The Kings of White Boy Funk: the Absolute Best Red Hot Chili Peppers Albums

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Funk rock is habit forming, addicting, and making geeks of otherwise honest, productive individuals. It’s difficult to accurately pinpoint the specifics; maybe it’s the soulful grooves, maybe the break-neck chops, the metalesque guitar riffs or the jazzy syncopations. It could be the stylistic fusions, something for the punk in us, something for the hip hopper, for the aficionados of rhythm and blues, all bundled in party time rock and roll, playful but aggressively delivered.

Whatever the exact chemistry is, if you’re looking for the pure, uncut funk-junk, Red Hot Chili Peppers are the fix and these, their 5 best albums, will give you the hits and the highs you crave. So. Come on. Give it a try. You’re going to love it. Don’t worry man, it’s cool, I’m listening to them right now.

5 Freaky Styley

This album shows very little in regards to sales. Yet you have the group young, healthy, some experience both touring and in the studio, and completely insane. More so than track discussion, the importance here lays in the presence of the vibrant and creative Hillel Slovak (guitar) and the guidance of George Clinton himself (Parliament Funkadelic) on production. I suggest starting with “Jungle Man”, “Nevermind,” and “Catholic School Girls Rule.” Take it from there.

4 By The Way

Yes Anthony Kiedis is one of the most charismatic front-men ever, yes Flea is arguably the sickest bassist of all time, yes Chad Smith looks like Will Ferrell and kills the drums, but again, this album is fiercely driven by Frusciante’s stylistics. With Anthony’s lyrics focusing on the trials of life and their career, profundity certainly abounds. You already know the hits, or should at least; now check out “This Is The Place,” “I Could Die For You,” and another of my personal favorites “Cabron.”

3 Californication

Marking the return of guitarist John Frusciante (after One Hot Minute with Dave Navarro on guitar), this album presents a paradox in that it brings them back to their roots, solidifying their force as an entity, while simultaneously advancing the sound in unprecedented strides. Although this comes across as contradictory, it is not. Funk is about progress, about breaking boundaries, and about having fun. These all occurred with extreme sincerity and fervency and the result can be easily found in hits like “Other Side” and “Scar Tissue.”

2 I’m With You

Not many bands are able to keep churning out the goods after 30 years. Touring alone can be so taxing, not to mention maintaining a flow of relevant material. The Chili’s, however, make it seem easy. With great fervor around new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer (friend of John Frusciante), it’s as if new life has been breathed into the group. The album opens with the vigorous “Monarchy of Roses” and continues in an unpredictable, yet comfortably surprising roller-coaster-ride of sentiment, wisdom and passion. The engagingly crafted “Brendon’s Death Song” does slow things down a bit to pay homage to the passing of a dear friend, but it’s absolutely brilliant and the pace soon regains its momentum with “Look Around” and “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie.” The closer “Dance, Dance, Dance” will more than validate any desire to see them live!

1 Blood Sugar Sex Magic

I can’t. I simply cannot and will not approach this as if you are unfamiliar. I think my criticisms, as well as those of your friends, might fester into harshness if you don’t know “Give It Away” or “Under The Bridge.” I’m not discussing sales, or charts, or international acclaim. Stop reading, go now and listen. And don’t stop with just those two, wade through all 17 tracks, and since we’re off the charts, pay particular attention to two of my personal favorites, “Sir Psycho Sexy” and “Apache Rose Peacock.”

Don’t worry, as high as they will get you, you’re not going to overdose. You’re not going to quit your job, or steal your mother’s wedding ring, or mug an old lady. You won’t end up in jail, or in the streets, or in rehab. Yes, you are going to get addicted. You are going to want to surround yourself with other users. You’re completely going to geek out. It’s okay. Actually, it’s better than okay, it’s probably the only life saving addiction one could have, and these 5 albums undoubtedly provide the best of the best. Don’t you think?


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