Monday, March 24, 2014

Cultural references in RHCP's "Californication"

As we saw in class, the song "Californication", by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, deals with popular culture, more specifically the entertainment industry and the influence that spreads from California to, basically, every inch of the planet. That's the actual meaning of the word "californication".

Watch the video of the song and read the lyrics. You will see lots of references to music, films and the movie industry. In the lyrics I've marked in bold some of the references I've found. I'm sure you'll find a few more. 

Find a cultural reference and explain what you think it means. Respond to other people's comments and say if you agree or disagree with them and why.

You can use the internet to find information, but avoid plagiarism. Do not simply copy and paste info from the net. 

Write if you have questions. 


  1. In my opinion, this song is mainly about the dark side of Hollywood. There, we can see the effects that the Hollywood lifestyle has on the rest of the world. Also, the meaning of this song can be that the world is becoming superficial, like California, for example. This song was one of their biggest hits, but personally I don't like so much because it transmits me bad feelings and bad sensations. And that's all I think of this song.

  2. María José, I agree 100% with the opinion you express in your first three-four lines. Good thinking. Unlike you, I do like the song, but of course I understand it might not be everybody's cup of tea.

    Can anybody do some research elaborate a bit more on the meaning of the word "Californication"? Check in urban and slang dictionaries.

    1. I searched about the meaning of "Californication" in an urban dictionary and the definition that it gave to me was that it's a word about the negative aspects of media and culture originating from within the United states. In brief, the message of the song is to complain abot the "mad" society that we're generating, specifically the film industry. Nowadays, it's seems that all is allowed, and we have reached the point that we don't know how to do it for attract the other's attention.

  3. Firstly I have to say that I agree with my classmates.
    Personally I liked the song because it makes a good criticism about the lifestyle of Hollywood.

    The song tries to explain us with irony the dark side of this big industry. Here I can put some examples like: “Pay your surgeon very well”,” Little girls from Sweden dream of silver screen quotations” or “a teenage bride with a baby inside”. All this sentences make us reflect about what we see on the films or in the TV. A lot of people in the world, especially young people dream with have a lifestyle like the stars of this industry. Sometimes they are not conscious about what is behind of perfect faces and bodies or what the stars have to do to get the fame. In Spain we have a saying: “Not all that shines is gold”. In my view Hollywood wants to give us a wrong impression about his stars and films.

    After that I want to make a reference about the second paragraph :” It’s understood that Hollywood sells Californication”.It seems to me that the Red Hot Chili Papers want to say us that Hollywood sails the lifestyle of California and other negative aspects like porn that are includes in the meaning of fornication.

    Finally I find original the video because it takes the form of videogame.

  4. Good comments, Anna and Soumaya. Anna makes some good points about the term "Californication". Soumaya also refers to this and to the general message of the song.

    Keep your comments coming. Can anybody comment on one of the sentences that Soumaya mentions:

    "Pay your surgeon very well”,
    ”Little girls from Sweden dream of silver screen quotations”
    “a teenage bride with a baby inside”

    What is the cultural reference here? What are they speaking about?

    You can comment on this or any other aspects of the song.

  5. In my opinion, this song talks about the " dark side " of Hollywood. According to what I read, the vocalist also mentioned at some time the sexual problems that exist specifically in the condition of California.
    In general, the group was trying to represent the way of life of the Californian people, and more specifically, the "false" nature that is associated with great part of Hollywood.

  6. Good comment, Sara. When you say "false" I think you mean "not genuine", artificial". I agree with you that this is what how the values portrayed in the entertainment industry are portrayed in the song.

  7. I totally agree with my classmates. I think that the group want to reflect the bad side of Hollywood, especially California, with this song. A lot of people think that the lifestyle of Hollywood stars is perfect but in this song we can see that this is not the reality. They try to show us the lifestyle of Hollywood from another perspective. The word "Clifornication" represents the influences of the society, the way that the society can transform the people.
    I like it because it's very different from the other songs that we use to hear.

  8. I really liked this song because it's amazing and because the clip is very funny.
    The clip show us a fictional world introduced in a videogame and the bad side of Hollywood like my classmate said. The song wants to explain the export of culture through the movie industry and the deterioration of the western society.
    "Californication" it's a word that refers to the negative effects of media and culture in our society.

    Rubén Gutiérrez López 1A

  9. In my opinion this song is really good. I have listened it a lot of times during these years. It has something that makes it never be old-fashioned.
    I think that in the future people will listen and sing this song like when it was first performed by this amazing group, Red Hot Chili Peppers.
    Personally, I agree with Rubén, the clip is very funny because it seems a video game.
    The lyrics of the song shows us very well how the society is influenced by California’s lifestyle.

  10. I don't really like this song or its lyrics, but I like the clip. That "Grand Theft Auto style" completely matches with the lifestyle of California, where rich people spend money in things like pornography or plastic surgeon, as the song explains.

    I really hate that kind of lifestle based on money and where the only important things are materialism and performing a false personality in front of the cameras.

  11. I really like the song. I agree with Mireia and Rubén with the word 'Californication'.


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