Red Hot Chili Peppers are set to release an album this year – it will be the first since 2016. This album is particularly special as it features the return of pivotal guitarist John Frusciante, who has been absent from the band since they released ‘Stadium Arcadium’.
Frusciante has aided in contributing guitar riffs to some of the bands most iconic tracks including ‘Californication’, ‘Can’t Stop’ and ‘Under The Bridge’. Yet even in his absence, the band still produced iconic music, such as 2016 singles ‘Dark Necessities’ and ‘Go Robot’, crafted alongside Josh Klinghoffer.
These tunes may sit amongst some of the California funk-rockers most notable tracks, but with an imposing number of albums under their belt, the Chili Peppers have streams of tunes that deserve more recognition.
Here are 10 slept on Red Hot Chili Peppers tracks...
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'My Friends (One Hot Minute)'
The first on this list comes from sixth studio album 'One Hot Minute'. This album is another that was made without Frusciante in tow. In his replacement stood Dave Navarro, well-known for his role in Jane's Addiction.
'One Hot Minute' was not as well received as previous record 'Blood Sugar Sex Magik', but second single 'My Friends' is a melodic ballad that makes for easy listening. Lyrically, this tune chronicles issues the band were facing in their personal lives.
Musically, it meets the heartache Kiedis is referencing, as guitar, bass and drums join to make a slow, heart-breaking yet contagious sound.
'Sir Psycho Sexy' (Blood Sugar Sex Magik)
1991 album 'Blood Sugar Sex Magik' homes many of the best RHCP songs – but several of them have gone under the radar – including sixteenth track 'Sir Psycho Sexy'. This song encapsulates the energy of frontman Kiedis in his youth. The lead singer is known for his overt sexual energy, and this tune displays that.
The song annals a fictional character or rather an exaggerated version of Kiedis who finds himself encountering numerous steamy situations. In eight minutes and 16 seconds, 'Sir Psycho Sexy' meets the expectations of its name both stylistically and lyrically.
'Hump de Bump' (Stadium Arcadium)
'Hump de Bump' may be the fifth single from popular 2007 record 'Stadium Arcadium', and the music video may star and be directed by a little-known comedian called Chris Rock, but it still seems to be relatively unknown. It's funky, contagious and encapsulates the genre of funk rock.
Amongst the traditional array of Chili Peppers instruments, the tune also features Flea on trumpet.
'Pretty Little Ditty' (Mothers Milk)
'Pretty Little Ditty' is an instrumental track from 1989 album 'Mothers Milk'. Written by Frusciante and Flea, the tune may sound familiar to listeners as it was sampled by popular Crazy Town single 'Butterfly'. This is not the only use of the riff, in 2020, it was sampled on 'Ain’t It Different' by Headie One, AJ Tracey and Stormzy.
“Are you wasting away in your skin?” Anthony Kiedis asks on eighth track from 1999 record 'Californication'. This gentle serenade, akin to a lullaby, was written by Kiedis for a single mother he met at a YMCA. In Kiedis’s words - “The beauty and sadness and tragedy and glory, all wrapped into one, of this mother/daughter relationship was evoked by the vibe of that music”.
It perhaps is not the typical Red Hot Chili Peppers song, considering the slow tempo and gentle flair, but it’s both stylistically and lyrically beautiful.
'Emmit Remmus' (Californication)
Another taken from 'Californication', Emmit Remmus is groovy, pulsing, bassy and has a great story. After Kiedis had a fling with none other than sporty spice, Mel C – he wrote this track chronicling their relationship. Fun lyrics that tale adventures of an “English girl and American Man” met with viscous riffs, heavy drums and Funkadelic bass make for great listening.
The tune still holds the Chili Peppers’ funky sound yet musically, it nods towards the heavier side of the band.
'Love Rollercoaster' (Beavis and Butt-Head Do America Soundtrack)
In 1996, the Chili Peppers covered 'Love Rollercoaster' by 70’s funk band the Ohio Players. The cover was made for the Beavis and Butthead movie and the music video features the band animated as characters from the popular MTV cartoon. The cover pays homage to the original track, encapsulating the genre of 70s funk whilst maintaining a Red Hot Chili Peppers rocky flare.
Due to its timeless riffs and funky vibe, it deserves to sit amongst the band's most-loved tracks.
'Sick Love' (The Getaway)
Taken from latest album 'The Getaway', 'Sick Love' is infectious, smooth and shows off the pop-rock side of the Chili Peppers yet didn’t receive nearly as much hype as it deserves. Third single on the album, this tune features none-other than Elton John on piano. When listening to the contagious track, it’s easy to identify the distinctive Elton piano flair.
'Tearjerker' (One Hot Minute)
Taken from 'One Hot Minute', 'Tearjerker' meets the definition of its name as it tales the day Anthony Kiedis finds out frontman of Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, has passed.
An emotional ballad that lyrically captures the heartbreak of Cobain’s death, this tune pays homage to Kiedis’ friendship with Kurt – chronicling the day they met backstage in LA, when Nirvana supported Red Hot Chili Peppers on their Blood Sugar Sex Magik tour.
Delicate guitar riffs met with soft drumming and basslines makes this tune that more heart-breaking.
'If You Have to Ask' (Blood Sugar Sex Magik)
Second on the tracklisting of 'Blood Sugar Sex Magik', If You Have to Ask is likely one of the most slept-on tracks not just of Red Hot Chili Peppers, but of the 90s. Funky guitar licks work alongside Kiedis as he both sings and raps. One standout lyric praises the “funky ass Flea bass”, that is ever present amongst the 1993 tune. The song is finished by a riffy solo from Frusciante that is met with applause from the band. Listening to this track in 2022 should evoke excitement for fans upon Frusciante's return this summer.
These are just a few examples of funky tracks that did not receive as much recognition as they may have deserved, yet all still complete the body of work the band have produced since the late 80s. Here's to the next collection of Frusciante guitar riffs, funky Flea Bass Slaps, contagious Chad Smith drumming and attention-grabbing lyrics from Anthony Keidis.
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Words: Isabella Miller //@izzyrmiller
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