The Good: Video, A great song with insightful lyrics and a rockin' tune!
The Bad: Only two songs on the disc, Shoddy packaging
The Basics: Buy "Otherside" only if you're like the song and video, but not if you like the Red Hot Chili Peppers a lot, because then you ought to pick up Californication.
It's only a single but odds are you'll be able to find "Otherside" cheap even now. If you heard "Otherside" on the radio and liked it, but haven't heard or liked anything else by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, this is a good way to go! It contains two songs and the music video of "Otherside."
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are a rock band, a quartet of rockers who have had moderate success since their first single in the early 90s charted, a little number called "Under The Bridge." "Under The Bridge" and "Otherside" are representative of what the Red Hot Chili Peppers have enjoyed commercial success with. They are songs where the group eases up on the guitars and sing in a more mellow, contemplative way than the majority of the songs on their albums. I am not an expert on the band. All I know is what I have heard of them and based on that, they are a group that historically puts out a great single or two and an album that is filled with music that is not representative of the single. "Otherside" is the great single, not representative of the majority of the album Californication.
"Otherside" is a lonely song about depression and hurt, chronicling the futility one lover feels over the attempts to woo their partner back. While the intelligent and heart wrenching lyrics ("How long, how long? Will I slide?") are covered in a loud rock setting, it does not mute the meaning and impact of the lines. In fact, the heavy guitar and banging drums play perfectly opposite the anger and frustration of the singer. At one point in the song, the lyrics degenerate into incoherent mumbles as the narrator collapses into psychological exhaustion.
The beauty of "Otherside" is that it may be interpreted multiple ways. Instead of simply being about a lover abandoned or scored, it may be about suicide or it can easily be interpreted as a song about the moment of trauma in a car crash. The point is, there are several ways to look at the song and interpret its lyrics, which is a plus.
In a lot of ways, the single is a better investment than the album. "Otherside" is an amazing song, the video is just plain cool and the heavier rock song "How Strong" isn't nearly as bad as some of the songs on Californication. "Otherside" did well on the radio because it had some of the better lyrics and a less abrasive sound than much of the album Californication.
The nice thing is the single includes the very cool, wildly image-filled video for "Otherside." It's a nightmarish piece illustrating a man searching desperately for his lover in vain. That the video appears on this inexpensive single is wonderful. It's a great video and I believe that it was nominated for an award or two. It certainly deserved it; the video complements the angst of the song perfectly.
If you're a die hard Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, it would be better to buy the full album Californication. Odds are, you'll buy the single anyway because it has a non-album track.
The advantage of the "Otherside" single is that it capitalizes on what has broader appeal. That is, "Otherside" with its moody lyrics and mid-rock tune is more accessible to the audience than a lot of the heavier rock and uncomfortably themed tunes on the full album. That is to say, this single is tame and that's one of the nice things about it.
For other reviews of singles, please check out my takes on:
"Wonderwall" - Oasis
"Nowhere To Go" - Melissa Etheridge
"Was It Worth It?" - Pet Shop Boys
For other album or singles reviews, please visit my Music index page by clicking here!
© 2011, 2003 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.