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Red Hot Chili Peppers - By the Way

Best Melodic Rock Album

The following was originally published in our Buzz or Hype section. 

review by antiGUY
If you were to transport a RHCP fan circa 1985 or 86 to today and play this new CD for them, they wouldn’t even recognize it as a Chili Peppers CD. Yes the days of the slap-bass happy punky funk rockers are long gone and have been replaced with a much more melodic, mainstream driven pop rock band. Whether that is a good or band thing depends on your taste in music and your interpretation of the age-old question, “did they evolve or sell out?” 

The transformation that began with the more melodic moments of “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” that became more pronounced on “Californication” have undergone the full chrysalis with “By The Way”.  The Chili Peppers of old are gone and have been replaced with a more commercially palatable band. 

There is no denying that this is an exception album filled with well-crafted and melodic songs. If this were the band’s debut album, you would hear the hype going into overdrive about how these guys are the next big thing. The only problem here is, this isn’t their debut but a new direction for a well-established band. Although fan reaction has been mostly positive there have been some detractors that find it hard to swallow the more mainstream approach that RHCP took with this album. I find myself somewhere in the middle. While I love the music presented here, still in the back of my mind I can’t help but compare to the band’s early work when they were an underground sensation and the producers of MTV wouldn’t touch them with a ten-foot poll. Then again, evolution is the name of the game for any band that wants to have a long-term career. If they stuck to their original formula is would become rather redundant after a few albums, so RHCP has taken the smart path and evolved musically into a more mainstream band. 

It’s nothing new to rock, hell, listen to The Beatles first couple of records and then Abbey Road and The White album and it’s hard to believe the same band produced the music. While I wouldn’t go as far as to compare RHCP to the Beatles, the drastic change from the beginning to where they are now is similar. Then again I’m still a sucker for the songs on RHCP’s debut and “Freaky Styley” so I have a hard time digesting this CD as a RHCP album because for all intents and purposes this is a far different band than the one that produced those early albums. In the end I’m left with a dilemma of trying to break away from my preconceived notions of who the Red Hot Chili Peppers are and the fact that this really is an incredible album.  Older fans might face the same problem but newer fans should welcome “By the Way” with open arms and wallets. Who knows maybe in time I will be able to fully accept the transformation that has overcome this band? In the mean time, I’ll have a lot of hours of enjoyment listing to this disc trying to get to that place of acceptance. 

CD Info 

Red Hot Chili Peppers - By the Way
Label: Warner Bros.
By The Way 
Universally Speaking 
This Is The Place 
Don't Forget Me 
The Zephyr Song 
Can't Stop 
I Could Die For You 
Throw Away Your Television 
On Mercury 
Minor Thing 
Warm Tape 
Venice Queen
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Posted by JJ:
Great Album.Different than the previous..but hey..change is good, no? I think going a little mainstream is good.It allows the band to reach a larger # of people. Still, you watch these boys live and they'll F*ckin blow your socks off!

Posted by Az:


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