- Red Hot Chili Peppers: Anthony Kiedis (vocals); John Frusciante (guitar); Flea (bass); Chad Smith (drums).
- Recorded at Cello Studios and Chateau Merchant, Los Angeles, California.
- Building on the return of gifted guitarist John Frusciante on 1999's CALIFORNICATION, BY THE WAY finds the Red Hot Chili Peppers crafting an intricately crafted follow-up light years beyond the band's simple punk-funk origins. Re-teaming with longtime producer Rick Rubin, the Chili Peppers deftly add varied stylistic ingredients to a musical stew of unexpected nuance. Frusciante deals out brisk, flamenco-flavored acoustic rhythm guitar to the breezy Latin outing "Cabron," choppy chords on the ska-like "On Mercury," and double-tracked strands of guitar on "Dosed," a heartfelt ode to love.
- Amid this orgy of creative rediscovery, funk still remains an important component of the band's sound as evidenced by the infectious rhythms of Flea's bass playing and Frusciante's trademark chicken-scratch fretwork found on the tasty "Can't Stop" and the space-age tribal stomp of "Throw Away Your Television". Other high points find these Cali crazies stringing a distinct Motown beat and Beatles-flavored harmonies throughout the irresistible "Universally Speaking" and adding strings to the ruminative "Midnight," with its gradually escalating monster groove. Despite the daunting, 70-minute length of BY THE WAY, the mature execution and musical change-ups make this a major milestone in the Red Hot Chili Peppers canon.
Rolling Stone (7/25/02, p.71) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...A near-perfect balance of gutter grime and high-art aspiration....With the accomplished, insanely melodic BY THE WAY, RHCP dive headfirst into the pop realm that their 1999 single 'Scar Tissue' hineted at..."
Spin (1/03, p.72) - Ranked #25 on Spin's list of 2002's "Albums of the Year"
Spin (8/02, pp.61,2) - "...They may have made the years best rock record....BY THE WAY's sonic vibrancy, as well as its maturity, sounds like a band being reborn..."
Entertainment Weekly (7/12/02, pp.81-2) - "...An even more refined version of the Chili Peppers....the music is more earnest and lofty...with a cushion of Beach Boys pop harmonies here, a somber string-section intro there..." Rating: B
Q (12/02, p.68) - Included in Q Magazine's "The 50 Best Albums of 2002."
Q (8/02, p.118) - 5 stars out of 5 - "...They are at the peak of their game. They're also at the peak of everyone else's game. A fantastic record, full of wonder."
Uncut (9/02, p.118) - 3 stars out of 5 - "BY THE WAY presents a band who have mellowed and matured with unusual benefits to their music...jangling guitars, sunshine pop...allied to discreet electronic trim..."
CMJ (8/16/02, p.7) - "...Complex vocal harmonies and slick arrangements....the Chili Peppers are still making some of the best music of their career..."
Mojo (Publisher) (8/02, p.95) - "...The strongest Chili's album since 1991's BLOOD SUGAR SEX MAGIK..."
NME (Magazine) (7/13/02, p.36) - 8 out of 10 - "...By and large, very good..."