What does Californication mean?

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Californication Meaning

Album cover for Californication album cover

Song Released: 2000

Californication Lyrics

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's the edge of the world
And all of western...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Nov 2nd 2007 !⃝

    First of all, yeah, the band later realized that the fictional character Dani California may have something to do with the song, at the time they wrote it, she didnt. Music is a form of art, and you can't understand art unless you understand the artist and the way that they were feeling about the world at the time they created their piece of artwork. Also, this song, in my opinion is the greatest song in the world because it discusses the main problems with the world in a poetic, beautiful, and metaphoric way. With that being said, let us take the lyrics line upon line:

    We must begin with the title of the song. As many of you have mentioned, it is a mashup of the words California and fornication. But what many of you have failed to notice is that the word is not Californication. This is very important. It puts the stress on fornication, where it belongs. California also does not refer to California as a whole, because, why would the Chillies knock on their hometown state? No, instead it is referring to Hollywood because, when we think of California, what do we really think of? We think of the idiot celebs living there in Hollywood. (as a side note, the Chillies themselves are celebs, something that they adress later in the song). Now, the word fornication does not refer to the act of fornication itself, per se, but it could. Instead what it is metaphorically referring to is the overall lifestyle of Hollywood. Because of the popularity of blockbuster movies and other such things, modern celebrities have achieved an iconic, almost Godlike status in our society. They can have whatever they want, and more importantly they can do whatever they want. Everyday we hear about something that some idiot celebrity did (mocking an entire minority group, shaving their head bald, denying things that everyone already knows to be true...) This is their lifestyle, and more importantly, they don't even care how much they are destroying their lives. But the beauty of Californication is not pointing out this simple fact because we already know this. But the reason that Californication is so awesome is because it tells us that this lifestyle is, through movies, television, and the internet, spreading everyone, young and old alike beginning to think that they, like these celebrities can simply throw their lives away in exchange for endless partying.

    "Psychic spies from China

    Try to steal your minds elation"

    Picture a little girl sitting in front of a television. She is watching a show involving spies from China. On the show, they are uncovering secret plans from the US government or whatever, that part doesn't really matter. But what the show is really doing is not stealing the US's plans, but the mind of that little girl. For those of you who don't know how to use a dictionary, "elation" means great happiness. While that little girl is watching that television program, she believes that she is happy because it is relaxing and she knows that tomorrow at school, everyone will be talking about it, and she will be able to chime in, making her more popular and thus happier. But this is not the real feeling that we get from television. Really, our brains are rotting, and more importantly, we are letting somebody elses thoughts get into our brains. In this case, it is the producers, writers, directors, and editors thoughts creeping into this little girls brain in the form of the actors portraying the part of Chinese spies.

    "Little girls from Sweden

    Dream of silver screen quotations"
    This is just explaining the above scene that I have already depicted for you. All that this little girl can think of is these words that these spies are saying. First of all, that only impounds the message the the director and so forth are trying to send to her even more in her head. But also, she is slowly learning that this is the ideal. Whoever the actor is has a dream job. He says a few lines in a recording studio and then goes out and parties for six days. This is a slow learning process and not something that happens all at once.

    "And if you want these kind of dreams

    It's Californication"
    This is just the Chillies introduction to the rest of the song. Chilling. Creepy.

    "It's the edge of the world

    And all of western civilization"
    This is referring to the geographical location of Hollywood itself. How much more western than Hollywood can you get? Also, it is the height of our western ideals. Ever since socrates spoke out and Julius Caesar took over a nation, our European ancestors and ourselves have always valued self advancement. We are out there living our lives mostly for the sake of being noticed by others. I have a shiny car and a huge house-this is just our symbolic way of saying to the world LOOK AT ME! Nowhere on the planet is this more prevalent than Hollywood. It almost seems as if the Paris Hiltons and Brittany Spearses of the world are as stupid as they are on purpose for the sake of getting more attention. It is saddening but true

    "The sun may rise in the East

    At least it settles in the final location"
    This refers to two things. First of all, as mentioned above, western civilization as we know it began in ancient Greece. To most of us, that is far away in the EAST. Now that we have all moved west, the "final location" for western civilization is Hollywood. The other thing that this refers to is Hollywood sunsets. Think of old westerns where the cowboy rides off into the sunset. That sunset is painted. The sun in that painting will never rise nor set anymore. It is in its final location.

    "It's understood that Hollywood

    sells Californication"
    Our first direct reference to Hollywood

    "Pay your surgeon very well

    To break the spell of aging"
    One way to get yourself notices is to look fantastic. But we are mortal humans, so we age, and as we do, we look less and less fantastic. So what do rich celebrities do? Plastic surgery. Unfortunately, it is not just celebrities participating in this unfortunated tradition of masking your humanity. Typical housewives will blow their lifes savings on plastic surgery. It is unfortunate

    "Celebrity skin is this your chin

    Or is that war your waging"
    First of all, "chin" does not refer to the bottom of your face. It is talking about China, once again, and your deep, personal desires. Secondly, this refers to the inner battle in, say, a typical housewife, who does not particularly want to cave to the social pressures of looking young and beatiful all of her life. I am certain that she would be just as happy to have a loving husband and children. But consider her thought process: if I look worse, my husband might cheat on me, my children will be embarrassed to be with me in public, etc. So she does cave and gets her plastic surgery.

    I am out of time for today. Maybe sometime in the near future I can continue to educate you all on the true meanings of this song.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Apr 23rd 2009 !⃝

    Oh my. This song is about a lot of things but centers around the influence of Hollywood on the world.

    Psychic spies from China-Try to steal your mind's elation
    (The entire world wants the influence and power Cali has)
    Little girls from Sweden-Dream of silver screen quotations
    (Everyone wants to be a Star)
    And if you want these kind of dreams-It's Californication
    (To have that power and own that dream, You have to adapt to Cali's lifestyle)

    It's the edge of the world-And all of western civilization
    (Farthest Location West... Except HI but who cares about HI)
    The sun may rise in the East-At least it settles in the finer location
    (Burn on New York)
    It's understood that Hollywood-sells Californication
    (Hollywood sells a lifestyle)

    Pay your surgeon very well-To break the spell of aging
    (Plastic Surgery)
    Celebrity skin is this your chin-Or is that war your waging
    (Metaphor for the need of perfection)

    First born unicorn
    (A fantasy, A Dream)
    Hard core soft porn
    (A secondary Career)

    Marry me girl be my fairy to the world
    (Marrying a girl to make your dreams come true)
    Be my very own constellation
    (being a star- if only just to myself)
    A teenage bride with a baby inside-Getting high on information
    (Innocence corrupted, looking for answers)
    And buy me a star on the boulevard
    (Walk Of Fame)

    Space may be the final frontier
    But it's made in a Hollywood basement
    (Anything can come true with a little Hollywood Magic)
    Cobain can you hear the spheresthe world)
    (Cobain -From Nirvana- Being praised by
    Singing songs off station to station
    And Alderon's not far away
    (Princess Leia's home planet)

    Born and raised by those who praise
    (taught to follow pop culture blindly)
    Control of population everybody's been there
    I don't mean on vacation

    Destruction leads to a very rough road
    But it also breeds creation
    And earthquakes are to a girl's guitar
    They're just another good vibration
    (Saying that Earthquakes to Cali-Natives are not big deal-- Good Vibration is a metaphor for masturbation saying she does what ever makes her feel good without thinking what it does to others)
    And tidal waves couldn't save the world
    From Californication

    Pay your surgeon very well
    To break the spell of aging
    Sicker than the rest
    There is no test
    But this is what you're craving
    (wanting to be just like the people you love to hate)


    #3 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    May 8th 2006 !⃝

    WHAAT??!! Have any of you actually listened to the song?
    "Californication" is talking about the way hollywood influences the world negatively. The part, "Little girls from Sweden dream of silver screen quotations." refers to a loss of innocence, hence the ploy on "Fornication" The part just before the chorus, "first born unicorn/hardcore soft Porn." also backs this up, as does "Teenage bride with a baby inside." the song talks of "Californication" as a sort of infection. Awesome song, by the way, definitly a classic.

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 7th 2021 !⃝

    This song sure has a lot of themes to unpack but don't miss the must subtle one. Every Chili Peppers song is on one level about the same thing -SHM or simple harmonic motion. This motif runs throughout their music and in a sense IS music itself. Every physics major in the world at some point in their career takes a course called something like "Vibrations and waves" because cyclical sinusoidal motion is the underlying principle behind almost everything in the universe. Sun may rise in the East...spheres singing songs ( Pythagoras theory of humming bodies)... earthquakes are to a girl's guitar, they're just another good vibration...tidal waves.

  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 7th 2021 !⃝

    It's about the nice appeal of Hollywood, and it's sickening influence. And under that layer, hidden from the public eye, is the evil that controls it all. Mason's, illuminati, etc.

  6. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Apr 11th 2021 !⃝

    This song is about Dorothy Stratton. Murdered @ 20yo…
    a Diamond Star.
    Shes the subject of this song. Research it.
    ]/;- }>

  7. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Nov 30th 2020 !⃝

    OMG WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!! I never knew back then what this was about but seriously, with everything that is going on currently in the world SURELY everyone knows what this song is about. If you don't then.... wow you are in for a BIG surprise. NOt a good one either. Sorry.

  8. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 14th 2019 !⃝

    Its basically all that Hollywood is composed of:
    Fake people, Fake tits, Fake people, Sex, and just rock and roll... Its what we buy into every single day and what we dream of....
    Its obviously not a whole but a part of a whole and its not something that just appeared but was created by the people who live and consume into this fakeness.

  9. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 2nd 2019 !⃝

    The song is referencing the luciferian stranglehold of new age thinking that infests California and fornication is exactly that the flirting with the prospect of losing yourself and selling your soul to get a head very for telling song as they new the agenda was to push new age beliefs worldwide witnessing this I believe they decided to send us a warning/sign that Hollywood and fame and fortune are not worth listening sing who you are over

  10. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 16th 2018 !⃝

    OP, lose your heir of superiority when explaining your half-brained preconceptions;I literally quit reading your garbage translation to tell you that I think you suck. That being said, Californication refers to a lot, from the child sex trafficking and chomos running rampant in Hollywood, to the lack of moral fiber being pushed through the tv screen. I believe this songs'lyrics bear more meaning than meets even the artists themselves' eyes, all while being catchy af. I could be wrong, but at least I wasn't a cock about stating my opinion like op.

  11. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Aug 16th 2017 !⃝

    Californication is a prophetic song, it is the life of the next kurt cobain....

  12. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 4th 2016 !⃝

    Its about California

  13. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Aug 4th 2012 !⃝

    Californication is about Hollywood.
    "Pay your surgeon very well to break the sign of aging...Celebrity Skin..."
    That is so clear. People always just want to look appealing in Hollywood, because Hollywood is fake, and people there are fake.
    "Or is it WAR your waging"
    The money you spend on looking like a retard goes to the wars that united states is involved in.
    "Born and raised by those who praise control of population"
    that means so much to me. I don't to sound stupid, but "control of population" has to do with free masons and illuminati. I have no idea what Anthony has to do with that, i don't think he does, but i think he is hinting that the illumnatis and free masons are mostly in hollywood. maybe. i could be completely off.
    "psychic spies from china..."
    if you read Scar tissue, Anthonys autobio, he says he was walking down the street and some old crazy lady just was screaming that. haha.

  14. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 17th 2012 !⃝

    It is a play on words of california and fornication, california is penetrating the world with news and gossip. It focuses on the fact that the world is a global village, we all dream of fame and going to california in which we associate with being the dream place, " and if you want these kinds of dreams its californication".
    It refers to lyrics from various songs in which originated in california, as well as reference to the beach boys who came to fame in california.
    I am using this as a related text for year 12 english topic :Global village. It effectivley illustrates and conveys the world that is influenced by media and technology, which is symbolised by the town of california.

  15. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Apr 18th 2012 !⃝

    the music video look like a cool video games

  16. Srfrgrl
    click a star to vote
    Apr 11th 2012 !⃝

    I just saw them in concert. The background video when they were performing this song were bottles of different pills. On the bottles were words like "depression", "happiness", etc. - the kinds of things Hollywood takes pills for.

  17. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Feb 14th 2012 !⃝

    RCP are from LA. Hollywood/LA corrupts. Corrupts all that go there to try to make it.
    It could be Californiruption, but that doesn't come off the tongue so well.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  18. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 31st 2012 !⃝

    Im very old and was 16 when i went to see Maiden at the brtisol colston hall in 83 on this tour. They wasnt very good…… They were F***ING amazing !!!

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
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