Red Hot Chili Peppers are a great rock and roll band. Once legendary guitarist John Frusciante rejoined their ranks for the Californication album, they began delivering consistent albums once again. This album arrived on the music scene in 2002.
Is it a solid listen though? Let’s find out.
We kick off with the title track By The Way. It starts with a minor-key melody and Anthony Kiedis’s great vocals. Then – BANG! It goes in a more uptempo melody that is just brilliant. The guitars and drums really create the pace here. It’s by far one of the great songs by the group. It’s almost Nirvana-ish in feel, going between the two sections of the song with some awesome differences. A must listen. The structure of this song and the melodies are fantastic.
Next is Universally Speaking. It’s a mid-tempo song that sounds nice and laidback. The singing here is pretty good and drives this piece along. These guys excel at creating great music, no doubt about it here. It sounds a little like Led Zeppelin somehow, but is RHCP material for sure. It has a nice melody in the background that sounds like a string section.
This Is The Place comes next. It sounds semi-psychedelic in a Red Hot Chili Peppers way. It refers to drug use and has some great bass work by Flea. It slows down into an acoustic and mellotron sounding bridge. Even though this song is not a single, it goes very well here. Good song, with psychedelic and socially aware lyrics.
Dosed is a semi-tranquil song. It, once again, may refer to drug use. It’s a much slower and more melodic piece devoted to a lover. Great stuff, this is what rock and roll is about. The chorus is almost a tearjerker, the melody here is really beautiful. A soothing and laidback piece. Good to hear how consistent this album is, worth every minute of listening. “All I ever wanted was your life,” sings Anthony Kiedis in the chorus, a touching statement. The guitar solo is good too.
The next track Don’t Forget Me delivers a great bass riff before going into a serious song. There is some semi-spacey guitar playing here, it sounds out of this world. It’s interesting to listen for more drug talk. If you feel down about things, try this song, you won’t regret it. Magical. It fades out the different elements of the song quietly.
The hit single The Zephyr Song was big for the RHCP. No surprises there, it’s a psychedelic and wonderful listen which rivals anything that The Beatles or Pink Floyd ever did. Poppy, trippy and yes, near perfect. Great song, with some great melodies to boot. It’s a must-listen from this album.
Can’t Stop is just as good. With hammer-ons and pounding drums to start with before going into a fantastic guitar riff, the band sound top-notch musically here. The Red Hot Chili Peppers sound like that they have been working hard on this album. Once again, you should hear this song, it’s melodic and wonderful. One of their best ever songs. It breaks down into a semi-Reggae section in the middle of it, which sounds pretty cool. Funktastic.
I Could Die For You is a sad sounding piece, seemingly devoted to a lover. It is a great slower and emotional piece. The band here sounding like a great unit of the four men that they were, at least at this point. It is a gentle sentiment and a nice song to listen to. Even for a lesser track, this is very good.
The next song Midnight begins with a gorgeous string section, before going back to regular Red Hot Chili Peppers territory. It’s another great song, with immaculate production by Rick Rubin. Obviously, this album is ear candy, and all the songs are very consistent as well. An unusual title for this song’s lyrics though. The string section returns towards the end of the song.
Up next is Throw Away Your Television. With a bass intro and pounding drums, it is a sentiment that makes more sense today than it did back in 2002. Most people prefer surfing Facebook for news than relying on a TV now, complete with personalised news experiences. This song should remind Millenials about this fact, so it predicts the future of home living. It’s a decent song too. The wah-wah guitar solo is interesting as well.
Cabron has some awesome acoustic guitar melodies and strumming to push this track along in a great musical sense. It sounds like RHCP doing a natural folk tune. Interesting, and once again, a must-listen. The pace here is uptempo and the song sounds interesting. It sounds borderline romantic too, which is a bonus for listening to this song.
Tear begins with electric piano and drums. It’s not at all depressing, just reflective. It has a vast amount of different lyrics, which adds to the quality of the song. It sounds rather a lot like a Blur song in its melody but is still excellent and highly original. The guitar solo from John Frusciante is gentle sounding, perfectly fitting in with the rest of the song. The trumpet horn here is great, too.
The next song is Mercury, which sounds a bit whacky, with a semi-Reggae feel. It’s still pretty good to hear, the harmonies in the chorus are really good. Sounds powerful, an interesting and quirky song to hear from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It’s about space travel, something which is rarely covered by musicians these days, sadly.
We arrive next to Minor Thing. It’s more great music with a nicely strummed Fender guitar sound from guitarist John Frusciante. Pretty cool stuff, this album is underrated and super consistent. The music even on the non-single tracks is worth hearing. An excellent structure is on all of the songs, it’s not jam band music here. It is well thought out music. More string section sounds are here at the end.
Warrm Tape starts with tom-tom drums and harmonies, before going into another good song. This one seems more like a sonic based experiment, but hey, it’s good and enjoyable to listen to. A good song, maybe not as good as the others, but still solidly consistent.
Venice Queen begins with some fingerpicked electric guitar and some unusual melodies, before going into a good and lengthy psychedelic jam. The whole band sounds wonderfully consistent here, it is a great mixture of musicianship and awesomeness for the listener. It has multiple sections here, so keep an ear out for the changes here. They are best listened to, so give this song a listen. It’s captivating listening.
The first bonus song is Runaway. It’s short but has more melancholy here than you’d expect. It talks about this close-to-the-bone subject lyrically, whilst the music goes on in a slow but concise fashion. It explores the human mind, whilst being a good listen. John Frusciante sounds like David Gilmour in the guitar solo here, which is interesting.
The last bonus song, Bicycle Song is a good listen, and it’s not a cover of the Queen song, either. It is a catchy piece that finishes off this album very nicely. Worth hearing.
This album is definitely worth hearing. It is often overlooked by the earlier Red Hot Chili Peppers songs and albums. Still, this is a sonic journey which is a necessary listen, and a worthy addition to your collection of music.