By the Way

By the Way

4.2 77
by Red Hot Chili Peppers

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No longer the simpleminded nudie-funksters of yore, the Chili Peppers have evolved into a band that, despite occasional forays into unreflective testosterone-rock, seem to have at long last grown up right. If By the Way, the Peppers' follow-up to the four-times-platinum Californication, charts a more mature artistic path,


No longer the simpleminded nudie-funksters of yore, the Chili Peppers have evolved into a band that, despite occasional forays into unreflective testosterone-rock, seem to have at long last grown up right. If By the Way, the Peppers' follow-up to the four-times-platinum Californication, charts a more mature artistic path, chalk up the bulk of it to the six-string wizardry of John Frusciante, by far the most creative of the many guitarists to have served time in Camp RHCP. Frusciante adds an agreeable sense of spacey psychedelia to tunes like "The Zephyr Song," on which his melodic playing makes up for Anthony Kiedis's palpably flat singing. The band's more visceral side is still in evidence here, most notably on the Motown-flavored "Universally Speaking" and the rough-riding rap-rock title track. But these songs come across as more loose-limbed and less carefully calculated than their counterparts on previous releases. Likewise, the Latin-tinged "Cabron" and the pure pop ethereality of "Tear" (the clearest evidence of the fractured relationship that's said to have affected Kiedis's writing) show a maturity that can't be hidden behind a tube sock.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Zac Johnson
The Red Hot Chili Peppers' eighth studio album finds the California foursome exploring the more melodic freeways of harmony and texture, contrasting the gritty, funky side streets of their early days. Luckily, with this more sophisticated sound, the Peppers have not sacrificed any of their trademark energy or passions for life, universal love, and (of course) lust. Although they recorded the spiky Abbey Road EP in 1988, this album actually sounds a lot closer to the Beatles' Abbey Road, with a little of Pet Sounds and elements of Phil Spector's lushest arrangements all distilled through the band's well-traveled funk-pop stylings. Harmony vocals and string arrangements have replaced some of the aggressive slap bass that the group was initially recognized for, but fans of both the gentle and the fierce Chili Peppers styles will embrace the title track and first single, "By the Way." In fact, this song on its own could almost be a brief history of everything the Red Hot Chili Peppers have recorded: fiery Hollywood funk, gentle harmonies, a little bit of singing about girls, a little bit of hanging out in the streets in the summertime, some rapid-fire raps from Anthony Kiedis, some aggro basslines from Flea -- the song plays like a three-and-a-half-minute audio version of Behind the Music. Overall, the album leans more toward the melodic end of their oeuvre, but they have grown into this kinder, gentler mode organically, progressively working toward this groove little by little, album by album. What once were snapshots of a spastic punk-funk lifestyle have grown into fully realized short stories of introspection and Californication. Though the pace of the album falters at times (particularly in the verses; the choruses are all pretty spectacular), it is refreshing to see that as the four Chili Peppers continue to grow older and more sure of themselves, their composition and performing skills are maturing along with them.
Rolling Stone - Tom Moon
A near-perfect balance of gutter grime and high-art aspiration.
Entertainment Weekly - David Browne
No longer the most dangerous kids on the block, the Chili Peppers have settled for a less provocative fate: professional craftsmen. (B)

Product Details

Release Date:
Warner Bros / Wea


  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

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Red Hot Chili Peppers   Primary Artist
Flea   Bass,Background Vocals
John Frusciante   Guitar,Background Vocals
Anthony Kiedis   Vocals
Chad Smith   Drums
Julian Schnabel   Conductor
Marc Mann   Conductor

Technical Credits

Flea   Composer
John Frusciante   Composer
Anthony Kiedis   Composer
Rick Rubin   Producer
Jim Scott   Engineer
Chad Smith   Composer
Julian Schnabel   Art Direction,Cover Art
Marc Mann   Orchestral Arrangements
Ryan Hewitt   Engineer
Ethan Mates   Engineer
Jason Wormer   Engineer
Dave Lee   Guitar Techician

Customer Reviews

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By the Way 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 77 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The RHCP have been my favorite band since 1989. I own every recording they ever did and many bootlegs. Apon hearing the first single ''By the way'', I wasn't too impressed. it slowly began to grow on me and i can accept it as a solid radio single. Since then i've heard: ''This is the Place'', ''Venice Queen'', ''Dosed'', ''Zephyr Song'', and ''Midnight'' Thses are the worst songs by far the band has ever made. They've totally mellowed! Flea's playing sounds so sedated. He's playing basslines a second year student could play. I can't remember the last time an album has been this disappointing. It's been 3 years since ''Californication.'' Who's gonna care in 2005 what they come up with? The song ''On Mercury'' is a weak attempt at a ska song. You won't believe how bad it is when you hear it. The two songs i did like were,''Can't Stop'', and ''Throw away your Television''. They are some what catchy songs, but very simple. Where's Flea? Where's the FUNK? The sole reason this band has stayed around is for their innovative sound. The hard driving funk and rap combo that knocks your socks off. They're sounding more like a cheap Incubus rip off, and they don't do it well. Anthony's all over the album singing in a high register that makes you cringe. Their age has finally caught up with them. If you don't believe me, buy the album on July 9th and you'll be writing a review just below mine saying. ''Throw away your STEREO.''
Guest More than 1 year ago
To keep things short, it's a good album. Not the Peppers best work, but definatly good. But, you have to listen to it a couple of times, it grows on you. I think after the succes of ''Californication'', the guys felt like doing something they haven't done before. So they got out their trumpets, harmonicas and organs and did ''By the way''. Don't judge the album by reading this or any other review, listen to it instead.
Guest More than 1 year ago
hmmm...well, i havent even heard it...i simply have to respond to this(first)reviewer...u dont even say if the music's good or not---u simply blow hard about how the music isnt---a band cant grow for u...they simply ''are'' or ''arent''...IS THE MUSIC GOOD?
Guest More than 1 year ago
i really disagree with you. i think the album is great. everyone is complaining about how bands 'mellowed' out. get over it. RHCP are always unique and even with this album they continue it.. i wasnt dissapointed at all. and flea is totally there!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If I had to summerize By The Way, I would say its a cross between the late Beatles and Led Zepplin, done Chili Peppers style. While their sound has toned down (way down) Anthony's incredible lyrics are still there, and even more beautiful than ever (try, Under the Bridge magnified in 16 songs). The tone is mellow, but it is all well played and well recieved. Allthough this is not there best work to date, it is still a must-have.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I agree somewhat with the previous poster, that this is not the old RHCP. The garage band days are long gone. On its own, By the Way is a great album. The production is remenicent of a George Martin album or the Beach Boys Pet Sounds album. Again, it ain't the old peppers, and that ain't all bad. Listen to the album a few times and it seems to get better and better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
RHCP have been my favourite band for about 10 years now and i could see this album being how it is before CALIFORNICATION. Their getting older and Kiedis's vocals are getting worn and flea's bass is getting less funkalicious.The song BY THE WAY is a great song and a solid single but i expected the album to follow suit. The songs Universely Speaking, Can't Stop and Throw Away Your Television are more expected from the Peppers than the other 8 or so tracks on the album. The band has gotten mellower and have past that stage of singing about sex and drugs in wild way. I think this is the end of the road for the best band ever. RHCP
Guest More than 1 year ago
As the previous reviewer stated, the band has changed. While that is not completely horrible, its just personally disappointing. ''By the Way.'' which has all ready been played out on the radio led me to believe the RHCP would be returning with original funk, solid jams, and up-beat tunes to drive the party. This is the first of their albums I can not simply put on album repeat and listen to for hours on end. It appears all the ''critics'' seem to appreciate that RHCP have ''grown up'' gracefully. I'll play the CD, and enjoy some of the songs, but it will go behind all their other albums.
Guest More than 1 year ago
''By the Way'' is a ''well-done'' c.d. It's no ''Californication'' but it has it's perks. I've heard people say it is terrible, which I disagree on. Music was made for meaningful lyrics to be put together and expressed to an auidence. To some the lyrics may be stupid, but if you really focus on them, they have meaning hidden in-between the lines. By he Way...What happened to their wonderful SOCK puppets?
Guest More than 1 year ago
i really don't understand some of the negative statements abour this pearl of modern music. Californication started a new era, it was something completely new, it was the rebirth of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The guys have made a lot of bad expiriences, so you expect them to make a explosiv-party-album like Blood Sugar Sex Magik. I'm sure it is and it will stay the best album of 2002. The Chilis are back, better than ever before. So, stay true to the funk!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't disagree more with the first reviewer: If you want funk, you got friggin' seven RHCP albums to listen to. No offense, but you obviously can't accept that bands change after 20 years. And anyone who likes catchy but original music with beautiful harmonies won't be disappointed. The only song I don't like is the title track, it's too typical and totally unrepresentative of the album. And the ska song is anything but lame - it's great! This album does grow on you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My fiance is the biggest Pepper fan I know. He could not wait to buy the album. Through the years my appreciation for the bands innovative funk style grew, these guys are REAL MUSICIANS BUT...this new album is in one word, disappointing- The songs are sooo mellow and are good for a toke or on sleep timer! I miss the high energy funk, how OLD are these guys REALLY ?? Lyrics are good but,lose the fermatas and fourth grade guitar licks and bring back the music your oldest fans really want, bring back the FUNK !!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
In Short: No two Chili Peppers albums have ever sounded alike. By The Way is not the exception. Frusciante's growth as a major song writer is evident on this disk (listen to his solo work). As always, the gang writes original, moving music - you may not like how soft they've become, but the music is first class, genre-breaking funk/jazz/rock... Rock the sock!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Of course By the way doesn't follow the other albums in their great mix of funk, rap and rock, but does a band like the peppers have to play like at their beginning forever? Definitely not, the new record is great, even because of its silence in most songs. Get rid of the image of the peppers as a loud and heavy funkrock-band, they know how to play great heavy AND great slower songs.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that this cd is awesome. Even though everyone is complaining that it isn't there usual stuff. You can't expect them to keep doing the same things. Music is experimentation. Try different styles. I love every song. You can listen to it all the way to the end w/o stopping.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Another spectacular and groundbreaking ''work or art'' from an amazing band, an album like no other RHCP project. A gem, with clever harmonies sprawled across the majority of the album. Velvety smooth guitar work by the mad scientist John Frusciente, still-funky bass lines layed down by the always interesting, Flea. The brilliant, rhythmic fills brought to you by Chad Smith. And last, (but certainly not least), I have to pay homage to the brain child of RHCP, Anthoby Kiedis, with his always always interesting, entertaining, and introspective lyrics that propel the band through this success of a definitely unexpecting but welcomed project. I recommend this album to any RHCP fan that would want to appease their mellower side. I definitely give it 5 stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being a huge Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, I no doubtly purchesed the CD the day it came out. On the Car Ride home I put it in the CD player and began to listen. It was nothing like the Chili Peppers. I was disappointed at first, but I continued to listen to the CD anyway. After listening to the CD several times it began to grow on me. I love the CD now. I listen to it several times a day. It is a great buy. Just give it some time before making any rash decisions.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The genious of the Pepper's latest release is the fact that they are showing their ability to actually do something else, and still be good at it. Though the songs have somewhat ''mellowed'' down, they still are as intricate and well-written as they ever have been, with a few added surprises, such as Flea's trumpeting in ''Tear'' and whatever the heck they had in mind for ''Warm Tape''. The guitar effects are still brilliantly used, however Fruciante's soloes occasionally left something to be desired. Overall, it is a great album,and if you're a fan, you should defidently pick it up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The cd out by the chili peppers is ''By the Way'' and what a sweet cd it is. When I first listened to it I was really upset. This cd did not sound like the Red Hot Chili Peppers that I knew. But the more i listened to it the more it grew on me. Now i can't stop listening to it. It's a must buy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The more I listen to By the Way, the more I love it. Although not what I was expecting, this album proves that the Chili Peppers aren't afraid to continue to develop their sound. I'm glad they went their own way, instead of making another Blood Sugar Sex Magik for fear of criticism. Bottom line: their music is moving forward and changing. There are always ''fans'' who bail out when bands change, but true fans will appreciate the Peppers' evolution, and keep backing them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
So... What the &%#$ is this?? Where's the funk? It is their most boring, cheap and depressing album ever! I'm a RHCP fan since 1990 and I must say I'm really dissapointed. It sounds mostly like Californication or even worse, just looks like Backstreet Boys or maybe Lenny Kravitz. Too boring, with stupid attempts for ska or some ''Spanish'' rythm. Please, don't ''throw away your MONEY''!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My mate bought the album before the rest of our band and on the first listen, the drummer and i were heavily disappointed. where was the hard hitting funk? why is every song slow and apart from a couple (cant stop/by the way) the album is pretty much soft rock. Then we listened again and it got much better. every listen you hear something new and surprising, fleas trumpet is a welcome return. Anyone (chili fan or otherwise) who understands that every rhcp album is different will enjoy 'by the way'. i wont blow your socks off (like calafornication, the best album since bloodsugar) but it shows the chilis experimenting with true rock and roll, as well as developing their new style. oh yeh the ska song is good.