Red Hot Chilli Peppers - By The Way
Red Hot Chilli Peppers - By The Way
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Red Hot Chilli Peppers - By The Way

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The problem Anthony Kiedis and his supremely dysfunctional musical family faced when beginning work on their eighth album, By the Way, wasn't so much how to top (or even compare) to the critical and commercial euphoria of 1999's superb Californication, but more how to avoid the comedown that followed their other highpoint--Blood Sugar Sex Magik--where One Hot Minute turned into several long years that nearly finished them. They decided, it seems, to just shut their eyes, press pedal to metal and continue as before. It's worked magnificently--no small thanks to the canny production of Rick Rubin again and the cohesive gelling Frusciante returning to what has now emerged as a tight, focused unit (despite the album being, as ever, about five songs too long--"Midnight" and "Minor Thing" for instance). Minor quibbles though, for when the Chili Peppers are average, they still tower over most other bands.