Song Analysis: Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ ‘Otherside’ Shatters Societal Norms On Sexual Preference Before Its Time

Brandon De Aguiar
December 10, 2018

'Otherside' is a song created by the rock band Red Hot Chilli Peppers in 1999 when they finally decided to stop singing about California for once. The song displays an overall cathartic tone with a very monotone Anthony Kiedis singing the lyrics. But what exactly is Kiedis saying in the song? What is the hidden message behind those words? Is there more to it than him just sounding like a whiny little bitch? Let’s take a look at the lyrics to find out what he’s really been saying for all these years.

“How long, how long will I slide?
Separate my side, I don't
I don't believe it's bad”

The song begins off by asking the question, how long will he slide? But exactly what is he sliding into? Your dms? Well if you read longer, he mentions the separation of sides and saying that he doesn't "believe it’s bad”. It’s clear that he’s trying to convince himself that his views on a particular situation aren't bad, right?

However, if you further look upon the lyrics, it starts to make a lot more sense.

“Stranger things could never change my mind
I gotta take it on the other side
Take it on the other side
Take it on, take it on”

The first line was a truly ahead of its time. Kiedis shamelessly promotes Netflix’s original show Stranger Things before the show was even conceived! Not to mention Netflix wasn’t even out by then. The man is clearly a genius in the art of promotional plugins. However, don’t let it distract you from the true meaning of the song. The next part is where all the puzzle pieces are put together. Kiedis finally reveals that he has “to take it on the other side." Now some pompous analyst might say that he’s talking about the injecting heroin in his other arm. However, it’s clear that he’s talking about anal sex. Why else would he have to separate his sides? He also continues to convince himself to “take it on."

Finally, the additional lyrics help close the case about the true meaning behind the song.

“She wants to know am I still a slut
I've got to take it on the other side
Scarlet starlet and she's in my bed
A candidate for a soul mate bled
Push the trigger and I pull the thread, I gotta take it on the other side”

Right here you can tell that Kiedis is conflicted over his sexual preference.  He has a girl in his bed but notices how he says that she’s a candidate as soul mate but hasn’t sealed the deal yet. Perhaps the girl already knows about his preference and slut shames him in order to manipulate him into being with her. He even suggests the act of “pushing the trigger” because he is living a lie and can’t live with himself. He then finally confesses that he has to “take it on the other side” by releasing the burden of holding in a lie for so long.

To conclude the song is indeed a masterpiece and way ahead of its era. It tackles social problems about being judged by society on sexual preference. Matched with its cathartic tone to give the audience an understanding of how the singer feels in his everyday life. Truly the Red Hot Chilli Peppers are pioneers and should be recognized for shattering the barrier on social norms. The only problem is that for some odd reason they have some sort of California fetish and Can’t Stop singing about it.

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