The hook is irresistible and the message, about 'material excess,' is delivered simply and straightforwardly." Steve Huey of Allmusic felt the song was enhanced by Kiedis' lyrics, which were "a free-associative mixture of positive vibes, tributes to musical heroes, and free love, and their literal meaning was often as difficult to understand as Kiedis' nasal, staccato enunciation.
But that distinctive vocal style helped make the most comprehensible lines even catchier and more memorable, greatly enhancing the song's appeal." He continued by praising the track's music, "John Frusciante's guitar should not be underappreciated either; his noisy, scratchy funk-rock work add[s] depth and texture to the powerhouse rhythm section of Flea and Chad Smith." Since the song's release, it has become a notable factor in the Red Hot Chili Peppers' success and has won a variety of accolades.
Kiedis wanted the video to be visually distinct and readily identifiable but disliked much of the material Warner Bros.
sent for him to choose from: "I started viewing reels and reels and reels of video directors but nothing looked good to me.
According to Kiedis, "That was the beginning of the infusion of those songs into mass consciousness." Critical reception to the song, much like the album, was highly positive.
Jeff Vice of Deseret News noted "[this] dynamic first single that pays homage to Bob Marley, may start a new musical trend with its brilliant Rasta-funk." Patrick Mac Donald of The Seattle Times commented that "[Blood Sugar Sex Magik] includes one of the best songs the Peppers have done—'Give It Away', the first single.
Vocalist Anthony Kiedis wrote the song's most prevalent lyrical refrain in response to an experience he shared with former girlfriend Nina Hagen regarding altruistic behavior and the value of selflessness. performances shortly thereafter, but when the side project disbanded Frusciante and Flea believed the track would be appropriate for the Chili Peppers' upcoming record.
During the chorus, Kiedis sings "Give it away, give it away, give it away now" repeatedly over a more rapid guitar riff before Frusciante provides, according to Steve Huey of Allmusic, a "sudden contrast to Kiedis' hyperactivity in the form of a languid solo pre-recorded and dubbed backwards over the rhythm track." The solo was recorded in one take because Frusciante had developed a preference towards speedy execution and a raw feeling; according to Flea, "We did very little fix-up stuff.
John's philosophy was that he would only play a solo twice.
He'd play it once, and if he didn't like it or we didn't like it, he'd play it again—completely different.
But if you have a full closet and someone sees something they like, if you give it to them, the world is a better place." The act was something that affected Kiedis significantly because he had never before experienced such an enlightening ideology on life.
Growing up in Los Angeles, he had always thought differently from Hagen.
"Give It Away" won a Grammy award at the 35th Ceremony in 1993 for the "Best Hard Rock Performance".