By The Way review by Red Hot Chili Peppers

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  • Released: Jul 9, 2002
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 5.5 (346 votes)
Red Hot Chili Peppers: By The Way

Sound — 10
This is very different to the rest of the Chili Peppers material. Sometimes it's more mellow and sometimes more hard. The album has a bit of a varying style, which I think is a great thing. I must say John's guitar tone on this album is clearly outstanding. He uses it in a lot of solos like in 'Zephyr Song' and 'Minor Thing'. The drumming is also brilliant especially on 'Throw Away Your Television' and 'Warm Tape'. Here's a description of all of the songs. 01. By The Way - the title track of the album, and a brilliant opener. It's got the kind of explosive type of verse that you would expect from them and a great chorus to sing a long to. The bass line in this song is one of the best on the album although the record doesn't feature much of Flea's mental bass lines that are found on other albums like Blood Sugar Sex Magik or anything like that. All in all it's a great song and fits the harder side of the album quite well. I can't finish talking about this song without mentioning Chad's rhythms on this one. The verse's drumming is excellent, nothing more to say about it. 02. Universally Speaking - a slightly mellower song compared to the previous 'By The Way' with banging chords that fit quite well with the bass line. This song takes a while to get into but people who are great fans of this album will like it a lot. The chorus is a great contrast to the verse, a lot mellower with John's backing usual high-pitched backing vocals coming in. Like many of the Chili Peppers' songs, it finishes with a guitar solo. It's not very complicated or advanced, but goes well with the song. 03. This Is The Place - a bit dark compared to the previous two songs, with John putting his mammoth pedal board being put to good use with phaser laden tone on this one. The chorus is really good with some excellent backing vocals on there. The acoustic bridge offers a chord progression that is featured a lot on this album; F/C/Dm. The three or four notes that are used in the last part of the song sounds a lot fuller than it would without any effects on it, so if you want to cover this song, you would need to get out a phaser on this one. 04. Dosed - this song features a lot of layering on the guitar front. The two main parts go hand-in-hand with each other. Personally I prefer the verse to the chorus on this one. The strongest part of this song is the ending and the solo, which includes the brilliant tone that John uses for a few of the solos in this song. The bass line sounds very good on this number as well, although not very complicated. 05. Don't Forget Me - this is the song that you would be expected to wave your lighters at a gig to. The super fast guitars go brilliantly with the super slow rhythm. Once again Chad serves up some quality beats, especially in the verse. The two vocal parts of the chorus go really well with each other. The super simple solo is a good addition to the song. If you're looking for some of John's more complicated solos, go listen to Stadium Arcadium. 06. Zephyr Song - one of my favorite songs on the album. The verse is amazing; the guitar tone in general is amazing. The vocals are amazing. The bass sounds great. So does the drumming. This song sounds like the most relaxed of summer evenings if it was to represent any part of the day. The chorus is so light and breezy I love it. The solo is simply outstanding. I can't really describe what it feels like. It's that good. The guitar tone is simply amazing here as well. The bit after the chorus is amazing. Pretty much everything about this song is amazing. I love it. 07. Can't Stop - there is something for everyone in this one. Out of all the people I know who are not major fans of the Chili Peppers, this is their favorite song. I think it's got the best RHCP riff ever; it's probably my favorite riff of all time. This song is one of the few songs that features Flea's signature slapping on it that matches the guitar well. The chorus is typical of the ones you'll find on the rest of the album. John serves up another helping of his signature backing vocals, and they are brilliant. The bridge combines a bit of the verse and a bit of the chorus, and John uses his trusty phaser in as well. John doesn't show his godlike guitar playing through solos on this album as shown by this song, but as you'll hear on this album, he shows it in a whole world of different ways. It's surely a highlight of the album. 08. I Could Die For You - this is a much calmer song compared to the previous song, but it's a very good song nonetheless. The way John plays the chords and the way that they go so well with the drums on this song is incredible. This song shows that the bass is used more in a backing style rather than in a more prominent role like in most other albums, which is good in one way, but bad in another. 09. Midnight - I believe this has the best verse that the Chili Peppers have ever written. I love guitar, bass, vocals and drums so much in the verse. The other parts aren't too bad either. The chorus certainly has a sing-along feel to it. The second verse even better than the first. I think it's because of the extremely low pitched tuba or whatever it is and Johns backing vocals that do it. The strings part goes really well with the song as well, and the way the acoustic guitar is used on this song is really good as well. The main hook 'Everyone knows, anything goes' etc sound better and better as it goes along. 10. Throw Away Your Television - this is another one of my favourite songs on the album. The drumming pattern in this is phenomenal, I really love it, and I love the funky hi-hat bit in between the first chorus and first verse. The guitar part on this album is nowhere near as complicated as it sounds and the effects cover this up very well. The middle, more upbeat bit is great. This is one of the few songs on the album that Flea really does show the amazing bass player that he is that he shows on most other album. It's a great performance by all of them. 11. Cabron - you don't come across this kind of song by the Chilis very often. The acoustic guitar is brilliant and the drumming is excellent too. Anthony's vocal performance is also very strong on this one. I also believe that Flea used a stand-up bass (double bass) on this one too which sounds awesome. The little electric slide guitar parts tie in very well with the main acoustic chords. 12. Tear - probably the weakest song on the album for me. It seems quite boring to me, but there is light at the end of the tunnel for this song. The instrumental solos are very impressive as well. There is a guitar solo, trumpet solo and a little breakdown which is basically a load of cymbals and a mandolin (it might actually be a guitar) or something similar. I've got to compliment the guitar tone on the solo. In fact the only time it sounds like a guitar is used on this song is on the guitar solo and the trumpet solo. I don't think it's even used in the chorus. 13. On Mercury - a great song that makes you forget about all the weak points of the last song. The harmonica part gives the song a great feel. I love the guitar part in this one as well. The drumming also sounds great. I love the chorus, the vocals from both Anthony and John are simply awesome. I love Anthony's voice in the verse also. I really love the part in the middle where the drums just hit every two bars or whatever. It's a great song overall. 14. Minor Thing - I love this song as well. The guitar rhythm is great as well. Anthony again shows off his great vocal ability, especially in the little rapping bit in every verse. The drums give it a really good driving feel as well. I really love the simple solo in the middle, quite similar to ones on 'Can't Stop' and 'Zephyr Song'. The outro is definitely the strongest part of the song. It's another part of the album that is so good I can't describe it. Definitely a favorite 15. Warm Tape this is a bit underrated in my opinion. The drumming part is very good. The verse isn't the most exciting, but the chorus with the 12-string guitar is simply brilliant. The vocals are definitely another strong point of the song. The middle part of the song isn't bad either, again featuring the 12-string guitar. I really like the bass pattern in the song as well, although you can't hear it very well until the end. More people should hear this 16. Venice Queen - the best song ever written by any human being ever. Everything about this song is brilliant. I love the main riff and the tone of it. The vocals from Anthony and John are brilliant. The bass fits very well with the song and the drums are very good as well. Just when you think the song is finished, the strong acoustic chords come in. It's the most amazing feeling. Once the drums kick in, the electric part comes in that is simply amazing. It gets very hard to describe from here on in. It's amazing. Really amazing. I love this song more than any other song in the world. Nothing more to say.

Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are pretty good overall, but we all know the Anthony Kiedis isn't the best lyricist in the world. However the strength of Anthony and John's voices make up for this. John never fails to deliver his outstanding backing vocals and Anthony can use his voice in so many different ways to give each song a different effect. As usual the relationship between the vocals and the actual music is brilliant.

Overall Impression — 10
This is my favorite RHCP album. In fact it is my favorite album ever. The most impressive songs from the album are 'By The Way', 'Don't Forget Me', 'Zephyr Song', 'Can't Stop', 'Midnight', 'Throw Away Your Television', 'On Mercury', 'Minor Thing' and most of all 'Venice Queen'. I think 'Venice Queen' is the best song that has ever been written as I said before. I love everything about this album. No matter how many times I have this lost or stolen, I will always buy it again.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    con job wrote: this album sucks.but its WAYYYYY better than Stadium Arcadium.that says somethin.....
    Dude... you suck! Go listen to don't forget me or venice queen or television, then beg for forgiveness you jackass! and stadium rocks to you ahole!
    This album is rubbish. I love the chili's but this is a dull a boring listen. There worst album by far.