say Anything was a big movie whose star John Cusack actively name-checked the band in the actual movie itself. (This had happened before way back when Kirk Douglas asks ‘who’s this band?’ In ’86’s Tough Guys but Say Anything was, is, somewhat cooler than Tough Guys.) Goodness knows that the band give Hollywood the place enough props but never let it be said that Hollywood the entity never gave props back. Anyway, Taste the Pain, dig this: the only reason Taste the Pain made it on to Mother’s Milk was that, having fallen out with the producer (the actually legendary Michale Beinhorn), the band didn’t have enough tracks to fill the album. You read that right: Taste the Pain wasn’t going to be on Mother’s Milk. The band have some serious previous in this regard. Soul to Squeeze fails to make Blood Sugar but appears on Coneheads; Walking on Down the Road was intended for a film called Dudes; Show me your Soul is a bit different because it was written for Pretty Woman; as for that Tough Guys song, it just disappeared (although the chorus sort of morphed into a verse of Fight Like a Brave). In short, there’s pantheon of great freaking tracks that existed as B-sides and Original Motion Picture Soundtrack material in an era when buying said Soundtrack cost people a fortune. I guess it makes a certain amount of sense, soundtracks get exposure and the B-sides would have made each CD single (a big deal back then) slightly better. That said, if opening with Warped is the act of a band sticking to its guns, being true to themselves and not to commerce; well, reserving a song for a CD single and/or Soundtrack album smacks of commercialism. (From the perspective of a much older person I get that it’s exactly this commercialism that makes the band enough money to stay in the studio long enough to have left over songs but whilst that’s true I’m repping ’95 right now and that dude didn’t see it that way.)

Whether Melancholy Mechanics is part of this lineage of great soundtrack songs is open to debate. It is a laidback number where Anthony explains that he’s back on drugs in about as pretty a way as possible, doing it as he does on top of a laidback jazz groove with Dave at the forefront and Flea and Chad showing that if you just need them to be the rhythm section then they can play it that way to. There are a couple of needless bursts of heavy guitar (Dave tends to get the blame for this sort of thing but it’s happened before most notably in Apache rose Peacock, it’s an urge the band have put away by the days of, say, Hey) and there’s a Kiedis rap. It’s not exactly hardcore rap because AK delivers with the comedy effects last heard on Uplift Mofo Party Plan’s Skinny, Sweaty Man. I secretly love this. Although the subject matter is dark the lyrics are designed in a light hearted way and the overall feel of the song is sunny (General point: AK is really, really, good at this: delivering decidedly minor thoughts in a major key.) Should Melancholy have made it on to the album? It would certainly have lightened things up, it would have upped the jazz quotient and it may have drawn in a few different sets of ears but then, maybe that’s what made it soundtrack and CD single material. In my humble opinion the quality is all there, it’s more the cultural fit with the rest of the album.

There is of course such a thing as a song that is merely a B-side. I don’t think many people out there are calling for Fela’s Cock to be promoted to Blood Sugar album track. That said, the intra-band debate on this may be murkier than we think. Apparently Anthony really wanted the song Fat Dance on Californication; an album it would instantaneously have made far worse, thank God he lost that argument. And I think these are arguments. One of the things that Dave maybe brought to the band was a feistiness. Guitarists to this point had been bullied (Jack), a brother (Hillel) or green (John). I would imagine that with his body of Jane’s work, the Deconstruction project and his drug habit behind him, Dave wasn’t taking any shit from the two stalwarts. It’s an artistic process and there should be feistiness, until that turns into disagreeing for disagreeing’s sake. Flea’s described making One Hot Minute as like ‘pulling teeth’ and you can almost hear the arguments between the notes: “Guys, I know, the song’s called One Hot Minute so let’s have an actual ‘hot minute’ at the end of it, we’ll just play this last bit over for sixty seconds.” (I can’t recall the source but the minute-long dumb-ass outro to One Hot Minute the song is apparently for this reason.) Fat Dance may have been an argument worth having (and definitely one worth losing) but whichever band member posited the above, Jesus. I suspect this is everywhere on the album, from the omission of Stretch to the second half of Transcending. (Although, and hopefully not to mix messages, as someone who was literally grieving when they first heard Transcending, that one eulogy that freaking nails the ‘anger’ stage.) It’s someone else’s collaborative artistic process and who am I to comment? I guess the ultimate comment comes passively from the band themselves: they choose not to repeat it. These sessions represent the only body of work from this quartet.

I may not get to argue but I may feel chagrined that artistic differences meant certain songs never saw the light of day, like Blender. Other songs saw the light of day years later. ‘Bob’ is such a song. I’d have loved the shit out of that song in the nineties but if it was on a B-side I missed it, and if I missed it so did everyone else (because I did not stop scavenging for rarities just because the album was released; IMPORT CDs were my thing). Bob’s another slightly lighter song where Flea and Chad sit in the background so I can’t really make a plea for it’s inclusion having sat on the fence with the tonally similar Melancholy. The chorus is big, there’s even a sitar and it’s lyrically gentle. Well it’s about a best mate being in jail and because the Bob in question is Thelonious Monster’s Bob Forrest, a boy, it’s not the same jailbird friend from My Friends because that person’s a girl, so, you know, there are mates in jail, and that’s sad but the song is more a love letter to Bob a paean to the unfairness of the walls Bob finds himself within: “I never see you.” This is the sort of song I’d have put on a C90 cassette mix tape for someone who didn’t like the Chilis, a sort of gateway drug to the rest of the band. Except I can’t do that because I discover it in the streaming era. This frustrates me so much because I’d have loved Bob the song the same way AK loves Bob the person: a lot. I still do love the song I just can’t reach those teenage peaks, I’m not going to make a mixtape, I’m forty-four for heaven’s sake; besides who are you mixing the tape for? They already own the song, it’s right there on Apple Music. Waiting to be discovered. I’m not saying the band should release everything it ever does, of course it shouldn’t, there’s such a thing as bad art. It’s just that Bob clearly isn’t that. Bob’s a love letter between boys and a great one. Bob deserved the light of a different day.

These three songs plus the thirteen on the album itself adds up to a set of sixteen. A set that would be lighter, jazzier and funkier in total. A set that would have had less rock and slightly more jazz. A set, frankly, that may have sounded more like people expected the Chilis to sound. Had that happened teenage me would have been able to talk to more people about a more accessible album. I was only such a zealot about it because I was so passionate about it. On the other hand, I love the original album so much that mutating it in any way is quite a painful suggestion. Also, the length of a CD, that’s in play, there’s only a spare five minutes left so you couldn’t fit all three on. However, before I go let me leave you with one crazy idea: instead of having all those seven minute songs with dumb-ass outros, why not shave them down to the appropriate length and add three more songs. Honestly, that (and Aeroplane opening the batting) might have made an album considered a masterpiece by more than just me.