Red Hot Chili Peppers: By The Way (Vinyl 2xLP)

Red Hot Chili Peppers: By The Way (Vinyl 2xLP)

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The problem Anthony Kiedis and his supremely dysfunctional musical family faced when beginning work on their eighth album, By The Way, wasn't so much how to top (or even compare) to the critical and commercial euphoria of 1999's superb Californication, but more how to avoid the comedown that followed their other highpoint -- Blood Sugar Sex Magik-- where One Hot Minute turned into several long years that nearly finished them.

They decided, it seems, to just shut their eyes, press pedal to metal and continue as before. It's worked magnificently--no small thanks to the canny production of Rick Rubin again and the cohesive gelling Frusciante returning to what has now emerged as a tight, focused unit (despite the album being, as ever, about five songs too long - "Midnight" and "Minor Thing" for instance). Minor quibbles though, for when the Chili Peppers are average, they still tower over most other bands.

"By The Way", by far not the best cut here (those would be the quite wonderful "Tear" and the widescreen "Don't Forget Me"), picks up where Californication left off, but is not representative of an album that frequently revisits the sunshine harmonies of "Road Trippin'" and desolate landscape of "Scar Tissue". Endlessly surprising and hugely engaging, the Chili Peppers have opened their eyes and found themselves with a another great record on their hands, solidifying both themselves as a group and their position as one of the world's best rock bands.

2020 repress.

  1. By The Way
  2. Universally Speaking
  3. This Is The Place
  4. Dosed
  5. Don't Forget Me
  6. The Zephyr Song
  7. Can't Stop
  8. I Could Die For You
  9. Midnight
  10. Throw Away Your Television
  11. Cabron
  12. Tear
  13. On Mercury
  14. Minor Thing
  15. Warm Tape
  16. Venice Queen

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