As we draw closer and closer to the release of the thirteenth Red Hot Chili Peppers album, The Return of the Dream Canteen - the band's second record in quick succession since the return of legendary guitarist John Frusciante - now is as good a time as any to look back and rank their discography. With a back-catalogue as star-studded as RHCP, any list is guaranteed to ruffle some feathers- so be warned!
The Chili Peppers journey from funk, punk-rapping Hollywood street rats to bonafide stadium fillers was an unlikely one. Their brilliance, however, was always there. Notably missing from this list are the myriad of wonderful tracks that never made it onto an album, such as Soul To Squeeze, Fortune Faded, and Eskimo.
Going through the Chili Peppers discography is a monumental task, but always a pleasurable one, as the band evolves with every release. Just remember, the difficulty in reaching a consensus is more of a testament to the band’s incredible longevity than anything else.
So, let’s take a trip through the top ten greatest albums of the Hollywood skunks themselves, the Red Hot Chili Peppers!
10. The Getaway
The problem with this album lies largely with the production as opposed to the songs themselves. Breaking away for the first time in nearly three decades from producer Rick Rubin, his replacement DangerMouse does away with the minimalism of Rubin’s production. In doing so, he overproduces the band, stripping away what is such an important part of the band's inherent charm; at their core, the Chili Peppers sound like four guys in a room jamming, caught up in the joy of making music together.
Of course, any record includes a deal of refinement, but capturing that inherent spontaneity at the core of the band's process was what made Rubin the perfect producer for them. Here, DangerMouse produces a cold, overly-polished-sounding take on the Peppers. Still, the record is not without its merits, with Sick Love in particular a song that deserves its place in any RHCP best-of, despite its similarity to Benny and the Jets. We Turn Red and Go Robot likewise capture some of the fun of the band.
Klinghoffer seems more confident than on I’m With You, and supplies some memorable riffs, such as Detroit and The Longest Wave, a song with a wonderful chorus. However, the overproduction ruins singles Dark Necessities and the title track, and robs the album itself of some of its soul.