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Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Uplift Mofo Party Plan

Tuesday 22nd November 2011 Leave a comment

The Uplift Mofo Party Plan was one of the first RHCP albums I ever heard. I’m still rather fond of it.

I originally posted this review at Rate Your Music.

The 2003 remastered edition:

If you intend to listen to this album, I urge you to seek out the original CD release rather than the 2003 24-bit digitally remastered version, because in my opinion the re-release is down there with the Chili Peppers’ own Californication as one of the worst victims of the Loudness War I have ever heard. I’m no audiophile (I wish I could afford to be one…) but it’s clear that the 2003 edition suffers from an absurd degree of compression, clipping and lack of dynamic range that makes it extremely fatiguing to the ears.

The 1987 version was perfectly adequately punchy as it was, so get that. True, by buying the older version you’ll miss out on the 2003 edition’s two bonus tracks and the liner notes booklet featuring numerous images and retrospective comments from Flea – but at least the thing will be listenable for more than two minutes at a time!

There are other differences too: for example, on the original release the final guitar lick of “Fight Like A Brave” fades out so that it’s barely audible; on the 2003 remastered version the whole riff is heard, but it concludes by cutting off very abruptly. For someone familiar with the original version, it’s a disconcerting alteration.

The music:

Enough about the remastering; what of the music itself? It’s a decent little album, and probably the best of the Chili Peppers’ pre-Blood Sugar Sex Magik work. It suffers from dated shouted choruses, but the production is a big step up from RHCP’s first two albums, and there’s some great guitar playing from Hillel Slovak, who died shortly after the album’s release.

The two absolute highlights are “Fight Like A Brave” and “Me and My Friends”; the latter has a great guitar solo. (It’s nice to learn that “Me and My Friends” has apparently made a return to the Chili Peppers’ live repertoire in their recent I’m With You album tour.)

“Behind the Sun” is a lovely lazy summer song and one of the most melodic things the band did in the ’80s. “Skinny Sweaty Man” is fun comedy number in which Anthony Kiedis does his best Mel Blanc Looney Tunes voices. “Organic Anti-Beat Box Band” is an energetic party track, and there’s a Bob Dylan cover which is OK (but not as good as the band’s later covers of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire”).

Alas, “Party on Your Pussy” (which was listed as “Special Secret Song Inside” on the 1987 release, for obvious reasons) and “Love Trilogy” represent the Chili Peppers’ unfortunate tendency toward the childish and crude at its worst. The later “Sir Psycho Sexy” on Blood Sugar Sex Magik was just as vulgar, but funnier and set to much better music.

If you’re a fan of later RHCP albums looking to investigate their earlier work, I would recommend getting the What Hits!? compilation before you delve into this album. That compilation contains this LP’s highlights “Fight Like A Brave” and “Me and My Friends”, plus two other decent songs from it (“Backwoods” and “Behind the Sun”), as well as most of the worthwhile songs from the Chili Peppers’ other early releases.

3/5

 01. Fight Like a Brave (3:54)
 02. Funky Crime (3:00)
 03. Me and My Friends (3:09)
 04. Backwoods (3:08)
 05. Skinny Sweaty Man (1:16)
 06. Behind the Sun (4:41)
 07. Subterranean Homesick Blues (2:33)
 08. Party on Your Pussy/Special Secret Song Inside (3:16)
 09. No Chump Love Sucker (2:42)
 10. Walkin' on Down the Road (3:49)
 11. Love Trilogy (2:41)
 12. Organic Anti-Beat Box Band (4:03)

2003 EDITION BONUS TRACKS:
 13. Behind the Sun (instrumental demo) (2:55)
 14. Me and My Friends (instrumental demo) (1:54)
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