Red Hot Chili Peppers

Would you believe RHCP has been around since 1984? It's crazy, because their sound has morphed throughout the years, with aspects of funk, punk, hip-hop, rock, and pop all combined. Maybe it's the drug references, or the location references (how many times can they sing about California?), or maybe just the sick beats. Whatever it is, RHCP has some kickass music.

I'll be honest, I'm not sure where I first heard RHCP. Maybe it was "By The Way," or maybe being introduced to "Stadium Arcadium." I've slowly picked them up song by song, and I'm still working on it now.

Pretty much all of the hit albums have featured Anthony Kiedis (vocals), Jon Frusciante (guitar), Flea (bass), and Will Ferrell's doppleganger, Chad Smith (drums).

Nate's Epic RHCP Playlist

  1. Give It Away (Blood Sugar Sex Magik 1991)
  2. Parallel Universe (Californication 1999)
  3. The Zephyr Song (By The Way 2002)
  4. Throw Away Your Television (By The Way 2002)
  5. Especially in Michigan (Stadium Arcadium 2006)
  6. Can't Stop (By The Way 2002)
  7. The Greeting Song (Blood Sugar Sex Magik 1991)
  8. My Lovely Man (Blood Sugar Sex Magik 1991)
  9. The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie (I'm With You 2011)
  10. Power of Equality (Blood Sugar Sex Magik 1991)
  11. Aeroplane (One Hot Minute 1995)
  12. Under the Bridge (Blood Sugar Sex Magik 1991)
  13. Suck My Kiss (Blood Sugar Sex Magik 1991)
  14. Fortune Faded (Live in Hyde Park 2004)
  15. Storm in a Teacup (Stadium Arcadium 2006)
  16. Soul to Squeeze (Live & Rare 1994)
  17. Blood Sugar Sex Magik (Blood Sugar Sex Magik 1991)
  18. Scar Tissue (Californication 1999)
  19. By The Way (By The Way 2002)
  20. Naked in the Rain (Blood Sugar Sex Magik 1991)
  21. Hump de Bump (Stadium Arcadium 2006)
  22. Readymade (Stadium Arcadium 2006)
  23. Brandy (Live in Hyde Park 2004)
  24. Dani California (Stadium Arcadium 2006)

The Red Hot Chili Peppers (1984)


This weird album starts off with probably the weirdest song on our list. Give them a break, gotta start somewhere.

Mommy Where's Daddy: This song sticks with you, despite its creepy weird freaky vibe. Maybe it's the hefty funk sound that carries it?

Freaky Styley (1985)


I have nothing to say about this album, despite giving it a couple listens. It has a song named "Yertle the Turtle," which was one of my favorite childrens books? That's all I've got.

The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987)


Another album that's more miss than hit. Hopefully they get it together soon...

Me & My Friends: Not sure why I like this song either, it's just very loud and shouty. Kind of like all the high school jocks from some stereotypical teen movie pumping themselves up before a big football game.

Mother's Milk (1989)


The first album with the "main" RHCP lineup, including Chad Smith on drums.

Higher Ground: A funktastic cover of the Stevie Wonder song. Listen to that bass! No idea what's going on in that music video though.

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)


Awwww yiss, now we're talking. Maybe I've just listened to this album a crap-ton, but all the songs on here are great. In fact, I may have included every song. Honestly, besides "Give it Away" and "Under the Bridge," I think this album is sorely underappreciated. My favorite songs are "The Power of Equality," "Suck My Kiss," "Give it Away," "Blood Sugar Sex Magik," "Under the Bridge," "Naked in the Rain," "The Greeting Song," and "My Lovely Man."

The Power of Equality: Out of nowhere, this song slaps you in the face and you suddenly realize, this is new RHCP. That guitar riff absolutely kills it, even more so with the bridge. The outro was the closest thing to rap I'd ever listened to when I was younger.

If You Have to Ask: A chill funk song, time to get down. I really like the guitar solo, Frusciante really shows his stuff and gives a taste of what's to come.

Breaking the Girl: I love the 3/4 syncopated vibe with this song, and the mellow tone. That is, until the hefty instrumental break with its heavy hits.

Funky Monks: The intro fools you into thinking its some acoustic tune, but instead it's a song with someone slamming the brakes to no avail. You can feel the beat in your soul. The guitar solo is great, but what I really love is the drums during the guitar solo.

Suck My Kiss: "And I'm saillllllin'..." Kind of a dark vibe, but it still makes you wanna get up and dance. By the end, you'll be sailin' too.

I Could Have Lied: RHCP gets in touch with their softer side. Normally I don't like this type of song, but I enjoy the slow layering of the different parts.

Mellowship Slinky in B Major: Possibly the funkiest song on this album, just jam along.

The Righteous and the Wicked: Kind of a halftime feel with the same vibe as some of the earlier songs in the album. I love the guitar right after "praying for a better day..."

Give it Away: This song cuts right to it, hitting sharp and hard. The drums are on point, with that tight snare sound coming to the forefront of the song. I love playing this on the drums, because it's the perfect combo of keeping it tight and letting loose. The song itself has an ultra-funk feel, with the guitar having almost a "boing-y" sound. I love right around 4 minutes, when everything finally just lets loose for real - my favorite part on the drums. Suprisingly, the song isn't about sex or drugs, but about charity and literally giving to others.

Blood Sugar Sex Magik: One of my favorite drum parts on this album and possibly the whole catalog. It's a great slow groove, oozing energy. The guitar solo absolutely kills it. Wish there was a live version.

Under the Bridge: An emotional acoustic ballad to LA, it's very moving. My favorite part (of course) is where the drums finally drop in around 2:45, then we get a nice jam going, perfect time to rip it up.

Naked in the Rain: I love how the bass and drums have that tight feel, chugging the song along. And who doesn't want to be "naked in the rain with a killer whale" - not me. There's a pretty dope bass interlude where Flea gets to show his stuff.

Apache Rose Peacock: Have no idea what this song is about, but he's singing about his schlong and New Orleans. It's real funky with plenty of bass and horns.

The Greeting Song: I love the driving beat of this song, perfect to get pumped up for a big day at work. The guitar really comes through on this track.

My Lovely Man: I feel like this song goes well with "The Greeting Song," although slower paced it has a similar energy. The sharp drumming sound comes through hard.

Sir Psycho Sexy: Okay, this song is super freakin' weird, lots of sexual imagery. Not something you want to listen to with your parents/siblings/family around. But it's funky.

They're Red Hot: This song kind of reminds me of the "hidden tracks" you sometimes find on older albums, like The Beatles or Rolling Stones. Kind of closes the album out.

Live & Rare (1994)


Kind of some odds and ends, but this is the only album with "Soul To Squeeze" on it. Which is worth it for that alone.

Soul to Squeeze: I love the offbeat snare hit that totally throws your sense of rhythm off unless you focus on it really hard. It's a great mellow song, really makes you feel least until the interlude blows everything apart for a few seconds. Love it.

One Hot Minute (1995)


Not sure why this album gets forgotten, or why it missed the mark of BSSM or "Californication." Whatever, it includes "Aeroplane."

Aeroplane: Listen to that slap bass! Something about pleasure and pain, etc. Music is the aeroplane! This song is so funky, and any song with a chorus of children at the end is excellent. Plus, the music video has a bunch of kids dressed like planes.

Walkabout: I dunno, I can just picture Kiedis walking down the street, singing this song to random other pedestrians.

Californication (1999)


BSSM was an amazing album, but "Californication" pushed RHCP into the mainstream. Tons of great songs with a slightly more refined sound than prior. My favorite songs are "Around the World," Parallel Universe," "Scar Tissue," and "Californication."

Around the World: Lots going on here. Each part is distinct from the others, but the drums, guitar, and bass all come together perfectly. See how many location references you pick up, and don't forget to sit in your giant swing shouting "DING DANG DONG DONG DING DANG, DONG DING DANG."

Parallel Universe: This song shows how far RHCP has come, with a very refined, subdued, yet very powerful sound. This may be my favorite song on the album. The difference in dynamics between verse and chorus demonstrate how quickly feelings and emotions can change. The bass line is great, with a bit of an interlude in the middle.

Scar Tissue: There's a hint of ska/reggae in this song, with lots of ghost notes and fills on the snare and a great guitar line. The guitar solo is strong without overwhelming the quality of the song.

Otherside: Is the song about drugs? Sex? Death? I'm sure the internet knows, but I like the mystery. It's one of those songs that starts small, but builds in intensity with each verse, until you get to the final chorus with a final burst of sound.

Get on Top: Aw yiss, after those heart-wrenching tunes, we need some old-fashioned RHCP energy. The song has a sharp staccato beat that brings a tiny bit of anxious energy. Right on. I just love the guitar part in this, especially the super cool solo.

Californication: This is an excellent jam song. Starts off chill, but builds up to an explosion impossible to contain. The guitar solo is iconic, not because of complexity but just because it sucks you in.

Easily: Any song with a half-time beat during the chorus is dope, especially when it's played on a crash cymbal. That is all.

I Like Dirt: I like dirt...who knew?

This Velvet Glove: Maybe it's the acoustic guitar and/or the backup vocals, but for some reason this song reminds me of Boston (the band, not the city).

Savior: Hot damn, that slow jam beat keeps building and building, but it doesn't exactly go where you expect...leading to a section sounding like a wintertime sleigh ride (complete with sleigh bells).

Purple Stain: Okay, I'm pretty sure (99%) this song is about menstruation...which is a topic we should openly discuss as it is completely natural and normal. They also mention Dracula! The guitar solo starts out groovy and builds to an absolute frenzy.

Right on Time: The song is a bit frantic but is complemented by the chorus, which I can only describe as soothing.

By The Way (2002)


This album dips a little bit in terms of overall quality, but the highlights really carry their weight. My favorite songs are "By The Way," "The Zephyr Song," "Can't Stop," and "Throw Away Your Television."

By the Way: One of the first RHCP songs I remember recognizing. The verse and chorus alternate in drive and sound, with the chorus preceded with a sound I can only describe as "thumping." This song has a great bass part to drive the beat.

Universally Speaking: Kind of a similar sound to "The Zephyr Song" so I like it too.

Don't Forget Me: I can only describe this song as very "nineties," but I think it sets itself apart with the slower dragging tempo, that makes you question what you're hearing, and how you feel as you listen. It's vocal-heavy, which I usually don't like but I appreciate how it's done.

The Zephyr Song: I can't explain what it is about this song, but it has an amazing riff. I didn't hear it until med school, and I was hooked from my first time listening. Thanks Chris. The song is so perfect, you feel like you're floating above the clouds as you listen. I love the guitar solo, followed by some "whoawhoawhoa" and "yeayeayea."

Can't Stop: One of the best RHCP guitar riffs, hands down. Have no idea what any of the lyrics mean, but how can you not shout along in robotic declaration, "east side love is livin' on the west end," "mu-sik the great communicator," "use my hands for everything but steering," or "teach you of the Pleiades" Plus, don't forget the double clap right at "can't stop" during the chorus. Love how the song ends with just "this life is more than just a read through..."

Throw Away Your Television: Okay, this song has a freakin' awesome drum beat. Like, get up and dance drum beat. Why are you still sitting? And why haven't you thrown away your television? This song is the only show you need.

Cabron: Say what you will about this song, it got stuck in my head and I couldn't get it out. I just had a voice screaming "caaabroooooooooooooon" for a day or so.

Live in Hyde Park (2004)


This album, in some ways, is perfect. It's not perfect, but it could be. The album opens with a quick jam, then brings you into a pre-"Can't Stop" crescendo, slowly building in anticipation until you can't take it anymore. Too bad they're two separate tracks. Some of the songs have that classicly rough live sound, such as "Around the World," "By The Way," "Get On Top," and "Throw Away Your Television" Check out the amped-up guitar solos on "Scar Tissue," "Otherside," "Californication," and most important, "Parallel Universe." One of the subtleties of RHCP is the backup vocals, whether it's the yelp towards the end of "Can't Stop," or "Otherside," "The Zephyr Song," and "Under the Bridge." There's even more built-up anticipation on "Don't Forget Me" and "Under the Bridge." Don't miss the short drum riff track, featuring very recognizable drum parts from bands like Led Zeppelin, U2, and Queen. The album caps it off with a killer rendition of "Give It Away," which if your ears aren't bleeding by the end, you're doing it wrong. For unclear reasons, the song goes on for over 13 minutes even though the last half is noise. A bonus, the prolonged outro on "By the Way" sounds like a riff on "Soul to Squeeze" which is an excellent way to close out the song.

Fortune Faded: Only released as a single, it's featured on both live albums. I absolutely love that guitar riff, like something out of a 80's punk band.

Brandy: A cover of the Looking Glass song. I like the live twist they put on it, and how could I not?

Stadium Arcadium (2006)


For whatever reason, "Californication" is the epitome of RHCP fame, but I believe "Stadium Arcadium" is RHCP at the most refined, clarified sound. A monster 2-CD album, each song is perfectly crafted to take you on a rollercoaster of sound. It holds a special place for me, as I spent many years drumming along with my drum book. My favorite songs are "Dani California," "Hump de Bump," "Especially in Michigan," "Warlocks," "Wet Sand," "21st Century," "Readymade," "Storm in a Teacup," and "We Believe."

Dani California: It's a great jam song with a cool "through the ages" music video. The highlight of the song is definitely the guitar solo ending, where everyone just goes bananas.

Snow (Hey Oh): I think it's the guitar riff. Has to be the guitar riff. That's it.

Stadium Arcadium: Quite a melancholic sound, makes you feel like you're watching an old 90's music video in black and white on MTV as the band plays in the street of some random European town. Or is it just me?

Hump de Bump: Hot damn this song is funkadelic. I absolutely love the bass/guitar combo. There there's the trippy percussion interlude before the song pops up and slaps you again.

She's Only 18: I like the sloppy dragging beat, which then throws you for a loop with the equally lazy yet agitated sound of the chorus. I think it has one of the best guitar solos on the album.

Slow Cheetah: One of the few vocal-heavy songs I actually enjoy, it has a great chill vibe. It has a very trippy outro.

Torture Me: It's just a frenzy of sound with lots of bass. I like the choir-like bridge, but with a holler we're into a wild ride of a guitar solo.

Strip My Mind: Another great slow jam, perfect for playing along on the drums. The excellent quality of fills (thanks Chad Smith) don't hurt the enjoyment one bit.

Especially in Michigan: Such a great song - fast paced, sick guitar, ridiculous lyrics rhyming with Michigan - it has everything I could ever want. Such a great guitar solo. And don't forget the ending in half time!

Warlocks: A chill funkadelic tune. Yeah, that's how I'd describe it. For some reason, every time I hear this song I have to bob along.

C'mon Girl: A perfect example of a song with chill verses and spastically wild choruses. The guitar solo is very out there, adding another layer to this already complex song.

Wet Sand: I can't explain why, but this is one of my favorites of the album. Maybe it's the clarity of the drum part. Maybe it's the short but wonderful outro. The world may never know.

Hey: Just a chill drum part with a syncopated beat. Gotta love it.

Desecration Smile: It has that RHCP vibe, but it's in half-time. Kind of a chill way to open up side two of the album.

Tell Me Baby: A super funky song, second only to "Hump de Bump." I love that guitar squeal right before the second verse, which only gets amplified for the guitar solo. There's a hint of disco with that hihat beat during the chorus.

21st Century: A hard hitting pounding beat with an extra funky bass beat. Love it.

She Looks to Me: A slow jam feel, similar to "Slow Cheetah" or "Strip My Mind." The guitar solo has a nice wavering sound.

Readymade: One of my favorites from this side. Maybe it's the hefty guitar riff, the offbeat snare hits, or the halftime chorus part. Maybe it's the sick guitar solo that sounds like something off a Led Zeppelin album. Whatever the reason, it's a great song.

Make You Feel Better: A nice straightforward song that's fun to dance to with a quick beat.

Animal Bar: "Everlovin' mug of Mr. Norman Mailer..." who knows what anything means? This song has a trippy vibe but builds slowly in intensity verse by verse, way cool.

So Much I: Now we're really bumpin'! The song chugs along, powered by that heavy bass line. I love the drum part during the chorus, it's a cool syncopated beat.

Storm in a Teacup: Heavens to Mergatroid! This song is so freakin' funky, but with some hints of punk throughout. It's one of my favorite songs to play on the drums. I love how everything drops out then builds back up during the bridge.

We Believe: Another trippy sounding song, until you get to the cry of "weeeeeeee believeeeeeeeee" which cuts through the rest of the muddled sound. Finally, the song crescendoes with a chorus of small children singing, reminiscent of "Aeroplane."

Turn it Again: Lots of great guitar riffs in this song, and a strangely spastic beat. The song carries it out with an extended guitar solo section.

Death of a Martian: No idea who this martian is, but we're sad he/she/it died. Really like the chorus, it has a great drum beat and a twinge of sadness, almost as if the album is sorry it's ending. There's a semi-rap outro while the guitar wails in the background.

I'm With You (2011)


Haven't listened to this album a ton, but I do really like one song from the album (see below).

The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie: Okay, this beat is sick; it just grabs you in the brain and won't let go. The song contains this dark, heavy sound that puts you on edge. In some ways, the song reflects the indie tastes of newer music, but by the time you realize it's RHCP, it's too late and you're trapped.

Cardiff, Wales (2015)


Although released in 2015, it was actually recorded on the nights prior to the Hyde Park album. I think some of the splicing is actually better here, such as the intro being included on "Can't Stop" and longer intros on "Around the World," "Throw Away Your Television," "Right on Time," and "Parallel Universe." Some of the best guitar solos are on "Scar Tissue," "The Zephyr Song," and "Parallel Universe." And don't forget that "Fortune Faded" guitar riff. "By the Way" still has that hint of "Soul to Squeeze" at the end of the song, big fan. The album starts closing with an excellent rendition of "Under the Bridge" offering that classic live recording sing-along. But nothing is complete without a killer version of "Give it Away" to complete the album. Excellent.

The Getaway (2016)


Haven't had a chance to listen, sorry...