Sunday 11 Dec 2016

By the Way
Jane Doe

Since I bought their 2002 album "By The Way," the “Red Hot Chilli Peppers” have gone on to become one of my all-time favourite bands. Since then I have bought "Californication," "One Hot Minute," "Blood Sugar Sex Magik," "Mother's Milk" and the album this review is about, "Greatest Hits." At some point I plan on buying their entire back catalogue of albums, because to me they are so much more than just your typical rock band. Music is their lives and you can definitely tell on the songs they put out - the sheer funk, the brash and out-there vocals and the odd lyrics make them stand out from the crowd. They're also one of the biggest selling groups in history and fame doesn't seem to have affected them. Anthony Kiedis is pretty much a rock icon and deservedly so. He isn't the only talent on show though.

You have the fantastic Flea, John Frusciante and Chad Smith. These four men are all different in their ways and possess beautiful musical qualities. Flea says that their backgrounds are from four completely different corners of the globe, and when they come together and make this music, it just click and feels right. Now some fans might say that the Red Hot Chili Peppers messed up in releasing this greatest hits album in the fall of 2003, but I think it was a wise move to allow newcomers to their music to round up on the past decade. True, the album focuses mainly on material from albums, such as Californication and “BSSM,” but this is no bad thing.

The album opens with two really fantastic songs, both from the same album. The first is "Under the Bridge," and is definitely the song that made the “Red Hot Chilli Peppers” huge stars, allowing them to appeal to a mass worldwide audience. The second is "Give It Away," the funk-laden rocker that became a true anthem. We're brought up to the present, with two cuts from 1999; "Californication" is one of the band's greatest songs ever and has a stunning video to accompany it. The guitars and the vocals along with the lyrics click and they completely nail it. It’s a classic song. The second is "Scar Tissue" which is a much more laid-back, chilled out song. The guitar on this song is most memorable because it's just so beautiful. You really could listen to this song for many decades to come, and I'm sure I will be. "Soul to Squeeze" is another fantastic song, but I'm not sure which album it was taken from as it's not on any of the studio albums that I own by the group. The guitar is very evocative on this song and the chorus is very melancholy. Just relax and chill.

"Otherside" is a heartbreaking song taken from the “Californication” album and another highlight from their career. I wish "Get on Top" was on this album, even thought it wasn't released as a single because sometimes I feel that it's a song that everyone in the world should hear. It's just too good to pass by! "Suck My Kiss" is taken from the BSSM album and became a big funky classic. With its brash guitars and drums, along with Kiedis' suggestive lyrical content, it's a true anthem from the Chili camp. "By The Way" follows up and was the lead single from the 2002 album of the same name. The song was a massive hit all over the world, and rightly so. It saw the band mellowing a little bit, but with some rocking sections between the choruses. "Parallel Universe" is an almost sneaky song that gradually creeps in on you, like as if you're sleeping. The guitar is very fast-paced and it instantly became one of my favourites from the Californication album when I first heard it.

"Breaking The Girl" from the BSSM album is a very outrageous song with loud-vocal verses and a harmonised chorus that really stands out as a “Red Hot Chili Peppers” classic. "My Friends" is another really brilliant song and the only cut to feature here from the underrated 1995 album One Hot Minute. "Higher Ground" is taken from 1989's Mother's Milk and the only song here to feature so. It's an average song, and shows the band in early development stages. The promise and spark is there, but it would take following albums to tune their craft well enough. "Universally Speaking" from the By The Way album is the only song I feel shouldn't be on this album, because it's just too poppy. It's a good song, but "The Zephyr Song" or "Can't Stop" would have been more appropriate. "Road Trippin'" closed the Californication album in fine style with its ambiguous and ominous style and works well here, before the two new songs play.

Jane Doe writes from the American South East.

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