Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Music Fan’s Top 10 Tracks

As we wait with bated breath for the much anticipated new Red Hot Chili Peppers album, we take a look back at the music fan’s top 10.

10. The Power of Equality

Politics and social ills are the order of the day in the feisty opener from the critically-acclaimed, Blood Sugar Sex Magik. The Power Of Equality exudes topics not regularly visited by a band who ordinarily prescribe to themes of sexual escapades, drug use and loss.

The Power Of Equality is the musical equivalent of getting a tatoo: It’s tense and gnarly as hell, but you’ll always want to come back for more.    

9. Give it away

If ever there was one song that encapsulates the sound of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Give It Away is it. That bassline! That reverse-sounding guitar! Those chantable lyrics! Give It Away has it all! Funky and frantic in equal measure – this is quintessential Chili Peppers.

As is often the case with Kiedis’s retorts, Give It Away’s lyrics make about as much sense as a babbling teen experimenting with alcohol for the first time. However, the anthemic repetition of “give it away now” is all that is needed to assert this number as a stone-cold classic.

8. Dosed

There is angelic, and then there is Dosed. A largely underrated song from By The Way, Dosed is a song gifted by the music gods themselves, and will leave the listener notably moved by the end of its 5 minutes and 11 seconds. An absolute diamond in the rough.  

The chorus allows Frusciante’s vocals some long overdue exercise, taking centre stage with Kiedis assuming a backwards step. The optimistic solo adheres to the evolving Frusciante ethos of ‘less is more’, and this approach certainly has the desired affect – it’s a tearjerker.  

7. If you have to ask

Sultry and sexy in every way, If You Have To Ask is a free-flow funk masterpiece. Simplicity is the key to its virtue, permitting Kiedis’s rapping prose the space it deserves to drive the song. The second track from Blood Sugar Sex Magik is faultless. With that said, it’s a niche track and is often overlooked by the average Chili Peppers fan.

The atmosphere of the song creates a certain tension throughout, but manages to behave itself until it finally breaks, resolving with the scratchy and unstable guitar solo the song was so craving.

6. By The Way

Following the astronomical success of Californication, 2002’s follow-up, By The Way, had to be nothing short of remarkable. Although it’s standard didn’t quite match its predecessor, the melodic detail definitely deepened. Title track, By The Way, is evidence of this melodic evolution.

In true Californian style, the boys were surfing radio waves across the globe with this offering. By The Way was unavoidable and certainly overplayed. However, with the passing of time – and the reduction of radio play – one can truly appreciate this offering as a Chilli Peppers classic.

5. Around The World

The opening track of the first album ushering John Frusciante’s return to the band after a notable absence, had to be special. The outcome? Nothing short of awe-inspiring. From the urgency of the first thrumming bassline, to the final strum of a chord, this song will get you off your seat.

Lyrically, the song is mad as hell, but this doesn’t detract from the musical sheen of the track. The Chili Peppers use Around The World with aplomb during their live show, as it gets those fans near the point of hysteria.

4. I could have lied

According to Kiedis’s autobiography, this sorrowful and timid track was penned after Sinead O’Connor abruptly ended their brief relationship. Kiedis, who had become besotted by O’Connor, approached Frusciante with the lyrics, and Frusciante breathed life into them in true virtuoso style.

The solemn guitars augment the desperation in the vocal performance, before evolving into a cacophonic solo, personifying a love now lost. I Could Have Lied is the unsung hero of the Chili Peppers discography.

3. Scar tissue

The main riff consists a chiming and uplifting ditty. A riff so distinctive, it is recognisable by the first note. The guitar is perfectly juxtaposed against Kiedis’s lyrical semantics of isolation, producing one of the bands’ most beloved vocal lines: “With the birds, I’ll share this lonely view.” The imagery is incredibly powerful, ranging from a young Kentucky girl in a push-up bra, to broken jaws.

The howling guitar solos resonate such emotion, it’s almost as if Frusciante’s guitar was hardwired into Kiedis’s brain, bringing to life Kiedis’s words through his 1960’s fender Stratocaster.

2. Otherside

Otherside puts the self-destructive nature of drug dependency under the microscope. The riff is as haunting as the chorus is splendid. Kiedis and Frusciante’s harmonising authority was fully realised on Californication, and Otherside is the finest example of this synchronicity to date.

The sombre and sobering sound does nothing to glamorise the use of drugs. During the bridge, the pain can be felt with every tremble of Kiedis’s voice. His command is authoritative, acting as a sturdy warning to the perils of excessive living.

1. Under The Bridge

Detailing the tragedy of demise through drug use, Kiedis’s penchant as a song writing is on full display in this 1991 offering. His words have never felt so poignant and honest in this autobiographical account of his lengthy struggles with addiction. Augmented by the intricate guitar playing of Frusciante, the number is as beautiful as it is heart-breaking.

Every person who has ever graced a guitar fretboard will have tried to emulate Frusciante’s guitar tones after hearing Under The Bridge. Similarly, the urge not to sing along to the infectious chorus is a skill reserved only by those with the greatest of self-restraint.

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