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R O C K T R A N S L A T I O N . F R

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication


Californication est la chanson-titre du septième album des Red Hot Chili Peppers en 1999.

C'est une description acide et métaphorique de la société telle qu'auto-conçue par Hollywood, ses cultures du narcissisme, de la chirurgie esthétique et de l'industrie porno.

Tel que décrit par Flea, un des quatre RHCP : "Ce n'est pas une référence au sexe. Californication, c'est vraiment le fait que le monde est saturé par la culture et l'art hollywoodien et californien. En voyageant à travers le monde, j'ai eu l'occasion de voir à quel point cette californication se retrouve partout. La chanson est à propos de cette influence, bonne ou mauvaise, belle ou laide". 

Scroller tout en bas de cette page pour une interprétation in extenso postée par un fan en 2014 sur le forum RHCP.

 

 

 



Californication is the name of a song (and of the album) of the seventh Red Hot Chili Peppers LP.

It is an acidic and metaphorical depiction of our world as represented by Hollywood movies, with its self-indulgence of narcissism, plastic surgery and porn business.

As per described by Flea, one of the four musicians : "It not a reference to sex. Californication is really the fact that the world is saturated by hollywoodian and californian art culture. Traveling around the globe, I had the opportunity to see how much this californication has spead everywhere. The song is about this influence, be it good or bad, pretty or ugly".

A very in-depth has been posted in 2004 on the RHCP forum by a fan, check it out by scrolling to the bottom of this page.

Scroll to the very end below to read the exhaustive interpretation posted by a fan in 2014.

 


 

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication

Des espions télépathes chinois 
Essayent de voler l’euphorie de ton âme
Et de jeunes débutantes suédoises
Rêvent de voir leur nom à l’affiche
Et si tu veux ce genre de rêves
C'est la Californication

C'est au bord du monde
Et de toute la civilisation occidentale 
Le soleil se lève peut-être à l'Est
Au moins s'installe-t-il dans sa course finale
C'est bien connu qu'Hollywood
Vend sa Californication

Rémunère très bien ton chirurgien
Pour briser le sort du vieillissement
Celebrity Skin, est ce ton menton ?
Ou est-ce ta guerre contre le temps ?

Licorne aînée
Hard core porno soft
Rêve de Californication
Rêve de Californication

Epouse-moi jeune fille, soit ma fée dans ce monde
Sois ma propre constellation 
Une mariée adolescente et enceinte
Qui se shoote aux infos
Et achète-moi une étoile sur le boulevard
C'est la Californication

L'espace est peut être la frontière ultime
Mais il est fabriqué dans un sous-sol d'Hollywood
Cobain, peux-tu entendre les sphères
Chantant des chansons comme Station To Station
Et Alderon n'est pas loin
C'est la Californication

Né et élevé par ceux qui encensent
Le contrôle de la population
Et tout le monde y est passé
Je précise : pas pour des vacances

Licorne aînée
Hardcore porno soft
Rêve de Californication
Rêve de Californication  

La destruction mène à une très mauvaise route
Mais elle favorise aussi la création
Et les tremblements de terre sont pour la guitare d'une fille
Ils ne sont qu'une autre bonne vibration
Et les raz-de-marées ne pourraient sauver le monde
De la Californication

Rémunère très bien ton chirurgien
Pour briser le sort du vieillissement
Plus malade que les autres
Il n'y a pas de test
Parce que c'est ton besoin maladif

Licorne aînée
Hardcore porno soft
Rêve de Californication
Rêve de Californication



 

 

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication

 Psychic spies from China
Try to steal your mind's elation
And little girls from Sweden
Dreams of silver screen quotation
And if you want these kind of dreams
It's Californication

It's the edge of the world
And all of western civilization
The sun may rise in the East
At least it settles in the final location
It's understood that Hollywood
Sells Californication

Pay your surgeon very well
To break the spell of aging
Celebrity skin is this your chin
Or is that war you’re waging

First born unicorn
Hard core soft porn
Dream of Californication
Dream of Californication

Marry me girl be my fairy to the world
Be my very own constellation
A teenage bride with a baby inside
Getting high on information
And buy me a star on the boulevard
It's Californication

Space may be the final frontier
But it's made in a Hollywood basement
Cobain can you hear the spheres
Singing songs off station to station
And Alderaan's not far away
It's Californication

Born and raised by those who praise
Control of population everybody's been there and
I don't mean on vacation

First born unicorn
Hard core soft porn
Dream of Californication
Dream of Californication

Destruction leads to a very rough road
But it also breeds creation
And earthquakes are to a girl's guitar
They're just another good vibration
And tidal waves couldn't save the world
From Californication

Pay your surgeon very well
To break the spell of aging
Sicker than the rest
There is no test
But this is what you're craving

First born unicorn
Hard core soft porn
Dream of Californication
Dream of Californication.

 


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

In extenso RHCP message board posted in 2004 :

Californication meaning…

While there is some debate as to whether or not the meaning of Californication lies in the generalizations made about the crazy society evolving out on the west coast of the USA, or a more personal accounting of a pre-marital relationship as ranted about for a verse, I am inclined to believe the former. Californication is a biting social criticism of the culture of excess we have. But the song isn't just about how things are in California. In itself, the descriptions in the song hold California up as a symbol itself for wider problems and issues we have. I found an interview from MTV, and Flea pretty much tells you what it’s about. Who better then the writers themselves to give you the meaning: 

It's not a sexual reference. "Californication" is really just the act of the world being affected and saturated by the art and the culture being born and raised in California. Traveling around the world, no matter how far I go, I see the affect that California has on the world. It's about that good and bad, beautiful and ugly.


So let's hop to it. I can't promise I'll touch anything, or even get it "right," but it should be fun to try.

First off we have: 
Psychic spies from China
Try to steal your mind’s elation
Little girls from Sweden
Dream of silver screen quotations
And if you want these kinds of dreams
It’s Californication

Here we already have a contrast between internal and external. The first half of the verse "Psychic Spies..." though "elation" represent a general paranoia people have of something beyond their control attempting to mess with their lives. The crackpot theories generally can be found in California. 

The rest of the verse, "Little girls from Sweden...” is how external people see something part of California is famous for (movie making) and how they dream of being able to enter into this dream world, totally naive and ignorant of the problems those within deal with.

Last two lines let you know. Right off the bat, he's told you what Californication is. 

It’s the edge of the world
And all of western civilization
The sun may rise in the East
At least it settles in the final location
It’s understood that Hollywood
sells Californication

Here he's at first talking about how California is the "edge of the world in all of western civilization." Whether or not you find any deeper meaning in or not, it's a powerful enough line. Perhaps, when you link the term "civilization" with a description of the sun rising and setting, you get a metaphor saying that this is where the sun will set; this is the decline of civilization. This theme is again referenced later in the song.

He ends the verse with the phrase, "It’s understood that Hollywood sells Californication" which is simple and obvious enough. Californication as defined above is a paradox between innocent desire for fame and recognition with a culture of irrational fears. This is what Hollywood sells. Everything out of that place will either be entirely self promoting and wrapped in a gaudy brilliance, or will play off your fears in some most unusual ways.

Pay your surgeon very well
To break the spell of aging
Celebrity skin is this your chin?
Or is that war your waging

Simple enough. Here it's talking about how some people are consumed in a war against age, devoting so much of their time, energy, and life into combating it as to nullify any victory they have. Ultimate futility revealed in the form of a question at the end.

Chorus: 
First born unicorn
Hard core soft porn
Dream of Californication
Dream of Californication

First born Unicorn is a nice rhyming phrase that holds a major symbol in it. What that symbol is can be confusing, depending on what your take for the general mythological meaning of a Unicorn is. Some say strength and independence, which would then mean perhaps a glimmer of hope in the song talking about defiance to the force of Californication. Others say a fearful, dreadfully powerful creature. It would then be talking about Californication itself, being a firstborn unicorn, our society's first and most dreadful force to effect change upon our world. Also in mythology, the Unicorn represents virginity, and you’re first born a virgin, and because of hardcore and soft porn, you get ideas of sex, have sex, and lose it.

Phrase Hard Core Soft Porn is obviously a contradictory, and I would guess is meant as a jab for the other major marketing technique/aspect of Californication... They sell as much sex as possible, promote it as much as possible, but are never willing to outright go all the way with it, still attempting to uphold that innocent polished image.

Marry me girl be my fairy to the world
Be my very own constellation
A teenage bride with a baby inside
Getting high on information
And buy me a star on the boulevard
It’s Californication

Because he is addressing directly someone in this verse, many people take this as evidence that the song is about a single person who he had a relationship with, perhaps a person who represented this whole culture. I'm still shaky on the grounds, but I think he's just addressing another archetype here, as symbol of the TYPE of person who gets caught up on the whole society, but not an actual person. And seeing how constellations can also determine your fate, he could be saying to this girl to marry him, be the one to take him around the world, and be the one to be his fate. And have you noticed that when young teenage girls get pregnant, they finally wake up and realize they need to get their act and life together. So they start working harder in school, keeping their face in the books, “getting high on information”, so they can make a better living form them and their future family. And who doesn’t want or get a star on the Hollywood Boulevard? A few non Hollywood actors have done so. 

Space may be the final frontier
But it’s made in a Hollywood basement
Cobain can you hear the spheres
Singing songs off station to station
And Alderon’s not far away
It’s Californication

In this verse he does three things.
1) He points out the fakeness of our attempts to explore "the final frontier" as we instead do it in a studio as opposed to spending that money to actually do any real exploration. It's also a Star Trek reference, of course, with that phrase. He referenced Hollywood again. He does it one more time in this verse, proving how he is a true geek at heart.
2) a) He directly addresses Cobain, more likely than not Kurt Cobain, the man who kicked off a trend that was consumed, distorted, and then discarded by the force of Californication. He asks if he sees what has happened. 
b) Foo Fighters lead singer is the former drummer of Cobain’s Nirvana…..Foo Fighters, not the band, but real foo fighters fly in what looks like alien space crafts; the flying saucer type kind that in early days were called “spheres”……Station to Station is an album by David Bowie, and on that album you’ll find the track “The Man Who Sold The World”. During one of Nirvana’s final performances on MTV Unplugged, they performed that same song. After Cobain’s death and Dave Grohl started the Foo Fighters, they also played “The Man Who Sold The World” at their concerts in memory of Curt Cobain, which then got a lot of air play on the radio, I mean all the time when it first came out. So, do you kind of see the connection? He’s telling Kurt if he can hear how Dave Grohl and his band is still carrying the torch, and how they miss him and still live on his name.
3) And finally, he says, "And Alderon's not far away, It's Californication." This line is actually a Star Wars reference as is apparent in more knowledgeable circles. Sure the spelling is different, but maybe Anthony thought he spelled it right, but I do believe this is what he’s talking about….Planet Alderaan was the pristine home of Princess Leia, the first planet destroyed by the Death Star in the first Star Wars film. This is a major symbol because he is pretty much saying "our perfect world will be destroyed soon, it's Californication" by saying that Alderaan is no far away. Again he's touching upon the destructive nature of this force, a theme I poked earlier on.

Born and raised by those who praise
Control of population everybody’s been there
and I don’t mean on vacation

Everybody's been to this state of control, of being swept up by the force of Californication. As opposed to having gone to California on vacation. 

Destruction leads to a very rough road
But it also breeds creation
And earthquakes are to a girl’s guitar
They’re just another good vibration
And tidal waves couldn’t save the world
From Californication

Here he's taking the destructive foreshadowing from before, and saying "Yeah, but if you look at it in a certain way, it can be used as a creative energy. You cannot wipe out this force, even if California was wiped off the map." So then, find a way to transform the destructive earthquake of this force into a good vibration. (Also, there's a touch of irony in talking about earthquakes, seeing how California is rocked by them pretty constantly.) The earthquake to a guitar, as much damage as it may cause, to a guitar, is only another vibration... vibration on a guitat makes music. Creation from destruction. Californication is destructive, as he's shown, but again the hope glimmers through; it can be creative.

Pay your surgeon very well
To break the spell of aging
Sicker than the rest
There is no test
But this is what you’re craving

He returns to the waste of energy in the battle against the age, saying that perhaps there is something sick about it. The last line would be by far too ambiguous for me to really throw my opinion on. Are you craving Californication, or are you craving to escape it? We strive to be good people but we always fall back to the ways of evil. We come to the point that that is what we're craving.

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