Psychic spies from China try to steal your mind's elation
And little girls from Sweden dream of silver screen quotation
And if you want these kind of dreams it's Californication

It's the edge of the world and all of Western civilization
The sun may rise in the East at least it's settled in a final location
It's understood that Hollywood sells Californication

Pay your surgeon very well to break the spell of aging
Celebrity skin, is this your chin, or is that war you're waging?

First born unicorn
Hardcore soft porn
Dream of Californication
Dream of Californication
Dream of Californication
Dream of Californication

Marry me, girl, be my fairy to the world, be my very own constellation
A teenage bride with a baby inside getting high on information
And buy me a star on the boulevard, it's Californication

Space may be the final frontier but it's made in a Hollywood basement
And Cobain can you hear the spheres singing songs off Station To Station?
And Alderaan's not far away, it's Californication

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

First born unicorn
Hardcore soft porn
Dream of Californication
Dream of Californication
Dream of Californication
Dream of Californication

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

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?

First born unicorn
Hardcore soft porn
Dream of Californication
Dream of Californication
Dream of Californication
Dream of Californication

Lyrics submitted by The Marine, edited by Paymaan, dilkas, somedude41, gothic1027, roryokane

Californication Lyrics as written by John Anthony Frusciante Michael Peter Balzary


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Californication song meanings
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  • +30
    General CommentI didn't write this, but a kid on he RHCP message board did, and it describes the entire song, he did a lot of research and thinking, and it's awesome, ENJOY


    Californication by Jacob Pointon

    Californication meaning…

    Now for years, everyone has always questioned the meaning behind 3 ballads off the Californication album
    : Scar Tissue, Otherside, and Californication. Now my debate is one the meaning behind all three songs, since they are the most popular of fans wanting to know the meaning of. It is rather extensive, so I broke the debate in 3 different parts, one for each song. This one is Californication.

    While there is some debate as to whether or not the meaning of Californication lies in the generalizations made about the crazy society evolving out on the west coast of the USA, or a more personal accounting of a pre-marital relationship as ranted about for a verse, I am inclined to believe the former. Californication is a biting social criticism of the culture of excess we have. But the song isn't just about how things are in California. In itself, the descriptions in the song hold California up as a symbol itself for wider problems and issues we have. I found an interview from MTV, and Flea pretty much tells you what it’s about. Who better then the writers themselves to give you the meaning:

    It's not a sexual reference. "Californication" is really just the act of the world being affected and saturated by the art and the culture being born and raised in California. Traveling around the world, no matter how far I go, I see the affect that California has on the world. It's about that good and bad, beautiful and ugly.

    So let's hop to it. I can't promise I'll touch anything, or even get it "right," but it should be fun to try.

    First off we have:
    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 kinds of dreams
    It’s Californication

    Here we already have a contrast between internal and external. The first half of the verse "Psychic Spies..." though "elation" represent a general paranoia people have of something beyond their control attempting to mess with their lives. The crackpot theories generally can be found in California.

    The rest of the verse, "Little girls from Sweden...” is how external people see something part of California is famous for (movie making) and how they dream of being able to enter into this dream world, totally naive and ignorant of the problems those within deal with.

    Last two lines let you know. Right off the bat, he's told you what Californication is.

    It’s the edge of the world
    And all of western civilization
    The sun may rise in the East
    At least it settles in the final location
    It’s understood that Hollywood
    sells Californication

    Here he's at first talking about how California is the "edge of the world in all of western civilization." Whether or not you find any deeper meaning in or not, it's a powerful enough line. Perhaps, when you link the term "civilization" with a description of the sun rising and setting, you get a metaphor saying that this is where the sun will set; this is the decline of civilization. This theme is again referenced later in the song.

    He ends the verse with the phrase, "It’s understood that Hollywood sells Californication" which is simple and obvious enough. Californication as defined above is a paradox between innocent desire for fame and recognition with a culture of irrational fears. This is what Hollywood sells. Everything out of that place will either be entirely self promoting and wrapped in a gaudy brilliance, or will play off your fears in some most unusual ways.

    Pay your surgeon very well
    To break the spell of aging
    Celebrity skin is this your chin?
    Or is that war your waging

    Simple enough. Here it's talking about how some people are consumed in a war against age, devoting so much of their time, energy, and life into combating it as to nullify any victory they have. Ultimate futility revealed in the form of a question at the end.

    First born unicorn
    Hard core soft porn
    Dream of Californication
    Dream of Californication

    First born Unicorn is a nice rhyming phrase that holds a major symbol in it. What that symbol is can be confusing, depending on what your take for the general mythological meaning of a Unicorn is. Some say strength and independence, which would then mean perhaps a glimmer of hope in the song talking about defiance to the force of Californication. Others say a fearful, dreadfully powerful creature. It would then be talking about Californication itself, being a firstborn unicorn, our society's first and most dreadful force to effect change upon our world. Also in mythology, the Unicorn represents virginity, and you’re first born a virgin, and because of hardcore and soft porn, you get ideas of sex, have sex, and lose it.

    Phrase Hard Core Soft Porn is obviously a contradictory, and I would guess is meant as a jab for the other major marketing technique/aspect of Californication... They sell as much sex as possible, promote it as much as possible, but are never willing to outright go all the way with it, still attempting to uphold that innocent polished image.

    Marry me girl be my fairy to the world
    Be my very own constellation
    A teenage bride with a baby inside
    Getting high on information
    And buy me a star on the boulevard
    It’s Californication

    Because he is addressing directly someone in this verse, many people take this as evidence that the song is about a single person who he had a relationship with, perhaps a person who represented this whole culture. I'm still shaky on the grounds, but I think he's just addressing another archetype here, as symbol of the TYPE of person who gets caught up on the whole society, but not an actual person. And seeing how constellations can also determine your fate, he could be saying to this girl to marry him, be the one to take him around the world, and be the one to be his fate. And have you noticed that when young teenage girls get pregnant, they finally wake up and realize they need to get their act and life together. So they start working harder in school, keeping their face in the books, “getting high on information”, so they can make a better living form them and their future family. And who doesn’t want or get a star on the Hollywood Boulevard? A few non Hollywood actors have done so.

    Space may be the final frontier
    But it’s made in a Hollywood basement
    Cobain can you hear the spheres
    Singing songs off station to station
    And Alderon’s not far away
    It’s Californication

    In this verse he does three things.
    1) He points out the fakeness of our attempts to explore "the final frontier" as we instead do it in a studio as opposed to spending that money to actually do any real exploration. It's also a Star Trek reference, of course, with that phrase. He referenced Hollywood again. He does it one more time in this verse, proving how he is a true geek at heart.
    2) a) He directly addresses Cobain, more likely than not Kurt Cobain, the man who kicked off a trend that was consumed, distorted, and then discarded by the force of Californication. He asks if he sees what has happened.
    b) Foo Fighters lead singer is the former drummer of Cobain’s Nirvana…..Foo Fighters, not the band, but real foo fighters fly in what looks like alien space crafts; the flying saucer type kind that in early days were called “spheres”……Station to Station is an album by David Bowie, and on that album you’ll find the track “The Man Who Sold The World”. During one of Nirvana’s final performances on MTV Unplugged, they performed that same song. After Cobain’s death and Dave Grohl started the Foo Fighters, they also played “The Man Who Sold The World” at their concerts in memory of Curt Cobain, which then got a lot of air play on the radio, I mean all the time when it first came out. So, do you kind of see the connection? He’s telling Kurt if he can hear how Dave Grohl and his band is still carrying the torch, and how they miss him and still live on his name.
    3) And finally, he says, "And Alderon's not far away, It's Californication." This line is actually a Star Wars reference as is apparent in more knowledgeable circles. Sure the spelling is different, but maybe Anthony thought he spelled it right, but I do believe this is what he’s talking about….Planet Alderaan was the pristine home of Princess Leia, the first planet destroyed by the Death Star in the first Star Wars film. This is a major symbol because he is pretty much saying "our perfect world will be destroyed soon, it's Californication" by saying that Alderaan is no far away. Again he's touching upon the destructive nature of this force, a theme I poked earlier on.

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

    Everybody's been to this state of control, of being swept up by the force of Californication. As opposed to having gone to California 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
    And tidal waves couldn’t save the world
    From Californication

    Here he's taking the destructive foreshadowing from before, and saying "Yeah, but if you look at it in a certain way, it can be used as a creative energy. You cannot wipe out this force, even if California was wiped off the map." So then, find a way to transform the destructive earthquake of this force into a good vibration. (Also, there's a touch of irony in talking about earthquakes, seeing how California is rocked by them pretty constantly.) The earthquake to a guitar, as much damage as it may cause, to a guitar, is only another vibration... vibration on a guitat makes music. Creation from destruction. Californication is destructive, as he's shown, but again the hope glimmers through; it can be creative.

    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

    He returns to the waste of energy in the battle against the age, saying that perhaps there is something sick about it. The last line would be by far too ambiguous for me to really throw my opinion on. Are you craving Californication, or are you craving to escape it? We strive to be good people but we always fall back to the ways of evil. We come to the point that that is what we're craving.
    jware39on February 05, 2005   Link
  • +12
    General CommentI think it is pretty obvious.

    The song is about everything that is wrong with hollywood.
    Everything is fake, everyone is made by plastic surgery.
    And Hollywood is changing the ideals of little girls from "unicorns" to "hardcore softporn"

    The song is also sceptical about hollywood being so nationalistic about the USA.

    Sorry for bad english.
    Jonah95on September 07, 2012   Link
  • +8
    General Commentif you dont know what the lyrics mean you dont deservve to know how to play the song on ur guitar
    fortison April 12, 2002   Link
  • +5
    General CommentThis song is amongst the most well written songs I have ever come across. It combines the fantasy dreams that are associated with California to our internal desires and dreams.

    Psychic spies of china try to steal your minds elation
    (products made in China that create a synthetic and temporary high)
    little girls from sweden dream of silver screen flotation
    (referring to the pornography business in hollywood, and swedish pornstars)
    If you have these kind of dreams its californication

    The end of the world and all of western civilization
    (looking on a map, california is the most western placed state and place)
    The sun may rise in the east, but it settles in the final location (the west)
    if you want these kind of dreams its californication

    Pay your surgeon very well to break the spell of aging
    (plastic surgery reference to stay young)
    Celelbrity win is this your win or is this war your waging
    (how much are you willing to put on the line)
    First born unicorn (you can be unique)
    Hardcore softcore porn (the reality)

    More of the references include, the conspiracy of the first moon landing being staged in a basement, being slaves to the concept of self-fulfillment and more. A great reference for anyone who is looking for more should read Anthony Keidis's book "Scar Tissue"

    Peace and Love!
    doronee11on June 21, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General Commentwhats not to understand about the lyrics? they make sense... californication is the 'deteriation of society' so to speak... plastic surgery, teen pregnancy... and so on....
    gizelle369on March 26, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Comment.
    beefchipon December 12, 2001   Link
  • +3
    General CommentTo clarify, Alderaan is the name of a planet in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Remember the one that got blown up by the Death Star? I think it was where Leia was brought up. And yes, I agree with everyone else on the meaning ofthe song, the Peppers are telling everyone what hollywood is really like, and that despite the expensive special effects, ie.plastic surgery and Space: The Final Frontier, all the fascinating beauty is just cosmetic, covering up the greed, vanity, drug lust and hunger for power.
    Lemon May 17, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentNirvana toured with RHCP in their early years, and i think that Kiedis mentions Kurt Cobain and "songs off station to station" to represent how any meaning or emotion or passion or relevence in Nirvana's songs has been bastardized by the way they've kind of been commercialised against their will.
    Just a thought...
    GodHatesACowardon May 29, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Commentwhile I'm reading this lyric, there are some commercials like "universal Hollywood studio" and "laser surgery institution" on page !!! maybe "your comments cant save songmeanings from Californication"
    Paymaanon March 28, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think that this song is telling the effects that california has on people "Little girls from Sweden
    Dream of silver screen quotations" The girls aren't whores or prosts they are little girls that dream of being on the big screen, and what people will do to make as far as they can in california. It also says in the song "Destruction leads to a very rough road
    But it also breeds creation" that it may be bad but good things come out of california

    i aslo belives that hes singing that california is a good place to be "The sun may rise in the east
    At least it settles in a final location" saying that the world ends in california wich has to mean that california is a good place to be, im no analysis but thats how i interpet it and i can be wrong and prob are but thats what its tellin me
    crazyzbacon January 06, 2006   Link

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