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Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Album: CalifornicationReleased: 1999Charted:
69
16
Get some Geography in the Californication Songplaces
  • A song about the deterioration of society, this reflects how the world is becoming very superficial and plastic, much like California. The Red Hot Chili Peppers formed in Hollywood and are quite familiar with the quirky nature of life in Los Angeles. (thanks, spunky-jethro - southampton, England)
  • As written in the dictionary, "Fornication" refers disapprovingly to any sexual activity outside the confines of marriage. (thanks, ronartl - Laguna Niguel, CA)
  • The lyrics, "Cobain can you hear the spheres singing songs off station to station and Alderaan's not far away, it's Californication" get in a few pop-culture references - Kurt Cobain, David Bowie's album Station To Station, and Alderaan - the planet princess Leia was from in Star Wars. Alderaan was destroyed by The Empire, implying that the world is being destroyed. (thanks, Joseph - Wise, VA)
  • A 30-minute instrumental song by The Cure called "Carnage Visors" was a big influence on this. The Cure song is from 1981 and was written as a score for a movie.
  • Flea: "Californication is the best record the Chili Peppers have ever made."
  • The lyrics, "Celebrity skin is this your chin, or is that war your waging" get in a reference to Celebrity Skin, the third and final album from the band Hole. Hole was formed by Courtney Love, Kurt Cobain's wife. (thanks, Colton - Puyallup, WA)
  • Many of the lyrics tell a story about the plastic unrealistic image that Hollywood sells to the world and yet how obsessed people are with attaining that fame and that forever young image. For example:
    "Little girls from Sweden dream of silver screen quotations." - Becoming famous.

    "Pay your surgeon very well to break the spell of aging" - The obsession with being forever young, the image that Hollywood sells.

    "And buy me a star on the boulevard, It's Californication." - The dream of becoming famous.

    "Space may be the final frontier but it's made in a Hollywood basement." - The image that Hollywood sells is manufactured. (thanks, Mark - Fresno, CA)
  • Amazingly it appeared that writers for the Showtime comedy drama Californication did not negotiate with the Red Hot Chili Peppers before borrowing this song's title for their show. Consequently the rock group filed a lawsuit against Showtime on November 19, 2007 seeking damages and restitution and asking the court to issue a permanent injunction barring further use of the title. In addition, one of the characters in the program played by Rachel Miner was given the nickname Dani California, the title of a 2006 Chili Peppers song, and one episode featured a character describing California as "the edge of the world and all of western civilization," a line from "Californication." (thanks, Bert - Pueblo, NM)
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Comments: 172

In the song, when it says "And Cobain can you hear the spheres singing songs off station to station."......
It's obviously talking about Kurt Cobain. He was the singer of Nirvana and he died by committing suicide (supposedly). He hated mainstream concepts, which is what this song is basically about. Then when it said "spheres" it could mean a variety of things. But if you look it up, a foo fighter was a term used in WWII to describe UFOs or mysterious aerial phenomena. Those mysterious sightings were sometimes called "balls of fire". They also looked like spheres burning in the sky. Going back to the term foo fighter, well there is a band called the Foo Fighters that is post-grunge and Dave Grohl is the singer of the group. Dave Grohl was apart of Nirvana (which Kurt was also in) So I believe that if you translated this verse, the real meaning is: "And Cobain can you hear the Foo Fighters singing their new music ." Or its something close to that. The "station to station" part is a reference to a David Bowie album and Nirvana covered one of the songs off of that album.
Claire - Chicago, Il
@Alessandro, Besnate, Italy Really interesting view. Thank you!Sunnydayinjune - Birmingham, United Kingdom
for an in-depth explanation check out this one from rapgenius.com http://rapgenius.com/Red-hot-chili-peppers-californication-lyricsDick - Chicago, Costa Rica
Wow. Doesn't anyone else think this song contains multiple references to particular movies? Psychic spies from China try to steal your mind's elation - The Manchurian Candidate; teenage bride with the baby inside getting high on information - Educating Rita; Earthquakes are to a girl's guitar they're just another good vibration - Earthquake; tidal waves-- Poseidon Adventure?; space may be the final frontier - Star Trek; Alderon - Star Wars. Anybody have one for teenage girls from Sweden?Steve - Philadelphia, Pakistan
(cont.)...mantra that encourages glorification of the matter realm above the spiritual. This is to me a negative downward spiral engineeered by a far greater "intelligence" than any one man but a collective ego we all contribute towards unwittingly. Awaken. Awaken. AwakenCliff - Ny, Ny
The ideas and lyrics put forth by the members of the band appear to me to be products of a carnal mind that has allowed itself to become a tool for discarnate energies. It's frightening to imagine that one can be influenced and controlled by such to influence mass consciousness but an unfortunate reality when one dabbles in "blood, sugar and sex magick". First born unicorn refers to the beast-most notably the flood of filth issuing from california. Ironically the lyric plays like a hypnotic sCliff - Ny, Ny
brill song about a materialistic world,good people can be changed or corrupted for the trappings of fame/fortune.the cobain reference is to give us a picture of talent that could nt cope with such hollywood style celeb and became isolated tragicly like anyone could ..a tidal wave could clear one place but californication is everywhere.......in us all maybe.........space maybe the final frontier but made in a basement..... the industry being fake ,but lets face it we all want a small piece in 2011...keep the faith...rest in peace kurt.Pj - Dublin, Ireland
fyi...the music of the sphere's was considered to be the most most beautiful sound possible in the universe prior to our modern understanding of how planets actually move. In the 16th and 17th century all celestrial bodies were imagined to be moving on glass spheres. The rotation of such spheres made the music of the spheres. The obvious point is that the peppers consider "Station to station" to be one of the most important works in popular music....which of course it is.Trent - Stratford, On
I haven't heard this one yet in the very lively discussion . . . . "unicorn" is a word used in the swinging community for single women who swing. The Dorothy Stratten suggestion makes a lot of sense, but the reference to unicorn may also be dealing with this piece of the lifestyle community.Julie - Denver, Co
Hey guys! I just want to add my little "something" to the discussion! I don't it has been said before, but I think that "Celebrity skin is this your chin,
Or is that war you're waging?" is a reference to the cleft chin of strong male actors such as Kirk Douglas (Spartacus). This cleft chin could be compared to a war trench, hence the "is that war you're waging?". It seems like this is criticizing (making fun of) people going too far with surgery and ending up with enormous cleft chins that don't even look natural anymore, but more like a huge chasm on their jaw line!! Oh well I might be wrong, but that's my take on this line =)
Sacha - Brussels, Belgium
I wonder how many people in Cali listened to this song, looked at themselves and said, "Wow. Never thought of it that way." Nevertheless, this song just speaks the ultimate truth. That's why it's so great.Michael - Deridder, La
I think that there are a lot more references to Kurt Cobain in this song than most people. It is my opinion that "First born unicorn" is a reference to Frances Bean. The "celebrity skin" line is obviously about Courtney. Of course, the line that says "Cobain." Then there is an entire verse "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." I think this whole verse is about Kurt and Courtney; how the destructive lifestyle they led was the very thing that made him great and that nothing could save him from himself.
Idnar - Nowhere, Wi
Good point Mel from Riverbank, CAHarlo - Chicago, Il
omg, i think i figured it out. You shouldn't seperate these 2, -First born unicorn, hardcore soft porn- I think it means that if the first unicorn of the world will be born, it would almost be no big deal because Hollywood has already weakened our minds, back in time it would have been the biggest thing ever.(Hardcore first, soft porn later) Anybody agree's?John - London, United Kingdom
Hey, Thanks to everybody that left his comment here. I learned alot(and i mean ALOT) from all of you. I need to do a presentation of this song with it meaning and everything for school, and i just wanted to thank all of you. The only sentence i don't yet understand fully is ''first born unicorn'' Could use some help on that one. CyaJohn - London, United Kingdom
it's annoying when people stereotype this song as a refrence to California
anthony is not talking about just california, but about how the whole hollywood industry has become such a brainwasher and influencer on the rest of the world
i've lived in LA my whole life and it amazes me how much popular culture from my area has spread to other people's areas
and to scott from bismarck, the reason chris farley is mentioned is because he overdosed on speedballs the same deadly combination of coke and heroin that killed former bnd member and friend Hillel Slovak
Tyler - Los Angeles, Ca
Although it is one of the best songs ever made, and it is a cool video, I would have rather seen him sing in his video. Anthony kiedis is so hot.Jay - San Antonio, Tx
This song is so true, don't even try to deny it.Lily - Los Angeles, Ca
I don't really think anyone can say what the songs other people write are about, but I guess we can all say what we get from them, though. I always think of the song as a half-mocking, almost a little haunting description of main stream images that no one can achieve. It freaks me out, but it's so true, and I guess that's why. I love listening to this song so much.Ruby - New York, Ny
I dont think "Space is the final frontier, but its made in a holly wood basement" has as much to do with the landing hoax. I think it has to do more with the fact things in Hollywood seem like a great American dream with true Amazment, but its really just a fake, made by hollywoodDamian - New York, Ny
To Logan in Troy, MT: Blender Magazine does that a lot, if the lyrics are to hard for thier little brains to get they automaticly say it's bad. They rated Niel Peart in the top 40 of the worst lyricts in rock.Alejandro - West Bloomfield, Mi
Does anybody know what the line "first born unicorn" means or is refrencing? The line afterwards "Hard-Core Soft Porn" is easy to get but the unicorn thing is hard.Alejandro - West Bloomfield, Mi
Great dong, never get bored of it until now.
The lyrics are so mysterious and make me wonder how and what is the meaning of such beautiful words.
The music have a very strong character, it's simple but have notes that really come from the heart and blends well with the strong and sharp meaning of the lyrics..
RHCP really are genius. 4 thumbs up; other two come from my friend :=)
Kumpiscat - Jakarta, Indonesia
well said, paul from australia. but dylan from IA...what are you smoking? no, it DOESNT really make sense if you think about it. not at all.Chloe - St. Louis, Mo
anthony keidis first got the idea for the song on holiday in india were he was recognized on the street and he saw RHCP shirts for sale on the street and he realized how american culture has penetrated nearly every country in the wordRicky - Melbourne, Australia
well i think the song is just saying how everyone now days wants to be famous and how hollywood sells itself as something different than it isGarrett - Sumrall, Ms
Well Mel i am from California and lived there for many years and i dont think anyone thinks of Cali like that at all. This song is just saying how most people give they're souls away for this belief that being famous is the top of everything in the world. This song isn't a cheap shot to california it's a shot at people believing that Hollywood is where to go to get famous.Kris - Wichita, Ks
I think it it very evident that this song is about young people, mostly girls, being drawn to Hollywood with great ambition and subsequently being drawn into sleeping with someone to get a head or falling in to porn. The surgery reference, even the Alderon line which means they thought of a big Hollywood set instead are either making some cheap ass porn in a basement or sleeping with someone to get ahead and the "gettting to Alderan" or a roll like Princess Lea. The Cobain reference is a deeper take on making it and what it lead to...suicide. The girls lose their dream they way Cobain supposedlt felt. Great freakin'band and great son both musically and the lyrics! Check ot their live clip lead in by the guitar/bass jam session!Stephen - Wilmingon Nc, Nc
This song has always been one of my favourites because every lyric is packed with meaning, every beat of music is well-constructed, the themes of the song seem to ring a bit more true every day, and most important, listening to the song I get the impression that the Chili Peppers really cared about this one.Paul - The Gong, Australia
The reference to Kurt Cobain and "Cobain can you hear the spheres singing songs off station to station" probably is talking about the spheres of the galaxy- the sun the moon etc. since Cobain was dead when the song was written, they are asking him if he can hear the music of the universe. wikipedia "the spheres." this also ties in nicely to Bowie's station to station.Bear - New York, Ny
we get it...the song is about sexLiz - Smallville, Ks
I think the line cobain can u hear the spheres sing songs off station to staion is refering to how the the song the man who sold the world putting forward simmerlar ideas to this song and is from the album station to station was copyed from david Bowie by kurt cobain and is now being copied by artists with no talent to try and become famous and my idea behind sphere is that a sqaure is refering to a boaring person and a shere is a person trying to become more interesting (absence of corners).Sam Freedman - London, United Kingdom
RHCP doesn't have one bad song out. They're an all american awesome band! They don't succumb to hollywood-ness and I like that about them. Great song as always!Krista - Carbondale, Pa
I have to disagree Mel because when people get a chance to become famous they take it and a wile later they are either on drugs or corrupted. this songs abut selling your soul for fame thats it!!!!!!!John - Houston , Tx
Can I just say that I am so tired of people (non-Californians) thinking this state is only what is seen on TV? Hollywood does not define California any more than old people define Florida or corn defines Iowa. (Insert state and stereotype here.) California is not just one big beach with silicone injected fake blondes. I have never seen a celebrity except on my television and I do not like sushi. Hollywood/LA is only a tiny portion of this state. When I drive to the store I have to pass cornfields and cows. I mean, sure, the play on words sounds good and all, but maybe RHCP needs to branch out a bit more and see more of their home state. Come on up to the San Joaquin valley, go to Yosemite, board up at Tahoe. Not to criticize the band musically, I've been a fan for a long time and own most of their CDs, but I do get annoyed at the stereotype.Mel - Riverbank, Ca
I have studied all of these comments, and so far, on the Cobain/David Bowie reference, I think that Scott from Bismarck is the closest. But I have came up with the best. The Foo Fighters made a cover of a David Bowie song, "The Man Who Sold The World" to be exact. Which is From The "Station to Station", So it's saying "Cobain can you hear your former bandmate's new band becoming popular?" That is What I think it really means!Joel - Montague, Mi
Tom, Orange, Australia, I appreciate your opinion, but IMO it's really not about the producer. The Band can't go back, anymore than you can go back 10 years and do the same thing. Many very talented bands (how about Led Zep?) could not grow and progress. To grow together as musicians is a difficult and powerful thing. Even the mighty Beatles fractured and died. I have a lot of respect for this band.Mark - Worcester, Mi
yes the world is starting to become like this, but in ca most of the stuff described is around so cal, where the RHCP grew up. if more people stopped being so fake like the song describes, the world would be a much better place.A - Kabul, Afghanistan
I love the deep philosophical things you guys are coming up with, but do you think they spent weeks researching and perfecting each individual referenceMitchell - Stuart, Fl
This song is awesome! But, if you like this song you should wtach the video clip. It is supposed to be a video game taking place in California. It Is really cool.Jason - Pittsburgh, Pa
be quiet Alessandro from Besnate, Italy!
you have given me a mild migraine!
Jamie - Aberdeen , United Kingdom
I've never really been sure about the Celebrity Skin reference. It has always seemed to me like they're again talking about plastic surgery and the like, as in "is this your chin" and "is that war your waging" is the war against aging.Brett - Morristown, Tn
the opening line "Psychic spies from China" tony got from a old lady in a tibet bazzaar just yelling something about phychic spies from chinaVictor - Killen, Tx
Just a couple of things:
1- the word "californication" IS NOT "california" + "fornication". Anthony explained it very explicitely many times in interwiews. It's simply a neologism that came up in his mind and it's exact meaning is that one who has been already explained in this place: the spreading of California's/Hollywood's life-style and "ideals".
The link with the word "fornication" is only vague; at most, it's very secondary. Kiedis has been very categoric about this.

2- I believe (and I'm quite sure about it) that the famous line "Cobain can your the spheres singing songs from station to station" refers to: 1- Kurt Cobain (who was just dead) (well, this one is obvious =P) 2- the "spheres" are exactly the "celestial spheres" of Aristotele (not Pitagora.. or, well: I don't remember that Pitagora talked about them. Just as note: I'm a student in Philosophy in University.); to many of you it may seem a weird theory.. but maybe because you don't know what the "celestial spheres" are: they were, in Aristotele astronomic theory, the "cogs" (literally) of wich the universe is made; concentric spheres, each moved up (and while they are moving, they SING A CELESTIAL MUSIC) by the First Motor (I don't know ho w is exactly named in English), i.e. GOD. In fact, this theory was later absorbed by the cattolic religion. So: the "spheres" are the Heavens, the Skies in wich God lives, and where Cobain's soul now lives. [ REMEMBER: Anthony Kiedis is VERY religious; I can't remember if is Catholic or not, but for sure is cristian. However it doesn't change: in all christian religions there are the "spheres"]
It may seem very complicated and unrealistic, but I assure you that it is so because maybe you don't know about Aristotele's theory and its link with Christian Heaven, and maybe also the role that Christian religion has for Anthony Kiedis. (look for Savior, in the same album "Californication"..) 3- "station to station" is obviously Bowie's album, which was one of the prefered one by Cobain.
So, the meaning of the sentence is like:
"Cobain [who was more than a friend to Kiedis], can you here [now that you are in the Heaven] the [heavenly] spheres [which always sing while they're moving according to the Aristotelic/Christian theory] singing songs from Station to Station [i.e.: singing songs taken from Bowie's album "Station to Station", the album which you used to love when you were alive on the earth]?"
Now, it remains only the connection between this sentence to the whole meaning of the song. I think that it's quite obvious the "blasfemic" image conained in this sentence: even the celestial spheres (in the Heaven) sings the songs from the Bowie's album Station to Station, like all the radios on the earth does. Thus, also the Heavens have been "californicated", i.e. "corrupted" by the California/Hollywood costums.
Alessandro - Besnate, Italy
I loved this song. Every few seconds i was like "Did they just SAY that?" lolBlake - Chico, Ca
Best video ever made!!!Dylan - Port Orange, Fl
All great comments...My 2 cents...Californication is what you have to do to get ahead in Hollywood's scene...Fornicate to get ahead...the casting couch that so many young stars had to go through is apparently live and well.Ken Tucky - Orlando, Fl
Okay when you look at the video your realize how big of geniuses the Chili Peppers are, the point they are trying to make is how fake our society has become, and what we precieve as possible and needs, such as good lucks and fame. They also show how Holywood makes things such as space and rediculous video games haze the youths minds and belive that thats what they can be, hence the video being a video game and the unrealistic preception of our society without even showing lyrics.Nick - Grayslake, Il
This song was origninally hated by Flea, John and Chad along with Rick Rubin and the bands managers and Anthony was the only one who wanted to work on it and put it on the album but it was thanks to John going home working on a better guitar line for it, it would have never ended up on the album, and we would have been stuck with Scar Tissue and Otherside, which if they weren't done by the Red Hot Chili Peppers would have been good songs, but the fact is the Red Hot Chili Peppers went against their own style and released 4 Pop Rock Albums in a row, One Hot Minute, Californiacation (even though it still a great album), By The Way(Worst thing they ever did to their careers except for Venice Queen) and Stadium Arcadium(Even though it does have its Funk Rock Moments) The Red Hot Chili Peppers a stable fan base and a strong enough name to release albums like Freaky Styley or The Uplift Mofo Party Plan once again, true hard Funk albums, if they just went back to their Funk roots and got George Clinton back as a producer instead of Rick Rubin they can re-create Mothers Milk or Blood Sugar Sex Magik, I mean seriously, with Rick Rubin, Blood Sugar was a FLUKE!
Thanks People, i just needed to vent my opinion.
Tom - Orange, Australia
this song is so true. the worlds starting to become as messed up as californiaMichael - Morris County, Nj
If you listen to 3:42 on this clip of "The Crush Of Love" by Joe Satriani it sounds like the beginning riff for this song. http://youtube.com/watch?v=rzLmNYA7fBs&feature=relatedChris - Glenville, Ny
This has to have one of the cleverest film clips everCampo - Sydney, Australia
This is my favortie RHCP song and my favorite line in it is "Space may be the final frontier but it's made in a hollywood basement." I think that just stands out the mostKris - Wichita, Ks
It is about selling false hope and dreams. Because so many people want to be famous and have dreams that hollywood sells. Also the line "And tidal waves couldn't save the world from Californication" is a reference to Aenema by tool where they talk about the only to fix L.A is to flush it down. Another thing I found interesting was the line "And earthquakes are to a girl's guitar, They're just another good
vibration" means how so many of us pick up a guitar in hopes of being a rockstar, to us it is pure gold but to others it is just a sound.
Austin - Smallsville, Ne
Can anyone believe Blender magazine said that "Californication" has one of the worst lyrics ever?

No seriously. They had a section in their magazine for "50 Worst Lyricists" and Anthony Keidis' "Californication" was the song they chose.

The Lyrics:
"Psychic Spies from China try to steal your mind's elation, and little girls from Sweden dream of silver screen quotations, and if you want these kind of dreams, it's Californication."

Rediculous, no matter what they say, this song is one of my favorites.
Logan - Troy, Mt
I'm surprised no one mention/noticed the line directed at tool's aenima. "and tidal couldn't save the world from californication". In aenima, maynard suggests the best fix for the plastic, apethetic, and superficial nature of L.A. would be a catastophic flood washing it of the map. Anthony says that wouldn't be enough...hence the meaning of the song. Californication has little to do with the geographic california, and everything to do with the systematic spread of apathy and the
superficial. We are a society that is more entertained than informed...and celebrity gossip gets more attention than serious social issues. He is saying the entire world is being consumed by ridiculousness.
Mike - San Antonio, Tx
Personally, I think the lines, "and alderaans not far away its californication." and "space may be the final frontier but its made in a hollywood basement" mean that everything is fake and you can make anything in Hollywood. Like movie sets, we the people may think, Oh yeah its in space! But Anthony's telling us its all fake, and as Jay from Jay and Silent Bob would say, "I hate how fake Hollywood is".Doug - Las Vegas, Nv
Californication is pretty much a scathingly cynical comment on Hollywood and American popular culture, "Two Swedish girls dream of being on the silver screen" alludes to both known Swedish actresses and the yearning to make a name in America. Though the video is like a video game, it's meant to embellish the lyrics. Alderaan and its initial destruction can mean an annihilation in cultural morality in America or even the very disintegration of cinema in America into something to make a buck out of.Ad. - Marikina City, Malaysia
"The sun may rise in the East.But at least it settles in a final location"

Lol i really think he means something else by this.
at least it settles in a final loacation ofc it does mean california but also the sun doesnt really settle anywhere there is no west or east as a geographical place.Only some are trying to make you think the 2 places (close to eachother) are opposite.

''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 kind of dreams
It's Californication''

it migh mean both of them are dreams and californication. /implied fear and fake dream


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

I Think he means abortion

(/a modest name for killing of unborn children)
Nightflow - Cewba, Czech Republic
RHCP FOR LIFE! WOOOOOO!!Mike - Hillsboro, Nj
It's a clever song title, I'll give them that...
...when it clicked in my mind what it meant, I laughed out loud and had an awkward moment where my 12 year old brother asked what I was laughing at...
...Damn good song though :)
Kayley - London
stephen, they have a few bad songs in fairness... hump de bump, off stadium arcadium, is a stinker i reckonJoe - Dublin
Ha, off the best album R.H.C.P. or not. Plus the best video ever.Kyle - Jefferson, Md
erm under "the bridge" was not written about california, it was about los angeles: "the city of angels"Sophia - London, England
Anthony is being very...specific about this.
This song is about life and how america(or the rest of the entire world)is becoming more and more stuck in the world of fantasy and hollywood itself.Nothing bad or good about it.And I think what Anthony was saying when he mentioned Kurt Cobain was maybe of how dissapointed he would've been from such behavior of the people of today and the yesterday before he commited suicide.I bet if Kurt were still alive he would write a song quite similar to "Californacation".
And the "teenage bride with a baby inside getting high on information" is the same girl that is named "Dani California"Do you see the comparisen between the two?And "dani" is a young girl that is dreaming of mentioned in song.And the "getting high on information",means shes listening to the pop-culture teaching of MTV(and or is still in school)."Pay your surgeon very well
To break the spell of aging.
Celebrity skin, is this your chin
Or is it war you're waging" refers to so many people trying to look like celebrity and paying big bucks to look fake.Put on some makeup like I do,it makes a world of difference and you don't even have to use that much."Space may be the final frontier
But it's made in a Hollywood basement."refers to how hollywood could even make real things seem like it's just something you would read in a comic book.
And you could also see the video,you might understand better.Youtube.com,it's that easy.
Shannon - Bakersfield , Ca
is it possible for this band to make a bad song??Stephen - Claymont , De
interesting titbit about the vid.apparently JF was reluctant to remove his shirt due to the abcesses on his arms due to prolonged drug abuse.its visible if you look closely.Theo - Johannesburg, South Africa
wow going thro' the reads, no I definately think space being the final frontier, filmed in a holywood basement the cheap ride like the X filesTricia - Edinburgh, Scotland
my explanation of what they mean with californiacation: they mean that even tough it all seems incredible and convincing its all just fake.
and its just that they mention california in alot of songs like dani CALIFORNIA and the song ''under the bridge''.
they must love california really much!
Wessel - Dedemsvaart, Netherlands
Saying its the deterioration of society is kind of broad. I think the entire reason it has the word "fornication" in the title is because we're cheating on our own integrity and reality by selling out and buying into the delusions projected by Hollywood.A - A, Ks
I really like this song. Everytime I view it it make me think about life.Frenchman - Toulon, United States
We're writing our next test on this video! Finally something that is fun to work with. I dunno how the teacher is gonna make a test that'll take an hour to finish, if all we talk about is this video... The "What's your personal oppinion" part is gonna be so friggin' easy: I LOVE IT! =)Joelle - Atlanta, Ga
My friend said that he saw an interview of Anthony Kiedis and Anthony himself said that the "Little girls from Sweden dream of silver screen quotations" line is about a girl that he knew who wanted to be an actress but somewhere along the line, something went wrong and so she settled on being a porn star.Chrissy - Long Island, Ny
the song is referring to the materialism in california (more so in LA) but i dont think anthony thinks this is necessarily a bad thing. its just that this is the way california is. i was born and raised in the LA area and now i go to school boulder,co and i can admit that life in california is somewhat materialistic however every society has flaws. it doesnt mean society in california is bad but this is the way it is.

in the end he he is prasing california by saying that the culture is so strong and powerfull that this "californication" has spread to the world.
Mike - Los Angeles, Ca
The song is definitely not about how great California is, that's for sure. While I don't assume my interpretation to be correct, here's what I thought when I first heard the song:

The song seems to be singing in a dual nature of the world and specifically Hollywood and celebrities. Like the line "Little girls from Sweden dream of silver screen quotations/And if you want those kind of dreams/It's Californication". Interpreting the word "Californication" to mean a general deteroriation of either humanity or society (to eventually become as "Fake" and "plastic" as hollywood is), it's saying "The only way dreams of fame will come true is to lie to yourself and become fake."

Then RHCP reinforces the interp. of decay with the line "It's the edge of the world/And all of Western civilization", which is blatant in its use of the modifier "Western", referring directly to the Western hemisphere. The song goes on to say "The sun may rise in the East/But at least it settles in a final location", which seems to me like saying that Californication will engulf the sun, maybe because the night is much more feared for possible dangers that may befall you.

Further down, he says the oft-interpreted line "Cobain can you hear the spheres/Sing songs from station to station?" If anyone who professes to know rock would know, Cobain hated the idea of his music contributing to a giant machine, and in his words, "Corporate rock still sucks." Cobain's philosophy is directly against what RHCP's "Californication" is about, so the line, to me, seems to be asking Cobain's spirit if he sees that he's lost the battle and that fake, plastic rock music is being broadcast all over the world and into space.
Jordan - Hammond, La
I personally think that this song is about how amazing California is. "If you want these kind of dreams, it's Californication." I also think the song's title is short for "California Vacation."Blake - Hamilton, Oh
It's funny that of all these comments and theories there's only one from L.A., Cali that knows the real deal. I mean really, how else could you really know?Shana - San Diego, Ca
I love this song. almost every line ends with a word that ends ion. I never noticed that until just recently.Devon - Westerville, Oh
Absolutely amazing song.Cassie - Hamilton, Nj
I have a lot of memories of watching the video for this on VH1 as a little kid. I don't think VH1 would play it if they knew the meaning since they add a lot of "Californication" into society with all of their dumb celeb shows.Patrick - Humboldt, Ia
I cant stand RHCP (red hot chili peppers) However, this song just made me think they were the greatest band that ever lived. Same with the RHCP's dosed. thats a great song tooJude - To, Canada
Hey i think the sam dude has the best explanation for the song, and for the people talking about the "Cobain can you hear the spheres...blah blah" line: is it possible that The Foo Fighters covered a song from Bowies Station to Station album? Just a thought, thanks.Sam - Austin, Tx
The line "Teenage bride with a baby inside getting high on information." Could, quite possibly, be only one line, with the "getting high on information" describing the teenage bride, and not the baby. This seems to make more sense. How could a fetus be "getting high on information"? Therefore, as is common among teenage girls who find themselves pregnant, this mom-to-be is learning about the symptoms of pregnancy or the how-to of raising a child, or any array of other things. Just my thoughts on this. Grammatically and logically, however, it makes more sense to have the second part modify the bride and not the baby. What I love about music, though, is you can interpret it any way you like.Dev - Somewhere, Co
No, Flea has said that about 2 albums. Californication and Stadium Arcadium. He now thinks that their newest release (Stadium Arcadium) is better than Californication.George - Concord, Nh
Flea says this is the best album we've ever made about every album.Dan - Lee, Nh
John Fruciante's return to the band along with the release of the albums "By The Way" and "Californication" signaled the rebirth and reformation of RHCP from their funk origins to a new alternative rock sound. You cannot judge either of these two albums against any older RHCP album because it's not the same band. Personally, I can't stand their funk songs. I heard the forementioned 2 albums, wanted to hear more, bought "What Hits?" , and was very dissapointed. However, I respect their previous success and accept the fact that that was another time and another lineup. John Fruciante adds so much to RHCP, and I think it's discrediting to him to compare the early albums to the latter 2.Craig - Kernersville, Nc
I read that Anthony regards the "Teenage bride with a baby inside" as a mixture of girls he knows. This girl is named Dani and is mentioned in "By The Way" and is featured in "Dani California". Also read in Rolling Stone that the melody to this song was the easiest hes ever done and the lyrics came to him easily. I got that from the latest Rolling Stone Australian edition. All these theories and ideas are great and i hope this info helps everyones quest to a better understanding and love of the song CALIFORNICATION!!!Tristan - Sydney, Australia
I just noticed something about the song. On the album (Californication), it is 5:21, and on the greatest hits album it is 5:29. I compared the two a found that the greatest hits one has a slightly extended lst chorus, and some added electronic noises throughout. Just thought some big fans would like to know. The Chili Peppers are one of my favorite bands and I can't wait for Stadium Arcadium (5/9)!Bob - Los Angeles, Ms
The line "celebrity skin" is most likely a reference the a Hole song, with the same name.Max - Austin, Tx
I've lived in New Mexico and Nevada. In those states at least (and probably Arizona), "Californication" was used long before this song was released to mean the disruptions to those states when Californian people with too much money from the sale of their houses in CA move to these state and drive home prices up by buying a home for themselves, then other houses for rent or just investment. A housing shortage happened and your average schmuck couldn't afford a house anymore. It's been especially bad in Santa Fe and Taos NM and Las Vegas NV (home prices shot up while I lived there). I don't know if the Chili Peppers knew of this word in that way before the song was written, but New Mexicans were amused.Pat - Albuquerque, Nm
Looking at this song in its own right is probably not the best way to find out what exactly all of it means, I think it is much more important to look at the whole album, though this song being the album title should shed some light on it meaning. There are a few things that I believe I have sensible answers to. First off, the first line of the 5th verse "Destruction leads to a very rough road but it also breeds creation." I believe this is describing the basics of life in terms of how war is indeed fought every day on a human level against the "Californication" in the sense that it is infecting the minds of the world (the very rough road). In this we consider that war is in itself destructive, but breeds creation in the form of new technology and innovation which inevitably leads to more effective ways of killing people next time round, in the meantime, what is destroyed is rebuilt, new and ongoing (breeds creation).
The other thing is, one person mentioned that they were a devout Nirvana fan, you're not the only one im sure, however, the mention of "Cobain" in the song is another California reference obviously in terms of the music business. ("Cobain, can you hear the spheres sing songs from station to station?")What is obvious to me is that, the band are simply pointing out that Kurt Cobain wrote original material, and is asking him to observe the the fact that the music industry is becoming more and more remade than ever (another band singing songs from david bowies album, station to station), just think about the number of david bowie songs that have been remade!
Hope that helps!
Chris - Belfast, Ireland
I think this is one of the peppers worst songs actually. This is as far from possible away from the definitive sound of the red hot chili peppers. You who have only heard the material from californication listen to 1992's Blood Sugar Sex Magick and other albums from the 80's to get a better idea of what their sound is like. I liked their funk sound way more than this conventional "modern rock" sound they have now.Manuel - Puerto Rico, United States
i dont mean to come off as an ignorant jackass, or even a philistine of sorts, but maybe your all reading into this a bit too much. when they wrote 'spheres' in that line, do you honestlky think he was thinking as in depth as to have connotations to blandness and no depth. it's just a great song that i first heard when i was just waking up, so it caught me in that half awake half dreamy state, which for some reason etched it into my brain far more than any other song. which is in no way a bad thing.Gary - Manchester, England
RHCP are the most amazing band in the worldHannah - Pembrokshire, Wales
The Red Hot Chili Peppers best album by far.Jon - Oakridge, Or
And yes, the term "Californication" was coined WAY before the RHCPeps came along... but it's a FANTASTIC song, on several levels!Strings - Miami, Fl
OK, I'm dating myself here (IOW, I'm almost as old as the members of RHCP... or U2, lol), but IMO "First born unicorn, hard core soft porn" is a direct reference to the quintessential Cali-LA-Hollywood tragic life and death of 1980 Playmate of the Year, DOROTHY STRATTEN... yepper.

Thumbnail bio: http://imdb.com/name/nm0833617/bio

The definitive book on the whole sordid tale is 'The Killing of the Unicorn: Dorothy Stratten, 1960-1980' by Peter Bogdanovich... yes, THAT Peter Bogdanovich, the movie director... who was shagging her at the time... which is why her jealous pimp-husband blew her head off with a shotgun, then his own... Ewwwww, messy. (Apparently P.B. had good security--no harm came to him.)

The "hard core soft porn" is a catchy way to say that while she worked in soft porn, her life had become as hard core as it gets, sleeping her way to the top, etc. (Read the GRISLY DETAILS of her BONDAGE+ANAL RAPE murder, if you really want to know... =:O )

But no chillin's, it doesn't end there! The "first born" reference is to Dorothy, the oldest girl in her family. She had a younger sister, Louise Beatrix, or "LB", who 8 years later ended up in bed with--you guessed it--Peter Bogdanovich. Presumably she's the SECOND-BORN UNICORN. They were married for 13 years--pretty long by Hollyweird standards. But still, a bit pervy given PB's history with her sister.

Having laid out all that, let me say this song, or even just the chorus, is probably not an HOMAGE to Dorothy Stratten per se, but rather just an INFAMOUS pop reference to the widespread sordid sleep-around "career" options for young hotties in Hollywood. Same with "Little girls from Sweden Dream of silver screen quotations"


PS: I think "Alison, Melbourne, Australia" is dead on about the Spheres, and Station-to-Station
Strings - Miami, Fl
I just started listenin 2 RCHP and now they r oe of my favrite bands...and this is their best song.Sam - Le Sueur, Mn
This is an ok song, but I mean I came here for The Zepyr Song. That's a good one.Dalton - Columbus, United States
i think the "born and raised by those who praise control of population" is a refrence to abortion.Mike - Los Angeles, Ca
Long before this song (which is a very good one) came out (at least in Las Vegas NV, Albuquerque NM, and Santa Fe NM), "Californication" has meant the rise of home prices as Californians moved into cities in other states, making home ownership far less affordable to locals. I suspect the same thing's happening in Phoenix and Tucson.Pat - Albuquerque, Nm
From what I know, Nirvana did not cover any of the songs off Station to Station by Bowie but I read Teh, Columbia, MD comment and that is probably the closet you'll get to the solving that lyricMaurice - Philly, Pa
Strange enough, but my crowd and I have been calling ignorant people "Californicators" since the early 1980sBobbie - Central, Nm
why do ppl always say that rhcp songs are about drugs?? is it possible that rhcp's have mare on their mind then drugsStacey - Nowra, Australia
I thought the space/basement reference was about the therory that neil armstrong didn't really go to the moon it was all a cover up and a lie (i think he went to the moon)Stacey - Nowra, Australia
"Space may be the final frontier but it's made in a Hollywood basement" is a reference to the conspiracy theory that America's landing on the moon was actually staged.Bhaart - Delhi, India
A lot of these comments make sense and I'm willing to think of most of them as fact. Everyone has their own theories and opinion, but some are very obvious. Such as "Space may be the final frontier but it's made in a Hollywood basment" is a Star Trek reference. At the start of each TOS and TNG episode there would be a voice-over saying "Space: The final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise, it's five-year mission - to seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before!" Also the fifth Star Trek movie is called The Final Frontier, in which the Enterprise is commandeered by an insane Vulcan to find God.

Also "Born and raised by those who praise control of population" could refer to the East, because I heard in China it's illegal to have more than two children, their population already being quite high. California could also be "born and raised by those who praise control of population" because California and that stereotype lifestyle was started by people who move there to maybe become famous, as in "Little girls from Sweden dream of silver screen quotation"
Andrea - Calgary, Canada
hey Nate, are you thinking of Scar Tissue by chance?James - Albuquerque, Nm
good song

"with the birds i share this lonely view" referring to his lonliness during his troubled years. he was lonely and had no one to go to
Nate - Sandwich, Il
I think this song i refering to how the culture of Hollywood is spreading out into the rest of the world, although its a lot more hollow than people think (space may be the final frontier but its made in a Hollywood basement). In his autobiography, Kiedis talks about how when he went to places far away from western civilistation such as Borneo, he still saw things relating to Californian life, including Coca Cola and RHCP t-shirts. The first part of the chorus (First born unicorn, hardcore soft porn) is two huge contradictions. Firstly, unicorns aren't born, and how can it be hardcore an dsoft at the same times. This shows again that Hollywood is not all it is meant to be.Chris - Poole, England
i love the video. especially the bit with the dragonfly. first born unicorn hard core soft porn. sehr gut. xxx i dunno wot the songs about but i luv it anyway.Louise - Durham
I think its abut drugs cuz if you think about it it really makes senseDylan Cummings - Riceville, Ia
The line "It?s the edge of the world In all of western civilization" could mean that California is also the most extreme part of western civilization, so when some countries dislike western culture because of what they see coming from Hollywood, they are only seeing the worst and most extreme part.
Also, the line "The sun may rise in the East At least it settles in the finer location" could be referring to how civilization started in the East and is now settled in the West, a seemingly better place.
I don't really know what I'm talking about though, its just my interpretation. If only someone from the band would comment and clear things up.
Elena - Camarillo, Ca
fornication mEANS to have sex with someone youre not married with, if youre married. So obviosly californication has a new meaning.

I think the song, easily derived from the name, is about how California (or Hollywood for that matter) is fornicating the world with the ideal look of a human, how we "need" enhancement to make ourselves look younger, and how they make the decisions at what is cool and what's not, with complete disregard to all morals. In the first part of the song, he sings about racism and how America is full of itself and really could care less about other nations. "The sun may rise in the East but at least it sets in a finer location...", the finer location referring to California, because it is the heart of American culture (being the West of America, the sun sets in the West). "Little girls from Sweden dream of silver screen quotations" could be talking about how the media is so much more lively in North America than it is in foreign nations, and that it seems appealing from a view. "It's understood that Hollywood sells Californication", is quite literal in the fact that Hollywood sells all of it's media to become even richer. First born unicorn could suggest that, a unicorn being a rare, mystical, beautiful, and from the legend of the unicorn, vain, Hollywood is ideal in it's own views, and more special than the rest, especially because it is the first area or region of it's kind. Hard-core soft porn could be talking about how much Hollywood desensitizes us, to the point where what was once hard-core in our mind becomes soft. The second verse, regarding the girl, could be referring to how much we are pressured to love one another, to find that perfect match, and how much we think we have found someone, but it is actually just strong infatuation. Media also pressures young adults into sex before marriage, showing the "teenage bride with a baby inside" meaning the "couple" got pregnant before marriage. The "...baby inside gettin high on information" could refer to how much pressure is put on young people to learn, know the most, and the more you know the more successful you become. "Buy me a star on the boulevard" is, quite obviously, referring to Grohman's Chinese Theatre, which showcases different stars' handprints and name, and how all you need is a lot of money to get in there. "Space may be the final frontier, but it's made in a Hollywood basement," refers to the ever-popular theory that the "first landing" on the moon in 1969 was staged, because of various mixups. I agree with Teh's Cobain theory. "Alderaan's not far away, it's Californication" could be referring to the fact that Hollywood shows that paradise, which is Alderaan in the Star Wars series, is not far away, in fact, it's in your television, down your street, and on your radios, it's Californication itself. "Born and raised by those who praise control of population" is talking about how we are all raised up with the media closely around us like a parent, and the media controls us on our lifestyles everyday. "Everybody's been there and I don't mean on vacation," is saying everyone has been to, or experienced, Californication, not the actual going to Hollywood on a vacation. "Destruction leads to a very rough road but it also breeds creation", I think, is saying that destruction does in fact bring about bad things, but that it cleanses what was once there to create what the destroyers want. In this case, media destroying any opposers (ie., religion) and planting what they want (brainwashed humans) in their place. "Earthquakes are to a girl's guitar, it's just another good vibration", I think, is trying to say that any girl with good vocals and a guitar can cause earthquakes in the media, no matter how good at guitar she actually is, she's beautiful and supposedly has a good singing voice, so she's amazing. This could also be referring to the San Fransisco earthquake, although I can't make a connection. "Tidal waves couldn't save the world from Californication" is saying that even if a tsunami or something were to hit California, it wouldn't change the effect that Californication has absorbed and brainwashed the media, and that if such a natural disaster occurred, nothing would come of it's "attempts to save us" because it's past the stage of keeping a stable place, Californication is everywhere and taking out the home of it wouldn't do much. "Pay your surgeon very well to break the spell of aging" is pretty self-explanatory. "Sicker than the rest, there is no test, but this is what you're craving" means that yes, Californication does have some of the most disturbing and sick things you will ever see or hear, without doubt, but it doesn't matter, you still want to see it, and it's what you're craving to have. Ha, long read, but, I think it gets the point across
his is a fascinating string, as I too was curious about the "spheres" reference along with the David Bowie album. For those who are interested, here http://www.stylusmagazine.com/feature.php?ID=943 is a link to a very insightful review of the Station to Station album (no, The Man Who Sold The World is not on it, nor is there a Sphere word in the title) It's a bit of a long read, so here's a quote from the reviewer: "[Station to Station] was recorded in Hollywood, for one thing, and rather than being part of Bowie's attempt to cleanse himself of drugs and madness it represents the very nadir of those destructive tendencies...It's the cry of despair that spurred Bowie to clean himself up." So read into that what you will. I also very much liked Alison from Melbourne's interpretation regarding the heavenly spheres... very nice imagery and as practical as any of the other suggestions.
My take on the verse: "Cobain can you hear the spheres Singing songs off station to station" First off, background information: Kurt Cobain was considered a legendary rock star in his time in the band Nirvana; his career spanned from 1991-1994, the last year being the year when he killed himself. Before and after his death, he was all over the place, and was a very popular musician. He did a cover of a David Bowie song for his Unplugged rendition; the acoustic concert said to be his greatest performance. David Bowie released an album called "Station to Station." The verse is an attack on many of today's artists; since 1997-1998, a lot of artists with no real talent have been emerging, and being praised for making these 2-chord songs and have been ever since. Some of them are even trying to use Kurt's style of Grunge to get popular, which explains the second half; artists are doing what Kurt did to get popular. They didn't cover anything from David Bowie, but it's metaphorical to the other things they're imitating that Kurt Cobain did. "Station to station" was probably used to throw the listener off, or to make the song sound better. The reason these artists are referred to as "spheres" is because they're all the same. Spheres are the same bland thing; they don't have much depth, and there isn't much to them, much like the music of said artists. Another explanation of the "spheres" is that they are 3D, as opposed to circles. 3D is obviously for appealing to people when it comes to everything; movie special effects, video games, etc., but all it does is make it look better. It doesn't enhance the gameplay or reality of the effect, therefore, referring to them as only viewed by their looks, and people aren't listening closely. In a nutshell: Anthony Keidis is attacking the shallow music of artist's today for being an imitation of music considered to be legendary, or by a great artist that had a big impact on the industry. Also did a little research: apparently, Alderon could be referring to Alderon Biosciences Incorporated (www.alderonbiosciences.com), so the verse immediatly following the Cobain/Bowie verse is about how this technology could be a threat to mankind. The possibilites of the negative effects that Alderon could do are endless, but I'm completely lost at what he could be referring to by describing it in such a negative way. Tip: If you find a weird name, or a weird line, try searching it on Google. It really helps.
Mary - Aliso Veigho, Ca
As yet there is not a genre of adult cinema that incorporates both hard-core and soft-core porn.Ronnie - Huddersfield, England
Tell me what you think of my theory. The words "Space may be the final frontier but it's made in a Hollywood basement" could aslo be refering to NASA's JPL laboratorys in Pasadena. Not to far from Hollywood.Tim - Fullerton, Ca
I have all of RHCP's cds and i love them all this is one of my favorites tho Red Hot chili Peppers is the greatest band of all time!!Jordan - Apple Creek , Oh
I agree on the who "First-born unicorn. hardcore soft porn" thing that unicorns are not born so its impossible for a unicorn to be born. hardcore soft porn is a direct contradiciton of itself. Neither of those things exist, much like how Alderon didn't exist, becuase it was made in a Hollywood basement. Alderon is a direct result of Californiacation. "...or is this war youre waging?" I think refers to how people wage war against themselves criticising themselves and becoming anorexic becuase of what the media thinks beautiful is. The media tears people apart for gaining 10 pounds. Not to meantion that line was sung right after the line about "Paying your surgeon very well breaks the spell of aging" - in otherwords, go get plastic surgery and you'll never lose your appeal. You wage war against yourself to be the spotlight, CALIFORNIACATION. "Cobain, can you hear the spheres sing songs from station to station?" Which is saying that yea he's dead, but he can hear us, and he's always gonna have that influence on music. Just my take on this whole thingEesha - Los Angeles, Ca
This is my favorite Red Hot Chili Peppers song! It's soo cool!Brandi - Stafford, Va
i've been listening to this song for a while. i've always been meaning to check out the lyrics but i never did. some of the lines i dont get from kiedis's vocals, but how good is this song? just reading a few of the comments here, the more you try to find out about the song, the more likely it is to get tangled up. but musically it is a masterpiece and it just gets you feeling wow, ive been hit by something, i dunno what it is but it feels awesome. and the guitar solo is my favourite.Kit - Perth, Australia
This really shows the growth in the Chilli Peppers music. For once they are looking beyond themselves. Anthony Kiedas's vocals really took off on this album and the return of Fruciante makes ends meet so the Chilli Peppers were due for succes.Dan - Lee, Nh
i interpreted the line "Destruction leads to a very rough road but it also breeds creation" to be about drugs even though i dont think thats what he means, but i thought that drugs lead to a rough road but it leads to creativity. i know im wrong but i like to think this so i have an excuse for doing drugs. creationAndrew - Eldersburg, Md
also the reference to Alderons not far away i think means that just as the upbringing of technology destroyed that planet, our planet is destined for the same this in the not so far futureGreg - Guelph, Canada
"space may be the final fronteir but is made in a hollywood basement" i think refers to the rumors on the hoax moon landingGreg - Guelph, Canada
I think that instead of 'alderon' he's saying 'Aldrin' as in Buzz Aldrin. Before you say that I'm insane this could make sense. It could mean that, even though neil armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin was right behind. Buzz Aldrin was the one that was the mathematical genius. But since the media is an ass and looked at it in all the wrong views, neil is now idolized and Aldrin is now hardly ever appreciated or talked about. That is what the whole song is about too.Chris - Ada, Ok
Wow, Justiin from Canada, you've got some great ideas about this song. I enjoyed reading your interpretations of the various verses. Everyone here has really cool ideas about this song. But, the one thing that I can't grasp has to do with what Scott from Bismark said about the line "Cobain can you hear the spheres singing songs of station to station." I think his interpretation is great and makes perfect sense. The one thing I don't understand about it, is why the Foo Fighters would be singing songs off of David Bowie's Station to Station. Did the Foo Fighters cover any songs from David Bowie? I was just curious, cuz that was really baking my noodle.Brad - Gainesville, Fl
Another great song, with some awesome lyrics. I thinks it more than obvious what it's about, the materialization of the American public, the fakeness. 'Title waves couldn't save the world from califonication' even taking California out of the picture won't stop everyone becoming so fake and unreal.Melissa - Melville, Ny
the video is my fav music video, its very goodAmanda - Dover, Pa
I think it´s about how society walks, everybody mants to be red and hot, and about the Taiwanese dream, more than anything, cause that´s how it is, Platinum screen quotations, means evereryone wants to be on the Telly, to feel important more than Jesus...Space may be the final frontier but it´s made in a Hollywood basement....I mean, c´mon,it´s totally about the Taiwanese dream and life,"YOU" can also see this on another type of songs, like Tiwan,Rammstein. Even Maddona made a song about this, Taiwanese Life!!! And yeah, it did meant also about Coot Cocaine´s suicide, but that´s not the main fart.Zaku 7 - Addaadad, Iraq
I think it´s about how society works, everybody mants to be perfect, and about the american dream, more than anything, cause that´s how it is, silver screen quotations, means evereryone wants to be on TV, to feel important more than anything...a sapce may be the finl frontier but it´s made in a Hollywood basement....i mean, c´mon,it´s totally about the american dream and life,u can also see this on another type of songs, like Amerika,Rammstein. Even Maddona made a song about this, American Life!!!
And yeah, it did meant also about Kert Cobain´s suicide, but that´s not the main part.
Josefina - Orense, Spain
I'm surprised with all the references to how we're 'supposed' to look and act that no one's really mentioned the line "Marry me, girl, be my fairy to the world, be my very own constellation."
I interpet that as the guy asking the girl to marry him wants her as some kind of a prize to look good next to him, he wants to own her, and for other people to see that she belongs to him. Constellation is another reference to stars; i'm not sure whether that's people or space though, if Alison's theory's right it means that the song involves both. The fairy's like the unicorn, not actually real, but made real by Hollywood and other medias, portrayed as being magical and also beautiful, influencing people to want to be beautiful to an extent of becoming unreal, unhuman.
Gemma - Tring, England
This song is beautiful. Id like to post here because its my favorite song...and because everytime something significant happens...i end up listening to this same song. Its a psychological "landmark" for me and im sure it is for other people too. In my opinion its about "what has the world come to?" and how society is falling apart and becoming superficial.Alex - Narberth, Pa
"Cobain can you hear the spears singin' songs off station to station" I'm pretty sure The Peppers did a tour with Nirvana in the 80's or 90's, and i think this part of the song is about Kurt's death.Kati - Superior, Co
I think the first lines of the chorus: 'First born unicorn, Hard core soft porn' show how fake and untrue the Hollywood image is. Check your mythology and you'll find Unicorns aren't born, that's why they're so special and rare. Therefore, it's impossible to have a 'first-born unicorn.' 'Hardcore soft porn' is a clear contradiction, and is impossible to achieve, just like the Hollywood image.

I also like the line 'Space may be the final frontier but it's made in a Hollywood basement' An obvious reference to Star Trek, it shows how even the most amazing effects and unbelievable stories are created in the basement of a studio somewhere- It's all fake!!
Graeme - Hampshire, England
I remember reading in Scar tissue, about how, Anthony kept working on these lyrics, but found it really complicated. he had gone to Asia and heard from people about "Psyphic spies from China" and i guess he used that, and his connection with California, just made him write it "born and raised by those who praise control of population", i interpret that as people living in America or maybe the world being controled but like being controlled by "those" (maybe the government). I feel its trying to show that California (L.A in particular) is portrayed as the place for these dreams or fakeness or whatever you want to do will happen or work in Californica, or these sins and dreams you have may be fulfilled in California. I think its like people wanting things and they get them but most of these dreams are fullfilled through lust an in turn, its like a sin or something you know. "Space may be the final frontier but its made in a hollywood basemment" i just can't express what i think the lyrics are trying to say or express what i feel toward this song, its beautifula nd simple and fleas bass lines are awesome, his playing and John's guitaring make it sound like their playing one melody because its so well intertwined like a weaving of musical notes. And the film clip is awesome, when i saw it, i thought it was awesome, mind you i didn't like rock back then, but when i listened to that song i loved it and i loved watching the film clip, especially the bit where Chaddo surfs on the L.A bridge, that was cool.Mistik - Sydney, Australia
This is probably one of their best songs. I think that the video game Flea looked a whole lot like Flea in real life. He is like the best bass player ever. This song not only has a lot of philosophical meaning, but is extremely catchy. Go RHCP!!Elliot - St. Louis, Mo
This is a fascinating string, as I too was curious about the "spheres" reference along with the David Bowie album. For those who are interested, here
http://www.stylusmagazine.com/feature.php?ID=943
is a link to a very insightful review of the Station to Station album (no, The Man Who Sold The World is not on it, nor is there a Sphere word in the title)
It's a bit of a long read, so here's a quote from the reviewer:
"[Station to Station] was recorded in Hollywood, for one thing, and rather than being part of Bowie's attempt to cleanse himself of drugs and madness it represents the very nadir of those destructive tendencies...It's the cry of despair that spurred Bowie to clean himself up."
So read into that what you will. I also very much liked Alison from Melbourne's interpretation regarding the heavenly spheres... very nice imagery and as practical as any of the other suggestions.
Andrew - Vancovuer, Canada
"little girl from Swedan Dream of silver screen Portation" is that referring to Anne Frank Email me Bl18290@aol.comBrent - Moosic, Pa
Great song.I like the 'tidal waves' part. VEry intelligent cultural commentary.Ginette - Richmond Hill, Canada
I think the song, easily derived from the name, is about how California (or Hollywood for that matter) is fornicating the world with the ideal look of a human, how we "need" enhancement to make ourselves look younger, and how they make the decisions at what is cool and what's not, with complete disregard to all morals.

In the first part of the song, he sings about racism and how America is full of itself and really could care less about other nations. "The sun may rise in the East but at least it sets in a finer location...", the finer location referring to California, because it is the heart of American culture (being the West of America, the sun sets in the West). "Little girls from Sweden dream of silver screen quotations" could be talking about how the media is so much more lively in North America than it is in foreign nations, and that it seems appealing from a view.
"It's understood that Hollywood sells Californication", is quite literal in the fact that Hollywood sells all of it's media to become even richer.

First born unicorn could suggest that, a unicorn being a rare, mystical, beautiful, and from the legend of the unicorn, vain, Hollywood is ideal in it's own views, and more special than the rest, especially because it is the first area or region of it's kind. Hard-core soft porn could be talking about how much Hollywood desensitizes us, to the point where what was once hard-core in our mind becomes soft.

The second verse, regarding the girl, could be referring to how much we are pressured to love one another, to find that perfect match, and how much we think we have found someone, but it is actually just strong infatuation. Media also pressures young adults into sex before marriage, showing the "teenage bride with a baby inside" meaning the "couple" got pregnant before marriage. The "...baby inside gettin high on information" could refer to how much pressure is put on young people to learn, know the most, and the more you know the more successful you become. "Buy me a star on the boulevard" is, quite obviously, referring to Grohman's Chinese Theatre, which showcases different stars' handprints and name, and how all you need is a lot of money to get in there. "Space may be the final frontier, but it's made in a Hollywood basement," refers to the ever-popular theory that the "first landing" on the moon in 1969 was staged, because of various mixups. I agree with Teh's Cobain theory. "Alderaan's not far away, it's Californication" could be referring to the fact that Hollywood shows that paradise, which is Alderaan in the Star Wars series, is not far away, in fact, it's in your television, down your street, and on your radios, it's Californication itself.

"Born and raised by those who praise control of population" is talking about how we are all raised up with the media closely around us like a parent, and the media controls us on our lifestyles everyday. "Everybody's been there and I don't mean on vacation," is saying everyone has been to, or experienced, Californication, not the actual going to Hollywood on a vacation.

"Destruction leads to a very rough road but it also breeds creation", I think, is saying that destruction does in fact bring about bad things, but that it cleanses what was once there to create what the destroyers want. In this case, media destroying any opposers (ie., religion) and planting what they want (brainwashed humans) in their place. "Earthquakes are to a girl's guitar, it's just another good vibration", I think, is trying to say that any girl with good vocals and a guitar can cause earthquakes in the media, no matter how good at guitar she actually is, she's beautiful and supposedly has a good singing voice, so she's amazing. This could also be referring to the San Fransisco earthquake, although I can't make a connection. "Tidal waves couldn't save the world from Californication" is saying that even if a tsunami or something were to hit California, it wouldn't change the effect that Californication has absorbed and brainwashed the media, and that if such a natural disaster occurred, nothing would come of it's "attempts to save us" because it's past the stage of keeping a stable place, Californication is everywhere and taking out the home of it wouldn't do much. "Pay your surgeon very well to break the spell of aging" is pretty self-explanatory. "Sicker than the rest, there is no test, but this is what you're craving" means that yes, Californication does have some of the most disturbing and sick things you will ever see or hear, without doubt, but it doesn't matter, you still want to see it, and it's what you're craving to have.

Ha, long read, but, I think it gets the point across.
Justin - Justin, Canada
i interpreted the "cobain can you hear the spheres singing songs of station to station" actually as "cobain can you hear the spears (brittney spears) singing songs off station to station" maybe im an idiot, but you know, it does go along with the theme of everything being cheapened, and how such a good thing like the grunge movement was replaced by teenie boppin Brittney SpearsJack - Naperville, Il
Anthony kiedis said in a interview with some british radio station that nirvania was his favorite band in the 90's.Edd - Sgf, Ny
alderon's not far away is like what som1 has sed it is becoz it has been destroyed and this is bcoz his dad had left him here with his mum and he got involved with drugs and things here. california is anthony keidis' hometown. First born unicorn has sumin to do with his frend from back in the time he used to live there he was born before him and died before him and he was his best m8Jack - London, England
Flea is the best bass in the worldEric - London, England
With all these Cobain/Nirvana theories, I'm surprised nobody mentioned the "Celebrity skin, is this your chin" might have something to do Courtney Love. After all, "Celebrity Skin" was the name of Hole's 1998 album.Marc - Sarasota, Fl
I'd taken the Spheres to be a reference to the concept of the "Music of the Spheres". As Cobain is dead, he is now in the realms where the heavenly bodies make their special music. The concept of the music of the spheres (the then known planets & stars) commenced with Pythagoras, who noted that the relations of the planets were in perfect harmony with basic musical intervals. This concept was followed through by Kepler, the Renaissance poets & is referred to frequently in the work of the Romantic poets. The music of the heavenly bodies is the most heavenly harmonious music, which Kurt Cobain can now hear. Playing amongst other things "Station to Station" a seminal transformational album for Bowie, whose work Kurt admired & covered.

I am curious about a first-born unicorn. Understand the significance of unicorns, but why first-born? They were always extraordinarily rare - I would have thought probably only one per family.
Alison - Melbourne, Australia
My take on the verse:

"Cobain can you hear the spheres
Singing songs off station to station"

First off, background information: Kurt Cobain was considered a legendary rock star in his time in the band Nirvana; his career spanned from 1991-1994, the last year being the year when he killed himself. Before and after his death, he was all over the place, and was a very popular musician. He did a cover of a David Bowie song for his Unplugged rendition; the acoustic concert said to be his greatest performance.

David Bowie released an album called "Station to Station."

The verse is an attack on many of today's artists; since 1997-1998, a lot of artists with no real talent have been emerging, and being praised for making these 2-chord songs and have been ever since. Some of them are even trying to use Kurt's style of Grunge to get popular, which explains the second half; artists are doing what Kurt did to get popular. They didn't cover anything from David Bowie, but it's metaphorical to the other things they're imitating that Kurt Cobain did. "Station to station" was probably used to throw the listener off, or to make the song sound better. The reason these artists are referred to as "spheres" is because they're all the same. Spheres are the same bland thing; they don't have much depth, and there isn't much to them, much like the music of said artists. Another explanation of the "spheres" is that they are 3D, as opposed to circles. 3D is obviously for appealing to people when it comes to everything; movie special effects, video games, etc., but all it does is make it look better. It doesn't enhance the gameplay or reality of the effect, therefore, referring to them as only viewed by their looks, and people aren't listening closely.

In a nutshell: Anthony Keidis is attacking the shallow music of artist's today for being an imitation of music considered to be legendary, or by a great artist that had a big impact on the industry.

Also did a little research: apparently, Alderon could be referring to Alderon Biosciences Incorporated (www.alderonbiosciences.com), so the verse immediatly following the Cobain/Bowie verse is about how this technology could be a threat to mankind. The possibilites of the negative effects that Alderon could do are endless, but I'm completely lost at what he could be referring to by describing it in such a negative way.

Tip: If you find a weird name, or a weird line, try searching it on Google. It really helps.
Teh - Columbia, Md
the song refers to the fact how ppl especially wannabe starry eyed hopefuls are roped up for givin sexual pleasures which is the meaning of the word californication-"actresses (usally from a forein country) having sex with people in high places in the movie industry in order to get a role in a movie, also speading pornograpy throgh currupting teenage boys." See the lyrics in the song.this is wat the songz abt.the reference to alderaan wat i got was that alderaan from star wars is supposed to be a planet of traitors and that is wat the reference is that the planet's not far off from becomin a place like alderaan,dunno abt the cobain reference for sure.Pullkit - New Delhi, India
I think "Alderon's not far away" is a reference to how nothing is real anymore.. just as alderon is really a made up planet from starwars.... dont you see, its californiacation...Ivan - Vancouver, Canada
"Alderon' not far away" probably refers to the scene in Star Wars where Han Solo says, "Alderon shouldn't be too far away..." Then they realize that Alderon had been destroyed. The idea is that people are so hopeful to get to California (or Alderon in this case) that they do not realize that what they are looking for is gone and has been destroyed.Rob - Castaic, Ca
I agree with most of the ideas here about the song meaning that the world, especially the entertainment industry has become so obsessed with sex and it seems people, especially women, have to be skinny and pretty to succeed and are expected to expose themselves. The line "Hard-core soft porn" is saying that the entertainment industry has become like a soft porn show and hardcore porn is basically soft porn as its not much more extreme than what is considered normal now. I think Jonas and Scott's theories are pretty good about the reference to Cobain. It could be because Nirvana recorded a cover of a David Bowie Song. ThanksChloe - Hampshire, England
I love the theories about the Cobain reference, especially Scott from Bismark's. I think that might be a little too complicated, though. Anyway, this is one of RHCP's most meaningful songs, I love it!Tiana - A City, Oh
the cobain reference is really bugging me! everyone has all these different theories and i dont know which is right! but i think scott from bismark was pretty close.Amanda - East Grand Forks, Mn
It isn't about selling sex. The girl from Sweden wants to be in a movie because of Californication... because of how California sells the idea of fameand stardom. Hollywood sells the desire to be a star, because everytime you buy a movie or cd, you have the desire to make yourself that way. Hardcore soft-porn is in reference to the fact that it is ALL fake. Plastic and fake. Even the hardcore porn is just softcore.

But, that's just what I got out of it.
John - Kearny, Nj
i heard that the video was made by Sega, anyone know if this is true?Luke - Worthing, England
This song is about a lot of things, but one main thing is not just the deterioration of society, but how Hollywood objectifies women, sells sex and the effect that has had on the deterioration (seperate the name of the song cali-FORNICATION. Fornication is sexual intercourse/behavior between consenting adults who are NOT married. And movies are made in Hollywood). For example, "little girls from Sweden dream of silver screen quotations, and if you want these kind of dreams, it's Californication." So those lyrics are saying that the only way for women to make it in today's society, especially California/Hollywood, is to use their bodies. In the next half of the verse Anthony Keidis says "It's understood that Hollywood sells Californication." He's saying that everyone now accepts that Hollywood sells sex and it has become something of a normalicy (he's also saying it's wrong). In fact, in the video, Anthony's video game character runs through a Hollywood studio and you can see a porn film being made. There are sveral other references to society's sex obsession ("...hardcore soft porn..." ) but it also focuses on the pressure women have on them to look perfect, young, and beautiful forever. In the pre-choruses, there are references to plastic surgery ("pay your surgeon very well to break the spell of aging/Celebrity skin is this your chin or is that war your waging?") Of course, it might not be about women making it in Hollywood, it could be how women in Hollywood all look good and that sets the standard for all other women. If you want to simplify it extremely, it's about our culture's obsession with looks, especially those of women's. As for the Kurt Cobain reference, I'm sure it's a personal nod that may or may not have anything to do with the Foo Foghters, David Bowie, or even the rest of the son's subject matter, but I'm liking some of those theories.Sam - Tuscaloosa, Al
Both Californication and David Bowie's Station to Station deal with same themes of isolation and looking for something real.Jonas - Paris, Tx
I'm not sure what the reference to cobain in this song means but what the Scott guy said actually makes alot of sense. I would have never figured that out. I guess the only way we can figure out what it means is to ask Anthony Keidis himself until then evryone has the own way of looking at it.Rachel - Waurika, Ok
'the man who sold the world' is on the 'station to station' album...as many of you know, cobaine sang that at the unplugged in NY album...and the foo fighters played 'man who sold the world' live for dc101 back round before 'californication' came out...it got a lot of airplay round for like a month or two...i dunno, it seems to connect to me...Tim - Manassas, Va
I always interpreted the station to station reference as Nirvana (eternal peace) being spread throughout the universe. BTW, California is only 1 of 50 states in the U.S. So don't blame us all for what comes out of Hollywood ;)Jon - Grand Forks, Nd
The song is about the "californication" of the world in general. Anthony Kiedis has explained it with a story of when he was travelling to somewhere remote such as Borneo, he'd find himself in a market place selling the usual local wares, but amongst all that he would find RHCP and Guns n Roses t-shirts and Coca Cola and any western memorabilia, as if the western world were somehow infiltrating all these parts of the world that had been previously untouched by western culture.Grant - Newport, England
i just checked the song about cobain is "tearjerker" not "give it away"Scott - Bismarck, Nd
actually Anthony Kaidis and Kurt Cobain became pretty good friends one of the songs on the RHCP album "one hot minute" (give it away", I think) was about Cobain and the affect he had on kaedisScott - Bismarck, Nd
Something else about the Cobain reference: Station to Station is a David Bowie album, and Cobain was a big fan. I'm pretty sure the Spheres is from a title to a song on that album.

RHCP and Nirvana toured together (wish I had been to that one!) so they probably had some sort of friendship.

I'm really digging that Dave Grohl connection, though...
Allison - Somewhere, Nj
I'm not sure exactly what the Kurt Cobain reference means, but i have a pretty good idea, you see the line "and cobain can you hear the spheres singing songs off station to station" well you see Dave Grohl who was Nirvana's drummer is now the front man for the foo fighters, and a foo fighter is what some branch of the armed services refers to a UFO as. and a UFO is shaped like a sphere, and about the time that californication was written, the foo fighters were getting pretty good radio play, so therefore the songs of the "spheres" were being sung a lot.Scott - Bismarck, Nd
I'm a super Nirvana fan and I was wondering what the reference to Kurt Cobain meant exactly...Shane - Hector, Ar
The song is about how screwed up things are here and how everyone thinks is paridise. Things are as magical as they seem...great songTravis - Sacramento, Ca
i look at the entire album of californication as a concept album, about the increasing californication of the world.Rudi - Melbourne, Australia
the video represents the song sort of, because it's like a video game, and it's all computerized, and none of them are actually doing what they are in the video. (except for the part where it breaks away and shows them playing their insturments) and it did win some awardsDerek - Raleigh, Nc
the entire californication album has songs that mention or deal with dead people some of which as old as the Big Bopper (i think he went down with Buddy Holly) then in californication it mentions, by name, Kurt Cobain (and Cobain can you hear the spheres singing songs off station to station) and to the extent of my knoweledge there was at least one chili pepper that was very good friends with Cobain, then in the song Purple Stain Chris Farley is mentioned (just interesting, has nothing to do with anything else i just said.)Scott - Bismarck, Nd
Didn't the video win awards?Nick - Paramus, Nj
The video is a video game that resembles life in Cali. It also consists of snowboarding, skateboarding, and riding a dragonfly.Erika - Beecher, Il