Sunday, January 20, 2013

Red Hot Chili Peppers
"By the Way" (CD)

I once had a friend describe the Chili Peppers as "a great bassist, and a bad vocalist."  I've decided that explanation is an over-simplification, but it points at the cracks that have appeared in the RHCP's armor in the decades since they first showed up.

This album was the first arrival of the mature incarnation of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  It's a band that began to show up during 1999's "Californication," but didn't insist on itself until 2002 when they released "By the Way."

I don't think this album ranks high on their output.  "BloodSugarSexMagic" is still regarded universally as the high-water mark and everything since then has shown a Chili Peppers band that is getting slower and older, trying to convince its ever-youthful audience that it's okay that we're all getting older.

This is about as mainstream a band as we'll find on this blog.  I never tread too close to Top 40 musical tastes and the Chili Peppers have drawn nearer to this idiom as the years go by.  Rick Rubin has produced all of the RHCP's albums for a while now and his polished sound may be mass-consumer friendly, but its becoming less and less anything I listen to by choice.

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