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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 18 March 2003
First things first, this is not normally what I would class as ‘my thing’, but after much deliberation I decided that I had to have this album. I can’t admit to being one of the Chili’s biggest fans up until now, even though I loved some of their older tracks, but ‘By the Way’ breaks away from a lot of their previous work, and is an eclectic and by all means amazing album.
‘By the way’ ‘The Zephyr song’ and ‘Can’t stop’ (with that amazing, random video!) have all done legendarily for this album, but there are many more tracks in the same wave as these, some even better, to be found on ‘By the way’. Anthony, John, Flea and Chad have definitely struck (multi) platinum with this….
By the way
Known by absolutely everyone, and I mean everyone! A brilliant track, and a great first choice release as it is a great poppy, rocky, punky outing, which sets the tone for the rest of the album to follow. In my opinion it is by no means the best track on the album, but the huge chorus and giant ‘singalong’ status just make this song!
Universally speaking
Might take a few listens! This track kicks in straight away with huge guitars and is very mellow but at the same time rocky. Shift down in gear from ‘By the way’, but with its hugely infectious chorus it certainly deserves a listen…..and another….and another :) .
This is the place
Probably my least favourite track of the album, but don’t let that put you off at all. In every sense ‘This is the place’ is still brill in the way only R.H.C.P know how. Twangy guitars and a heavy drumbeat overlay this song, which has a lot more depth than you might give it credit for at first.
This must be one of my favourites with its enormous bittersweet tone and soft guitars. (Now I start ranting about Kiedis’ voice :) ) Antony just carries this tune of sweetness and heartbreak as only he can (which in the hands of any other given singer might well start to drag) and makes ‘Dosed’ a completely listenable track.
Don’t forget me
Definitely not to be forgotten! Once again the guitar is first in, with Kiedis soon to follow, but as you begin to wonder when this track will really get started along comes the chorus, making you feel guilty that you ever considered reaching out to that skip button on your CD player!
The Zephyr song
Well known and well aired, but somehow it never seems to lose its appeal. Another favourite, which flows all the way with its hippy, punky style and psychedelic guitars. (Just so you know ‘zephyr’ is a mild, gentle breeze. Impress your friends with that one!)
Can’t stop
Isn’t this song just the album in a whole? The build up comes from nowhere, and as it gathers momentum you know that you should prepare for something huge. Can’t stop delivers its promise and has to rank as the best track released from this album with its funky, raucous guitars and Anthony’s trademark rap style just making it all perfect. Upbeat and funky, what else could we ask?
I could die for you
As this song starts, so you begin to wonder ‘Oh no, so the filler must start here’, but for a R.H.C.P ballad ‘I could die for you’ has obviously been included for good reason. Despite the claims of arrogant self promotion with this track, give it a chance and take a few listens to reveal its full merit, and the sentimentality laid momentarily bare in the most revealing way.
A pretty, soft violin introduction leads in to ‘midnight’, but before you have a chance to think ‘Another ballad?’ in comes the guitar and swirling sound effects to another amazingly catchy chorus. Honestly, you will not be able to stop humming it for days!
Throw away your television
At first listen there doesn’t appear to be very much to this track, with a continuous deep base carrying it along, however there is a beauty in the simplicity of Kiedis going it alone with little accompaniment.
‘Well this is unexpected isn’t it!’ Latin inspired guitars and more than a little bit of ‘country’ influence have gone in to this track, and you could well be forgiven for forgetting that this is a Chilis album. But this just works so well for them, showing their ability to pull off a huge number of styles, never more so than in B.T.W.
Another ballady influence in the very best possible sense, please give it a try. I have said it once, and I stand by the fact that the Chilis can make almost anything work for them. In this bittersweet track, the chorus is amazingly uplifting, with more than a touch of Kiedis’ magic.
On Mercury
You just can’t help but love this track! Ska influenced funky punk lifting the tone of the album (I have seen a whole pub come to life with this song!), which you will just want to put on repeat for hours. The harmonies that are really effective on this album are obvious in this case, backing on to Anthony’s perfectly morphing voice.
Minor thing
Cool, rocky punky track, watch out for that guitar again! Another change in tone, with its upbeat vocals leading in to the amazingly captivating rappy bit (bit part, Mozart….), which helps make this track another one of my favourites.
Warm tape
Interesting synth beginning leading in to a much softer, laid back song which comes straight out of the blue, adding to the expansion of styles under their musical belt.
Venice Queen
Insignificant on first listen but definitely a grower. The haunting opening precedes a soulful Kiedis, once again supported by soft harmonies to the change halfway through, picking up the tone and pace to a brilliant end to an exceptional album.
Despite being such a long album, ‘By the way’ just leaves you wanting more, and I would recommend it to anyone at all. Even if you never thought this would be for you, give it a chance and you are bound to like one of the songs of the massively appealing album. So until the next album, just savour B.T.W as it deserves, and Anthony and co. please deliver for all of us converts, keep doing this and you can’t go wrong.
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on 25 February 2003
When I bought this album I was not expecting much. After I had played it I couldn't of hoped for anything more. This album truly is the greatest musical work ever with amazing and even beautiful tracks from the funky, fast-paced Can't Stop to the poetic ballads like Midnight and the brilliant, brilliant Venice Queen.
The masterpiece begins with title track By the Way which is a brilliant start which is one of the rockiest and most energetic tracks. second is Universally Speaking which takes things to a slower, more tuneful song before we're thrust into This is the Place which takes us back to a urban, funky style. Fourthly comes Dosed, one of the highlight tracks with female backing vocals perfectly complementing Kiedis' and a long remembered tune to the verses. Fifth is don't forget me with a rip-roaring, loud chorus. Next is the zephyr song a psychedelic, hippy style ballad followed by can't Stop, a catchy rap number. Eighth is i could die for you, poppy, soulful love ballad, then great Midnight with violin backing and a sing-along ending. After that is Throw away your Television a strange techno/funk song and then Cabron aflamenco guitar and spanish lyrics bonanza. Tear takes the mood to sorrowful again before the surreal lyrics and harmonia of On Mercury. Minor thing comes after which is a fast-paced track, then the mellow verses and breakout chorus of Warm Tape. Lastly Venice Queen explodes out with an awesome lyrical style and change of mood halfway through.
Buy it now whoever you are!
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on 12 November 2003
Let me just say this: Before By the Way I was never into the Chili Peppers, but after this incredible album I am now a huge fan. There is no album that anyone should find more engrossing than By the Way. There are so many great songs on this album it is almost impossible to choose the best one.
'By the Way', one of the Chili Peppers' most well-known songs, is an excellent opening track to this awesome album. Fast beats and funky style lyrics, this track is one of the best on the album.
'Universally Speaking', an excellent Chili Peppers track known everywhere features a great blend of guitars and vocals, a perfect second track to the album.
Next is 'This is the Place', a different style to the first two with a very catchy chorus.
'Dosed' slides in next, as one of the Chili Peppers' slower, more emotional tracks; a brilliant title to their collection.
'Don't Forget Me', the fourth track, won't favour everyone's style, but still rocks.
'The Zephyr Song', a hugely popular track which is without doubt one of the best titles on the album, features a gentle chorus following a funky set of verses.
'Can't Stop', one of the Chili Peppers' finest songs and in my opinion the best track on the album. It has an awesome build-up which leads into a track which is simply superb.
'I Could Die For You', sure to melt every heart, comes in as the seventh track on the album. Peacefully slow with a great vocal rhythm.
'Midnight', another great track on the album, follows, choosing a softer tone to slow the pace in this section of the album.
'Throw Away Your Television', a faster style of rock, the Chili Peppers accelerate the rhythm pace to a funky combo of drums and guitars.
'Cabron', a heavily underrated track. After a few listens you can't help liking the brilliant selection of beats and a rhythm that won't slow down.
'Tear', a demonstration of how well the Chili Peppers can find a different style of funk rock to suit the fans.
'On Mercury', a perfect mix of drums, guitars and Kiedis' vocals to keep the satisfying rhythm of their album flowing.
'Minor Thing' adds more funk to their style of rock, coming in at the fourteenth track for some great lyrics.
'Warm Tape', a nice follow-up to the funkier tracks, milestones the album at number fifteen for those Chili Pepper drums, guitars and vocals once more.
'Venice Queen', the perfect finale to the album, though somewhat lengthy, gradually speeds up the pace right up to the end of the album.
Overall, this is a smash hit, best-selling album, which will be remembered as the Red Hot Chili Peppers' rise to power as one of the most outstanding bands in the world. Buy this album now!
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on 16 July 2002
Ok, it's best to forewarn you all now. Those wishing for an album filled with the raucous funk of 'BSSM' and parts of 'Californication' aren't going to find it here (the title track is as near as it gets). But if you want the Pepps most mature, melodic and soul-grippingly emotive works since 'Under The Bridge' then you'll be extremely happy. This is the sound of the boys taking a well-deserved breath and looking back upon what has been a a painful path to the top for them. Yes, the quirky side is still there ('Cabron' is a simple yet playful tune) but the album is filled with well-written, introspective songs filled with meaning. Highlights? Hard to say, as there really isn't a weak track surfacing here (the guys have hit a consistency lacking on all their other albums - fillers have no room on 'By The Way'). 'Dosed', 'Venice Queen' and 'Zephyr Song' are truly great, and would sit easily amongst the best of the back catalogue. But, for me, 'Midnight' is outstanding. An epic melody with a massive amount of heart and no little soul, it's a true Pepps classic and deserves a single release. But then again, so does every other track here.
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on 22 July 2002
Working in a CD shop, I constantly checked the 'upcoming release' information for the latest information on the new Chilis album. After being put back a few times, I was delighted when the date was confirmed and excitedly pre-ordered it.
Although maybe not as instantly good as Californication, its still an amazingly good album, and, as someone has said, even on the not-so-good songs, they still surpass the majority of todays music with style and ease. A track by track break down:
1. By The Way
Title track and first single, the most notably 'Chilis-sounding' song here. Nice chorus (reminiscent of Cali) with funky bass laden interruptions. Great, but not the best here.
2. Universally Speaking
Mid paced effort, nice chorus with strange twirly noises.
3. This Is The Place
One of my faves here. Good bassline, my bet on being the next single. Also the first track where the lyrics appeal, interesting and thoughtful...
4. Dosed
A slow, beautiful song with gorgeous guitar. I actually prefer the verse to the chorus.
5. Don't Forget Me
Catchy intro, really good song with climatic chorus.
6. The Zephyr Song
Slow-ish track, with soaring chorus
7. Can't Stop
GRRRRRRRRRREAT guitar intro, quite old style Chilis with slightly rap-ish vocals. Overall I really love it.
8. I Could Die For You
Slow filler type, still pretty good though.
9. Midnight
At first, one of the song that seems like filler. After a few listens you realise this mid tempo harmony laden song has its place.
10. Throw Away Your Television
Together with the title track, the only one that sounds like the former Chilis. However, this is actually my least fave song here.
11. Cabron
Great Spanish guitar opens this track before it turns into a strange singalong. The first time I listened to it I admit I was quite embarrassed to admit I liked it!
12. Tear
Piano led Beach Boys-esque slow song. Nice.
13. On Mercury
Jolly ska Madness type thing.....strange but weirdly good :)
14. Minor Thing
At first seemed like filler but is now actually one of my faves.
15. Warm Tape
Good, but one of those not-so-memorable tracks.
16. Venice Queen
Atmospheric closer
Overall, don't expect BSSM. There is some evidence of the Californication intertwining vocals (great back up by John) and a more relaxed mellow vibe. A surprisingly beautiful album.
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on 23 October 2002
Well, what can I say? I am a big fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but even if I hated them, I would still have to write a good review of this album. We start with the Single "By the Way." Good, very good, but the album gets better! The first couple of times I listened to the album I was actually disappointed. But after a while I started to realise the musical genius in the album. It's fantastic! I will rate all the songs at the end of this review. "Can't Stop" is a song that will always get me up in the morning as it builds so much tension, and has a beautifully sung chorus. "This Is the place," again great. This was the first track that stuck out and caught my attention. After hearing it a couple of times I started to realize that there was a lot of quality in the album. All through the album, Flea does nothing but prove that he's a musical genius. Then when you don't think the album could get any better, they put "Venice Queen" at the end. HOW DID THEY THINK IT UP?? They just brought out the second single from the album, "The Zephyr Song." Well that is also amazing, but I would suggest that they bring out "Venice Queen" very soon! It's just outstanding!! The album is a great mix of guitar solos, amazing bass riffs and beautiful vocal harmonies, supported with a strong drum rhythm section. As I listen to this album, I have to compare it with the older albums by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This album seems to give the impression that the Red Hot Chili Peppers have calmed down after previous singles such as "Give it Away," "Get on Top," and "Around the World." However, this album is by far the best work they have done. If they were to bring out a "Best of the Chili Peppers" C.D., (which would be impossible as it would have to be 3 or 4 C.Ds long!) then at least 50% of the tracks on it would be from the album, "By the Way." What more can I say? Well... I just hope they bring out another album in the next couple of years, because it will be beyond extremities! If you think there is a better album than "By the Way" out at the moment, then you are a fool.
The album in a few words? Musical Genius of the Highest Degree!!!
Track Ratings as of the opinion of Ben MacKinnon, by stars (1=poor, 3=good, 5=excellent):
1 - By the Way - ****
2 - Universally Speaking - ***
3 - This Is the Place - ****
4 - Dosed - ****
5 - Don't Forget Me - ****
6 - The Zephyr Song - ****
7 - Can't Stop - *****
8 - I Could Die for You - ****
9 - Midnight - ****
10 - Throw Away Your Television - ****
11 - Cabron - ***
12 - Tear - *****
13 - On Mercury - ****
14 - Minor Thing - ****
15 - Warm Tape - ***
16 - Venice Queen - *****
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on 11 February 2014
Only arrived yesterday. I know the album well from CD but have recently been buying vinyl instead. When I saw I could get this album on vinyl for about £12, including postage, it was a no-brainer.

I am not disappointed. There is such a difference. I have to admit I don't have a great CD player and I do have a brilliant turntable. I have several albums on CD and vinyl, normally there's an improvement (in my opinion) but for this album there was so much more depth and detail from the vinyl. The pressing is clean, the vinyl is heavy (180g?) and it's just wonderful.

Like the Chillis? Like vinyl? You'll love this.
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on 28 October 2015
What can I say, what an incredible album, every track is amazing, 'throw away your television' is the weakest but stil great particularly live, features the Chilis greatest line up of course of kiedes, frusciante, flea and Smith, impossible to pick my favourite track by the way, dosed, the zephyr song, tear, on mercury, minor thing, Venice queen, can't stop etc I couldn't possibly choose, this album always reminds me of a great time in life aswell, I always say this is the album that got me into the Chilis and music in general because at the time I wasn't a huge fan of music but by the way changed that it made me go back and buy all of chilis previous stuff and Ive been hooked since, I am a massive chilis fan so I love near enough all there songs but I know people who hate the Chilis but stil love this record. I also love the fact this was my first ever album also the greatest?! Don't take my word for it buy it and hear for yaself!! If you think your not a fan of the Chilis this record may change your mind it's that great. The best ever album?! My opinion and it's also a fact
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on 4 November 2015
Surely one of the band's best albums, if not THE best. The track 'Throw Away Your Television,' plus two others towards the end of the album, didn't quite do anything for me. That said, it could just be that the album is over-long and could have done with 'Throw Away..' being, well... thrown away(sorry).
Seriously, though, it is a great album and the fact that it may be over-long and contain one-or-two unwelcome tracks is not a problem as the rest of the songs over-compensate because they're so good!
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on 16 January 2003
This is a great album, no mistaking it. I did buy this the day it was released and was really pleased driving around enjoying the new tracks that most people had not yet heard.
With myself I found that all the songs I liked on first hearing. I was a bit worried, as normally the albums I really like don't have a superficial appeal and I grow to appreciate them after hearing them many times. However, this album was different. I continued to play it, and to like it more and more.
I took it to my friends to play as we had a BBQ on a hot summer evening.... the same effect on them. I did play this album a lot, maybe too much, then I started listening to some other artisits for a while...but only a little while. A great talking point too when you meet someone new, they are bound to like this album as well ;)
Interestingly, I found the tracks all quite varied and the compositions involving and diverse. Throughout the album there is a fusion of different feels, even within single tracks.
"Can't Stop" has a rap feel to the lyrical rythm, and then throughout a melodic break, the guitar has a distinctly reggae feel.
"Midnight" starts with a pleasant classical strings introduction, and then follows with a progression of different stages that remind me of "Scooby Doo" to back street New York gang lands.
"Zephyr Song" and "By The Way" are just very cool and funky. "Tear" has something like a trumpet line in it throughout the introduction? Not really what you would expect?
Don't know what to say about "Warm Tape"? Where did that come from? I like it but not sure why? "Venice Queen" is just fantastic with the most ambient introduction sequence on the album, with reflective and mournful elements.
Plenty of harmonisations to keep your interest too. I really feel that the punctuation and rythm used in the vocal lines are one of the main attractions of this band, suppported by excellent musician ship and compositional ability (and a fine production team). Almost certainly you will enjoy this album, and certainly grow to love it. RHCP - Still setting a huge influence on the music industry.
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