Greatest Hits

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Warner Bros, 2003

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


A perfect introduction to the latter-day Red Hot Chili Peppers, Greatest Hits does everything it's supposed to...and, yes, there are two new songs at the end.

This release brings together everything John Frusciante did with the band plus one song from "One Hot Minute" (the low-key "My Friends," which is one of the worst songs off that album) and the soundtrack-only "Soul to Squeeze," yet another rewrite of "Under the Bridge." Each Chili Peppers album has its own sound and style, but cherry-picking the hits results in a surprisingly strong listen.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The only song present from the 80s is the Stevie Wonder cover "Higher Ground," but those early songs take some getting used to and don't belong here. The usual four suspects from Blood Sugar Sex Magik are present; "Give It Away" remains a funky highlight of the band's career, while the acoustic "Breaking the Girl" is the most successful attempt to break the Peppers mold, even if "Under the Bridge" got more airplay.

No less than five songs are included from the abysmal Californication, although why "Parallel Universe" and "Road Trippin'" made the cut while the superior "Around the World" did not is a travesty. The selections from By The Way are just as odd; "The Zephyr Song" and "Can't Stop" were minor hits, but they are not here; "Universally Speaking" is here instead, along with the solid title track.

It's good to have "Soul to Squeeze" on an official CD; it's better to hear "Save the Population," a very good new number that is better than 3/4 of Californication but would have been out of place on By the Way. Aside from the minor quibbles above, this still is an engaging listen throughout that serves as a good-enough primer to the band.

Rating: B+

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