Elizabeth Stolfi
staff writer
October 07, 2002
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Rock Music Reviews
Red Hot Chili Peppers
By The Way

It's hard for us mere mortals to fully understand the musical wonder that is the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Whether it's the insanely catchy melodies courtesy of Anthony Kiedis or the flow of Flea's bass lines, there's something about this band that seems to be unmatched by any other; and there's something about "By The Way" that seems almost supernatural.

If there's one band that just seems to outdo themselves every time, it's this one. Every track has a soul of it's own. Lyrically, Kiedas has never been so melodic and so personal in a romantic sort of way. "Come again and tell me where you want to go/what it means for me to be with you alone," sings Keidis on "I Could Die For You" atop blasts of guitar and bass that seem to bring out the sincerity in his voice.

From the overlapping of beautiful guitars on "Dosed", the album highlight, or the horns in "On Mercury", By The Way is simply musically blessed. Californication, their most successful album, and up until now their best, was a step above anything they had ever tried. Now with "By The Way," they have taken it to an even higher level, and once again outdone themselves.

The title track, the album's first single, is only a small taste of what was accomplished on this album. Perhaps the most simply written of the songs, it's harmonies and soft guitars is surpassed only by the originality (however, typical Kiedis styling) of the delivery in the verses; "Kiss that Dyke/I know you want to hold one/Not on strike/But I'm about to bowl one." Throw in a chant and you've got a one of a kind rock ballad.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers seem to exist in a world where very few other artists do. But what makes a perfect album? The simplicity in the melodic guitar solos? The contribution of arguably the greatest bass player of all time? Harmonies that sneak up on you and send shivers down your spine? Maybe there's something even indescribable about an album like "By The Way" that can only be understood after listening.

Release date: July 9, 2002
Label: Warner Bros / Wea
Rating: 8.0 / 10

[RMR]