Wait – Is Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘Californication’ Actually Prophetic…?

A new TikTok theory emerges...

Red Hot Chili Peppers are many things. Funk-rock mainstays, for one. One of the best selling artists of their generation, for another. But prophetic? That’s a new one.

Let’s dial it back. Released in 1999, ‘Californication’ saw the reunion of Red Hot Chili Peppers alongside fabled guitarist John Frusciante, with Rick Rubin utilising his zen-like wisdom in the producer’s chair. The band’s most successful album in a decade, it spawned a series of hit singles, including the title track.

For his guitar part, John Frusciante took inspiration from The Cure, in particular their song ‘Carnage Visors’. Lyrically, ‘Californication’ is a repeated play on words, with Anthony Keidis blending funk, rap flows, and rock charisma to produce a flurry of double entendres.

But what could “if you want these kind of dreams it’s Californication” truly mean…?

Well, Gen Z seem to have the answer. The song is sweeping across TikTok, with onlookers pointing out its eerie prescience.

After all, “psychic spies from China try to steal your mind’s elation” takes on a new hue when viewed through the prism of repeated spying rows between China and the West; “little girls from Sweden dream of silver screen quotation” might presage Greta Thunberg; “the sun may rise in the East, at least it settled in a final location” could even describe the eclipse.

It has to be said, the lyrics of ‘Californication’ are so hopelessly open that – in truth – parts of it could mean almost anything. Does “earthquakes are to a girl’s guitar, they’re just another good vibration” refer to the recent earthquake in New York, or to something else…? It’s hard to pin down – but it seems social media kids are having fun trying.

Re-visit the Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris directed video for Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘Californication’ below.

Related: Connect Four – Red Hot Chili Peppers Interviewed

-
Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.