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
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.
Hot Chili Peppers - By the Way
Tracks: By The Way
This Is The Place
Don't Forget Me
The Zephyr Song
I Could Die For You
Throw Away Your Television
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!