by the way RHCP
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS “BY THE WAY” 3-30-06 a gig day
This cd is one that is very special to me. This one is a bit different from the store one however because my friend Sean made it for me and he added a bunch of live and unreleased tracks to the album; but since this is the version I love so much this will be the one I talk about. It is the cd I listen too lately when I’m trying to think of very thoughtful and beautiful bass lines, and it made me a much bigger fan of flea (their bass player) than I already was. This is the 2nd album they released after john frusciante re joined the band and you can really hear his influences on the sound. This album I associate very closely to the time when I was living in plantation with my friend Noel and had just started making tentative steps toward music again. It was a happy time, (even though I consider the present a rather happy time for me as well but I digress). During the 5 years I didn’t play music I found myself listening to it far more closely than I ever had and again this album that was always unfolding more and more to me. I hope you enjoy it.
TRACK 1: BY THE WAY, this is a song that is hard to talk about. It has fantastic dynamics and again this is a celebration of the power trio format. Flea ad john are almost super naturally in sync and the tone of flea’s bass in this song is perfect…I want one of his signature basses!!!…laugh.. I also find the chorus to be just so beautiful and uplifting; and when contrasted with the harder edged sections it only makes it more dramatic. I live how the bass line drives the chorus. It is a song with wonderful craftsmanship.
TRACK 2: THIS IS THE CALLING, a very trancelike song. The bass and drums are solid as bedrock, while the guitar with it’s heavily phased tone, seems more pensive and delicate, especially during the chorus. Notice also how the arpeggiated portion of the chorus harmonizes with the melody of the vocals, subtle but fantastic. I also love the lyrics of the song, again they are a bit non sequitir but are wonderfully descriptive. The sound of the words themselves work melodically with the instruments. One could even do a deconstructionist criticism on the lyrics and the method by which they contextually shift the signifier and the signified, in a academic style in the flavor of Derrida…but I won’t be doing this however because that would be entirely too much work and even fewer people would be interested in that than would be interested in these ramblings…laugh…
TRACK 3: This song is so beautiful. It is dreamy and romantic, and exquisitely crafted. In the chorus you can really hear where john brings in the influence of pop music from the 50s and 60s however those same thematic devices are reinvented through their arrangement and instrumentation. When I hear this song I associate it with hanging out in the quieter moments during my time in the Human Adventure as I was very often listening to this album at the time. This song is one that makes me very sentimental. It also is one of those songs that makes me want to go out and write music.
TRACK 4: Not many songs have the audacity to begin with chords strummed on a bass. The textural use of guitar in this song just blows me away. This is one of those songs that make this band seem larger than life. Again only 4 musicians but the sound is huge. The chorus is so passionate and like everything on this album the music is so emotional. That is why the chili peppers have become a band I spend so much time listening to lately, every album seems to have even more feeling than the last.
TRACK 5: ZEYPHYR, This song is an example of their ability to combine different elements. The verse has a hip-hop fuck sort of feel, and the chorus had a big oldies feel. However, the way they construct the song the juxtaposition is seamless. and lovely. John and Flea’s backup vocal on this album also really transform each song’s potential. They manage to fill in the blanks for Anthony kedis’ limited vocal range and also give the longs a “bigger” more impressive sound.
TRACK 6:CAN’T STOP. Without a doubt, this song has one of the most fantastic choruses I have ever heard. I can never hear it without singing along. Throughout this song is the classic, muscular sounding funk groove that made this band famous. Again more great lyrics that are visual and don’t really sweat making sense. But really when I hear this album it really makes me think of modern art, abstract and otherwise. The sound to me is so visual, it makes me think of cobalt blue and orange and thick highly impasto brushstrokes.
TRACK 7: EVERYONE KNOWS Here the band gets beatlesesque and emotional. The movement of the bassline to me is dramatic and breathtaking. Also the vocal arrangements on this album are breathtaking the more you listen to it the more you realize the subtle things in the arrangements. The chorus is pure postmodern arena rock. This song also makes me think of walking from a very great distance at night in plantation, on a beautiful night and just finding it so dramatic.
TRACK 8:THROW AWAY YOUR TELEVISION, a wonderful challenge begins this song. The tribal elements of this song are great for working outside when you need a bit of a pick me up. This song has been listened to many a time while I have a paintbrush in my hand. The weird electronic sound incorporated into the song adds more of a point to the message.
TRACK 9: A MINOR THING this is a delightfully catchy song and I love singing along to it. The guitar has a happy jangly feel to it and as always flea’s bass line is flawless. The energy of the vocal melody again sucks me in this is a great song that always makes me very happy. It is a song that just seems to put things in perspective for me; I just love it.
TRACK 10: VENICE QUEEN, Atmospheric it keeps you in anticipation of the vocals, you can hear a definite pink Floyd influence in the guitar. The pulsing of the bass line is great, especially when matched with Chad smith’s “meat and potatoes” drumming. It makes me also think of when I used to inline skate all the time and my friends and I would sneak onto this golf course and ride the cart tracks. This was exciting because it was almost pitch black, the road rough and in ill repair & the hills & curves were crazy. We took some spectacular falls, but oh my was it just absolutely exhilarating, I want to do that again. Nothing but the roar of wheels on unkempt asphalt and wind on your face…punctuated by frequent falls scrapes and contusions. It was also like a maze as well and you could get lost quite easily. The bridge of this song is also so great, another fantastic song. The end part always makes shivers go down my spine.
TRACK 11: TIME, This song wasn’t on the album. This song I associate with wandering around my neighborhood on a nice day, with smells of all the Caribbean restaurants in my nostrils and a smile on my face. Musically this is a fantastic funk influenced song yet with an emotional depth that funk usually lacks. One of many songs I wish I could have written.
TRACK 12: BODY OF WATER, This is another song that didn’t make it to the album. That shocks me because it absolutely blows me away this is also a live recording…wow… it’s dramatic, aggressive, emotional, well crafted, clever…I mean just an absolutely fantastic song. The bass line on this one has definitely influenced some of the stuff I do with jahfe, the drums I think make this song for me. The use of the cymbals really provides an almost tonic quality of high end. Just a great modern rock song. The lyrics again seem to make sense to me on a subconscious level. These are guys who have all led very intense lives and I think that comes out in the music.
TRACK 13: OUT OF RANGE: This is a beautiful and romantic song I can never get enough of, it also has the kind of bass line any bass player would kill to have written. In the structure of the bass lines of many of the songs on this album remind me in many way of the use of bass and cello in baroque era orchestral pieces, from a structural view at least. I also love the line “thorns of bougainvillea” for some reason. The use of the organ sound and the horn give it a bit of a Latin, Mexican feel, which makes sense since they are from California. Flea also plays trumpet on this song.
TRACK 14: RIVERS OF AVALON: Wow. A great song, well crafted and creative. What more can I say.
TRACK 15: SEARCH & DESTROY This is the coolest version of this Iggy Pop song ever! This was recorded live and is a blistering and exciting performance. It is the kind of song that makes you feel like you can take on the world and is great to listen to when you’re trying to get psyched up for a show or something. One of my favorite movies “the life aquatic” used the original version of this during a scene where Bill Murray is fighting Thai pirates, and great but hilarious scene. This is one of those songs that exhibits that quality best referred to as “badass”…laugh. I love this song I really need to cover it, I’d be hard pressed to imagine not going crazy on stage while performing this.
TRACK 16: WAT IS SOUL-LIVE: this is an old and incredibly fun and silly old chili peppers song recorded live. A great performance and flea just has some blistering bass fills in this, as does john. I can imagine how much fun this song would be to see live, you can hear the crowd going crazy in the background.
And so this is the Red Hot Chili Peppers “By the Way” album I hope you liked it it’s one of my favorites and one that has definitely made a huge influence in my playing.