Red Hot Chili Peppers - By The Way
The Red Hot Chilli Peppers are a powerful argument against the notion that drugs aid creativity. Only since they kicked their heroin habits have they really begun to blossom as a band, resulting in over 12.5 million copies of their last album Californication. By The Way sees them mellowing even further, phasing out their old funk-rock rap in favour of bright tunes that wear their Motown and Latino influences firmly on their sleeve. Most interestingly of all, singer Anthony Kiedis has abandoned his shouty style for a more considered croon that renders his songs much more affecting. His new-found maturity has given the band the confidence to try all sorts of new tricks, from an unaccompanied string section to Hispanic acoustic guitars, all of which work extremely well. Their more morbid fans shouldn't fret too much, though andndash; the lyrics here are as unimpeachably dark and sleazy as ever, demonstrating that while the Peppers might be more sober these days they still haven't lost their powers of imagination. Slick, smooth and crammed with potential hits, By The Way should see them continue their triumphant march back towards American rock's premier league.
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