- "Knock Me Down," which was one of the first songs Anthony Kiedis and John Frusciante wrote together. The music video shows a man sinking further and further into isolation while the band continues its raucous dancing, representing the double-edged sword that comes with fame (which, sadly, consumed ex-guitarist Hillel Slovak and nearly killed John). The band no longer performs it by way of Creator Backlashnote .
- "Taste the Pain," the band's first mature break-up song.
- "Show Me Your Soul:"
Sentimental gentlemen are not afraid to show you whenI am you, you're my best friend, show me your soul
- "Behind the Sun," a song written with Hillel and Jack Irons, was released as a single during this era. It's especially sentimental given that it's one of the final songs Hillel ever recorded with the band before his death. The music video shows dolphins happily swimming around before being killed by hunters, which can be interpreted as the death of innocence.
- "Breaking the Girl" is a poignant song about how Anthony regrets playing his girlfriends and treating them as one-off objects.
- Who could forget "I Could Have Lied," a Break Up Song about Sinéad O'Connor. It's especially notable given that Anthony and John wrote this song together, representing one of their final collaborations before they began to drift apart after their mainstream success.
- "My Lovely Man", Anthony Kiedis' tribute to the band's original guitarist Hillel Slovak, who died of a heroin overdose. Interestingly, the tear-jerking emotion comes purely from the lyrics; musically speaking it's another high-energy funk-rock song with subdued choruses.
- The more famous "Under the Bridge." It's interesting to note here that when Kiedis first showed Frusciante the lyrics, Frusciante claims he interpreted them as being "sad" and intentionally wrote the opening riff to sound "happier" in contrast.
- Another example would be the Epic Rocking of "Sir Psycho Sexy", which after two whole sections of funk and a more spacey interlude, launches into a long, emotional, Hey Jude-ish fade-out based around the combination of Frusciante's melancholic playing and Brendan O'Brien's mellotron.
- "Soul to Squeeze," which was written during the Blood Sugar Sex Magik era but wasn't released as a single until two years later.
I've got a bad disease
Well, from my brain is where I bleed
Insanity it seems
It's got me by my soul to squeeze
- The most emotional song on this album is appropriately titled "Tearjerker". It's a eulogy song to Kurt Cobain, for whom Anthony Kiedis held a lot of respect. It's beautiful. You would not expect it to be a Red Hot Chili Peppers song at first, but Anthony's distinct voice gives it away. Dave Navarro's playing is superb — and can serve to make you sad, or provide an uplifting sense of serenity to the listener.
- "Transcending" follows a similar pattern: it's about deceased actor River Phoenix. Much like "Tearjerker," the first three minutes are uplifting and serene; however, the last two minutes are absolute jarring, filled with distorted screams and heavy guitar and basslines.
- "My Friends" was written by Anthony about John Frusciante's nearly fatal heroin addiction, Flea's depression after his divorce, and Anthony's own relapse.
- "Aeroplane" and "Warped" are purely about the dark side of addiction.
- The latter's music video is somewhat disturbing, complete with gothic makeup and torture objects (although the melodic outro has Kiedis and Navarro sharing a rather passionate kiss).
- The former video is more light-hearted, with sexy girls, bright colors, and kids dressed up as airplanes in the end (one of whom is Flea's first daughter, Clara).
- There's a significant Mood Whiplash between the hard rap sections of "One Big Mob," which features a spacey interlude with a recording of Dave Navarro's little brother crying.
- "Parallel Universe," a subdued song with hard choruses and an even harder, more distorted outro. It's about dying and being at one with the universe, with not-so-subtle references to the morbidity of drugs.
- "Scar Tissue". Doesn't help knowing that the song's lyrics are about the struggles addicts go through to achieve sobriety.
Blood loss in a bathroom stall
Southern girl with a scarlet drawl
Wave goodbye to Ma and Pa 'cause
With the birds I'll share this lonely vieeewwwww...
- "Otherside," about... dying, again.
How long, how long, will I slide
Separate my side, I don't
I don't believe it's bad, slit my throat
It's all I ever had
- "Porcelain" is about a pregnant woman in a homeless shelter struggling to get by.
- The title track. The sounds and lyrics of the song paint a brooding, moody picture about the dark side of Hollywood.
- "Road Trippin'," a brooding song with a melodic Chamberlin organ background.
- "Quixoticelixer" is an introspective song written for Anthony Kiedis's then-girlfriend, Yohanna Logan, that didn't quite make it onto the album. It was released as an iTunes bonus track.
Kick back a little just to watch and see
Getting sicker by the minute with debauchery
Whatever your pleasure, I'm your punk
On the brink of sinkin', baby, but I'm not yet sunk
How I listened low when you told me that I was all you had to hold
How I wish it were so when you told me that you were solid gold
- "Venice Queen", a sweet eulogy to Kiedis' deceased drug rehabilitation therapist. It starts with a melancholic melody and when the second half begins, becomes a full-fledged tearjerker:
"We all want to tell her
tell her that we love her
We all want to kiss her
tell her that we miss her
Venice gets a queen
best I've ever seen..."
- "Don't Forget Me". The chorus and solo are heartwrenching.
I'm an imbred, and a pothead
Two legs that you spread inside the toolshed
Now we know... it all... for sure...
- "This is the Place," another ode to Hillel.
Can I smell your gasoline, can I pet your wolverine
On the day my best friend died I could not get my copper clean
Way upon the mountain where she died
All I ever wanted was your life
- "Tear," which can be interpreted as a song about struggling to leave a legacy after one's death.
- "Wet Sand." Especially the beginning. The song as a whole is about loving the dark side of a person.
- The title track, an incredibly spacey song about loneliness.
Tedious weeds and the media breeds
What the animal gets, what the animal needs
And I'm sorry
- "She Looks To Me," "Strip My Mind," and "Slow Cheetah" are pretty good examples of the band's progression into more sad-sounding, acoustic material. The first two are about failing relationships while the latter is about struggling to get off of drugs.
- "Death of a Martian," a tribute to Flea's dog, who died while they were recording the album.
- "Dani California" is about a girl who was born and raised in poverty, got roped into a life of crime, and was killed by a bounty hunter in the Badlands in South Dakota. Dani is actually a Recurring Character in three RHCP songs ("Californication," "By the Way," and this one).
- "Hey," another breakup song with an absolutely genius, minimalist bassline from Flea and an almost lyrical drumbeat from Chad. Plus Frusciante's Crazy Awesome guitar solo.
- "Desecration Smile:"
Never in the wrong time, wrong placeDesecration is the smile on my faceThe love I made is the shape of my spaceMy face, my face
- Also, "Hard to Concentrate," a marriage song written for Flea and his new wife.
- "Tell Me Baby" by itself is a pretty upbeat song, but the music video opens on a more somber note, showing interviews with local musicians and singers from California. Some of the interviewees are enthusiastic and optimistic...and others reflect on how they came to Cali to make it big and found out just how competitive the music industry is. It just goes on to prove that for every band like RHCP that hit it big, there's about a hundred other small fry who are struggling just to keep their heads above water.
- "Brendan's Death Song" was written in the first jam session for I'm With You, which took place immediately after the band had found out that the man who had not only helped get them famous but had also been a lifelong friend—Brendan Mullen—had passed. Thus started a somber jam session which became Brendan's Death Song, one of their most poignant requiems yet (and given their tendency towards requiems, this says a lot).
Like I said, you know I'm almost dead, you know I'm almost goneAnd when the drummer drums he's gonna play my song to carry me along
- "Meet Me At the Corner," which features some of Josh's best guitar work yet.
- "Police Station" is about the corruption and gradual decline in the integrity of the LAPD. It's told very metaphorically, and can be interpreted as the decline of trust in a relationship.
- "Sick Love", which is about a doomed relationship.
- Anthony and his father's autobiographies can be seen as this
- The fact that most band members hadn't had the best childhoods, especially Flea, Tony, and Dave.
- Josh had said that he had a big fight with his parents when he first decided to drop out of high school to focus on music, which ended with Josh smashing a very nice guitar in anger.
- Anything to do with Hillel can become this after his death.
- Flea and Tony often break down into tears when talking about Hillel. Flea has also cried when he was asked about the possibility that he could have lost Tony to drugs as well.