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Ranking: Every Red Hot Chili Peppers Song From Worst to Best

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Most bands are lucky to have two eras of flavors; the Red Hot Chili Peppers, despite their lyrical monotony, have far more than that. Some prefer the Hillel Slovak days, some think the first Frusciante era is better than the second (and vice versa), and a select few think the albums with Dave Navarro or Josh Klinghoffer on guitar are best. What makes the band amazing at their best are the same things that make them bad at their worst; it’s a fine line to walk. Throw in an insane amount of B-sides (and a cheesy-titled B-side album, I’m Beside You), and you have 236 officially released studio recordings of the Red Hot Chili Peppers — and five other writers and I sat through all of them, multiple times, and enjoyed it. Well, most of it.

The rankings of The Getaway songs are included here, because a complete list must be complete. The struggle was very real: Do you give extra credit for a co-write with Elton John and Bernie Taupin or less? Are the singles really the best tracks on the album? We argued over the melancholy mechanics, we hashed it out, and we decided.

What’s missing here? The official live recordings, as it opens a gateway to “What isn’t a Red Hot Chili Peppers song?” There will be no “Rolling Sly Stone” from Live at Hyde Park, no awkward version of “Californication” from the Teatro sessions, no version of “Tiny Dancer” that claims to be a Buzzcocks cover. If it’s a studio recording of something you could legally purchase, we did not forget it, and we did not hide it. We listened to it. We ranked it. We could have lied abut it, but we didn’t. I know you have your opinions, but this is the place you’ll find ours.

–Dan Bogosian
Staff Writer

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236. “The Hunter”

The Getaway (2016)

red hot chili peppers getaway stream mp3 album Ranking: Every Red Hot Chili Peppers Song From Worst to Best
“Even though you raised me, I will never be your father” and “can’t find my pants or my bank account” are two of the stronger lyrics in this song. The music, for those who haven’t heard it yet, is a puffy, cloudy, and unending stream of the same three chords with a bad melody as its focus point. It’s painful; it hurts. — Dan Bogosian
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235. “Deck the Halls”

Out in L.A. (1994)


Why did the Red Hot Chili Peppers do a childish a capella cover of “Deck the Halls”? I don’t know, man. I just don’t know. —Dan Bogosian
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234. “Sex Rap”

Freaky Styley (1985)


Of all the Chili Peppers’ poor takes on human sexuality, this embarrassing attempt to cram as many sexual references as possible into two minutes wins the prize for the most juvenile. –David Sackllah
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233. “Mommy, Where’s Daddy?”

The Red Hot Chili Peppers (1984)


Intended to be a slinky sex song. Winds up as an unintentional warning about the dangers of pedophiles. –Wren Graves
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232. “Encore”

The Getaway (2016)

red hot chili peppers getaway stream mp3 album Ranking: Every Red Hot Chili Peppers Song From Worst to Best
Some songs are so generic that it’s hard to even make a clever joke about them. This is like that. Apparently, it’s by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. –Dan Bogosian
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231. “Feasting on the Flowers”

The Getaway (2016)

red hot chili peppers getaway stream mp3 album Ranking: Every Red Hot Chili Peppers Song From Worst to Best
Picture the Red Hot Chili Peppers writing a Broadway musical and doing it poorly. This is that song. –Dan Bogosian
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230. “Hump de Bump”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)


You know what was a good song? “American Ghost Dance”. You know what wasn’t good? When the Red Hot Chili Peppers ripped off their own funk song and dumbed it down with a chorus of “hump de bump.” –Dan Bogosian
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229. “Special Secret Song Inside”

The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987)

The original title of this song is “Party On Your Pussy”. It’s almost like they want you to know they had some indefensibly bad ideas. –Dan Bogosian
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228. “Politician (Mini Rap)”

“Higher Ground” Single (1989)

As the B-side to “Higher Ground”, there was absolutely no point in recording this. It would have been better left on the cutting room floor. –Kyle Eustice
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227. “Even You Brutus?”

I’m With You (2011)

Between the nonsensical ranting in the cadence of gospel music, the generic, bland melodies of the chorus, the ill-advised historical/religious references, and an almost predatory approach towards younger women, it’s impressive how many bad ideas the latter-day Peppers were able to combine in one song. –David Sackllah
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226. “Go Robot”

The Getaway (2016)

red hot chili peppers getaway stream mp3 album Ranking: Every Red Hot Chili Peppers Song From Worst to Best
Remember those bad, fake-funk songs from I’m With You? This is like the same band trying to rip off themselves at their worst. Make it stop. –Dan Bogosian
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225. “You Always Sing the Same”

The Red Hot Chili Peppers (1984)

This song is really stupid, this song is really stupid, this song is really stupid. This song is really stupid, this song is really stupid, this song is really stupid. –Dan Bogosian
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224. “Victorian Machinery”

I’m Beside You (2013)

Sloppy and lacking any funk whatsoever, they were trying to experiment too much with this one. It sounds more like Soundgarden than classic RHCP. –Kyle Eustice
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223. “Dance, Dance, Dance”

I’m With You (2011)

Even thinking about this song makes me shudder. It’s one thing if you want to write a corny dance-pop song; it’s another thing to make the chorus of that song “Dance, dance, dance.” –Dan Bogosian
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222. “No Chump Love Sucker”

The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987)

No matter how many times you repeat it, no matter what cadence it is said in, the phrase “no chump love sucker” is just clunky word mashing from the band that trades in clunky word mashing. –Philip Cosores
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221. “Police Station”

I’m With You (2011)

Ah, Kiedis’ romantic ode to the prostitute that got away (I think … the lyrics don’t make much sense). Stylistically, it’s an over-produced slop that doesn’t fit the band at all, with its AOR backing vocals and awkward attempt at some sort of Americana. –David Sackllah
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220. “Grand Pappy Du Plenty”

The Red Hot Chili Peppers (1984)

A single musical idea stretched out over four interminable minutes. –Wren Graves
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219. “Happiness Loves Company”

I’m With You (2011)

Although a positive song with a well-intentioned message, it’s so unlike anything they’ve ever done. I feel like it could be sung in some horrendous community playhouse production. –Kyle Eustice
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218. “Turn It Again”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

After getting through nearly two hours of music, including the largely boring back half of Stadium Arcadium’s second disc, listeners were treated to another tired rehash of what they’d done better at least 15 times on the same album. –David Sackllah
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217. “Goodbye Hooray”

I’m With You (2011)

At least the older bad RHCP songs are true failures, with sparks of creativity present. Latter ones like this are just devoid of imagination, going through the motions of mediocrity. Plus the slowed-down, psych elements of the bridge don’t fit in at all here. –David Sackllah
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216. “Magpies On Fire”

I’m Beside You (2013)

It’s all downhill from the title. Lots of mewling but zero fire. –Wren Graves
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215. “So Much I”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

From the stutter masquerading as a pre-chorus to the whiny hook, Kiedis spends a whole song talking about himself without saying anything. It’s the sonic equivalent of getting cornered at a party by a drunken bore. –Wren Graves
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214. “Millionaires Against Hunger”

“Knock Me Down” Single (1989)

A send-up of the charitable songs that were made famous in the ’80s might have been a good idea if it was actually funny. –Philip Cosores
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213. “Stranded”

Out in L.A. (1994)

Few songs come close to describing the universality of the human condition and the struggles we all face on a daily basis. In less than 30 seconds, the band perfectly captures the anxiety of the situation that is presented, one that nearly every one of us has been faced with at some point in our lives. If you haven’t listened yet, I’d rather not “spoil it” for you here. –David Sackllah
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212. “Battleship”

Freaky Styley (1985)

Ever wondered what the B-52’s would sound like produced by George Clinton? Well, here’s your answer, and it is just as frightening as you can imagine. –Philip Cosores
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211. “Detroit”

The Getaway (2016)

red hot chili peppers getaway stream mp3 album Ranking: Every Red Hot Chili Peppers Song From Worst to Best
Los Angeles is to “Californication” as Detroit is to “Detroit”. Unfortunately, apart from the heavy guitar riff, there isn’t much worth listening to here. –Dan Bogosian
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210. “Walkin’ On Down the Road”

The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987)

“Everybody knows and everybody thinks that I’ve done wrong” sounds like it should be sung by a bunch of drunk college kids drinking PBR. –Kyle Eustice
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209. “Catch My Death”

I’m Beside You (2013)

Serious subject matter (suicide) isn’t necessarily a bad look for the band. Many of their greatest songs have weight to them. The bad part of this is a forced maturity that strips the band of any personality. –Philip Cosores
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208. “Meet Me At the Corner”

I’m With You (2011)

Pleasant enough, but Frusciante’s presence is sorely missed. You can’t help but wonder if he could have elevated the underlying guitar line from breezy to tastefully dynamic. –Dan Caffrey
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207. “In Love Dying”

I’m Beside You (2013)

Like most of the I’m With/Beside You tracks, it’s harmless and never takes off enough to justified the bloated runtime. —Dan Caffrey
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206. “We Believe”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

Kiedis is almost too chill on this track. It’s like adult contemporary Peppers, a far cry from the crew we met in 1985. –Kyle Eustice
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205. “Your Eyes Girl “

I’m Beside You (2013)

I’m Beside You would have worked better if it was marketed as a minor B-sides compilation. But the double-LP treatment lathers on the slowed-down throwaways like this one until they’ve gone from mediocre to taxing. –Dan Caffrey
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204. “Why Don’t You Love Me”

The Red Hot Chili Peppers (1984)

A lot of artists improve Hank Williams songs when they cover them (Dropkick Murphys, The Nightwatchman, and so forth). Few artists have worsened a Hank Williams song like this. –Dan Bogosian
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203. “Love of Your Life”

I’m Beside You (2013)

If there was more intensity at play, the “Roll in, roll out” could be a stoned sea shanty. Unfortunately, the softness keeps the pirate ship tethered to the dock of your local Margaritaville, even if it doesn’t have a dock to begin with. Especially if it doesn’t have a dock to begin with. –Dan Caffrey
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202. “Storm In a Teacup”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

At first blush, it’s another forgettable mid-tempo rocker, with Kiedis mocking the tears of an overly dramatic woman. But the references to her “shady” reputation, and his other insinuations about her sexual activity, are worse than dull; the song smacks of condescension and slut-shaming. –Wren Graves
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201. “Slowly Deeply”

“Universally Speaking” Single (2003)

Not sure what the proper name is for that guitar effect. The tin can? Let’s call it the tin can. –Dan Caffrey
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200. “Brave From Afar”

I’m Beside You (2013)

Oi, these verses. One of the first white boys to mix rock and rap, Kiedis is now half-assing both simultaneously. There’s no melodic charm or percussive force; he’s just saying words. –Wren Graves
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199. “The Sunset Sleeps”

I’m Beside You (2013)

At some point in every rock singer’s life comes a crisis of conscience where they wonder whether they could pretend singing a track as if they were Dave Matthews. At least Kiedis had the decency to relegate his attempt to a B-side. –David Sackllah
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198. “Police Helicopter”

The Red Hot Chili Peppers (1984)

I bet this song was more fun to record than to listen to. It’s around this point on the self-titled debut that the “coked-out Tasmanian devil” shtick starts to wear thin. –Wren Graves
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197. “If”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

For a band that’s usually bombastic, it’s sobering to hear RHCP sound so slight that they could just disappear. –Philip Cosores
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196. “Funky Crime”

The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987)

There’s a moment a little more than a minute in where it sounds like Kiedis is motorboating at a strip club. Nothing about the rest of the song is as memorable. –Philip Cosores
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195. “Runaway”

By the Way Bonus Track (2002)

Journeyman music for journeys that never make it out of the valley. –Dan Caffrey
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194. “Baby Appeal”

The Red Hot Chili Peppers (1984)

RHCP would figure out how to make their funk not so wooden on later albums. Here though, they sing and play like marionettes. Just because you put a tube sock on Pinocchio’s dick (and nose) doesn’t make him a real boy. –Dan Caffrey
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193. “Bicycle Song”

By the Way Bonus Track (2002)

“How could I forget to mention the bicycle is a good invention.” Maybe so, Anthony Kiedis, but “Bicycle Song” is a bad song. —Dan Bogosian
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192. “Animal Bar”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

What the hell is this song about? Where I live, we don’t have drugs powerful enough to turn this string of non-sequiters into sense. –Wren Graves
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191. “Fat Dance”

Californication Bonus Track (1999)

(Hi-)hat tip to Chad Smith for getting those drums to crash like they do in the intro. Too bad Kiedis’ sex-monkey thing doesn’t fit in with the rest of the Californication sessions, save for “Get on Top” (more on that in a bit). –Dan Caffrey
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190. “This Ticonderoga”

The Getaway (2016)

red hot chili peppers getaway stream mp3 album Ranking: Every Red Hot Chili Peppers Song From Worst to Best
This song would be good — that Queen-esque guitar line is so distinct that heavy riff is blissful. Well, it would be good if the lyrics weren’t some of the worst Kiedis has ever produced, but they are. “You and I would not repent for sitting on my elephant.” Okay. –Dan Bogosian
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189. “Warlocks”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

This song was the last Billy Preston appearance released before his death. Unfortunately, it’s a lousy song to go out on. –Dan Bogosian
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188. “Lovin’ and Touchin'”

Freaky Styley (1985)

Those Beach Boys harmonies aren’t half bad. If the song was longer than 36 seconds, it could have been an unparalleled gem on Freaky Styley. –Dan Caffrey
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187. “Never Is a Long Time”

I’m Beside You (2013)

Josh Klinghoffer wore a hoodie with this song’s title on it before the song came out. It’s a shame the song couldn’t live up to its hoodie hype. –Dan Bogosian
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186. “Catholic School Girls Rule”

Freaky Styley (1985)

Let’s just put aside the music for a second and focus on grown men crafting an ode to the awesomeness of Catholic school girls. What is meant as funny comes off more on the creepy side. –Philip Cosores
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185. “Pink As Floyd”

I’m Beside You (2013)

You know a band’s become dad rock when they start half-assing their classic rock references. “Pink as floyd? Yeah. Done.” –Dan Bogosian
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184. “Readymade”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

That bass line was readymade by Jane’s Addiction on “Mountain Song”, although the two riffs aren’t quite identical. Stadium Arcadium has a lot of great songs, but “Readymade” marks the point on the second disc where that ceases to be true. –Wren Graves
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183. “Strange Man”

I’m Beside You (2013)

I think this is about Kiedis being upset about people who want to sleep with him because he’s rich, which I suppose is a valid concern. It’s mostly an examination of how much better (or not bad) it could have been with Frusciante’s guitar though. –David Sackllah
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182. “Save This Lady”

“Desecration Smile” Single (2007)

I’m with the Peps until Frusciante stops doing that cool palm-mute thing. He should’ve kept going! –Dan Caffrey
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181. “Hanalei”

I’m Beside You (2013)

Catchy tune notwithstanding, here’s everything that’s wrong with the latter-day Peppers. This is a song about revolution that is also about taking an expensive vacation to Hawaii and getting laid. –Wren Graves
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180. “C’mon Girl”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

It’s ageist to assume that the band can’t still pull off more rocking funk jams in their later years, but the problem here lies in the dichotomy between the sedate verses that all of a sudden try to transition into a more rushing chorus. That jarring juxtaposition falls flat, resulting in one of the many Stadium Arcadium tracks that could have been cut for time. –David Sackllah
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179. “Emit Remmus”

Californication (1999)

As accomplished and classic as Californication was, like any RHCP album, it has its fair share of duds. This is one of its most egregious, with Kiedis turning in a startlingly menacing snarl on the chorus that feels antithetical to this tale of a Californian falling for a British woman. –David Sackllah
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178. “Love Trilogy”

The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987)

“Trilogy” sells it short. This is a full Bible of half-baked declarations of love. –Wren Graves
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177. “Did I Let You Know”

I’m With You (2011)

The trumpets and bongos are a nice touch, but any song that uses “Mozambiquey” as an adjective (especially one by RHCP) isn’t much more than cultural tourism. Surprisingly one of their lesser offenses, though. –David Sackllah
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176. “Sexy Mexican Maid”

Mother’s Milk (1989)

Eh, this I could have done without. I really don’t need to hear Kiedis fantasizing about some perceived sexy Mexican maid. Next! –Kyle Eustice
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175. “Hey”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

Stadium Arcadium Disc One is largely a triumph, full of the band’s best songs of the 2000s, songs that helped reinvigorate their career and usher in a new generation of fans who were children during their golden years. That’s why it’s so upsetting that what could have been a triumphant closer was instead a plodding slow-jam. They could have at least had the decency of re-sequencing and burying this on Disc Two. –David Sackllah
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174. “Over Funk”

Californication Bonus Track (1999)

Don’t panic at the title. Flea’s bass kicks in as soon as the track begins to assure the band is not “over funk.” They do appear to be over writing great melodies, which the Californication sessions were known for. You can’t win them all. –Philip Cosores
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173. “Joe”

“Desecration Smile” Single (2007)

Ooo, some reggae by the pool. Sun’s out. Got a Corona in my hand. Nice. Getting hotter. Corona’s gone warm. Still got the lime. Skin’s red. Should get out. Too relaxed. Lime’s dry. Should’ve worn sunscreen. This was a bad idea. Oh well. –Dan Caffrey
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172. “Organic Anti-Beat Box Band”

The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987)

The Peppers wrote this song as a mission statement after Gang of Four’s Andy Gill forced them to use drum machines as the producer of their self-titled debut. Over 30 years later, this song feels as dated as a 1980’s drum machine. –Dan Bogosian
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171. “Strip My Mind”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

“Strip My Mind” sounds like a John Frusciante solo song but with Anthony Kiedis on vocals, Flea on bass, and Chad Smith on drums. The problem is it also sounds like a mediocre Frusciante solo song. –Dan Bogosian
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170. “Flea Fly”

Out in L.A. (1994)

More a children’s chant than anything, this will always have a soft spot in my heart because our high school drama teacher would use it as a vocal warm-up. Wonder if he got it from the Chili Peppers… –Dan Caffrey
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169. “Subterranean Homesick Blues”

The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987)

Originally a 1965 Bob Dylan song, Gregory Isaacs, bluegrass artist Tim O’Brien, Harry Nilsson, and of course, the RHCP have all covered it. A lot of Dylan fans, however, think it’s complete crap. –Kyle Eustice
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168. “One Hot Minute”

One Hot Minute (1995)

It’s fitting that the title track from their Dave Navarro album sounds like a stoner rock version of Jane’s Addiction. It’s aimless, lacks elegance, goes on for way too long, but it’s kinda charming if you squint really hard. –Philip Cosores
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167. “Hometown Gypsy”

I’m With You (2011)

The country-rock arrangement is a welcome change of pace, even if hearing a 50-year-old man describe himself as being “Jacked up on some Kerouac” is more than a little silly. –Dan Caffrey
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166. “Buckle Down”

The Red Hot Chili Peppers (1984)

You can’t be too hard on music the guys recorded in 1984. Is there any sign of the high points that were to come? Nope. But is it a drag to get through? Nope. –Philip Cosores
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165. “Savior”

Californication (1999)

You can’t really talk about alt-rock radio in the last 25 years without talking about RHCP, but they always seemed to exist slightly outside of the prevalent trends, marching to the beat of their own drum (which was plenty flawed, but at least individually expressive). This was one of the moments where they veered a little too close to the norm at a time when they were making some of the best music of their career. –David Sackllah
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164. “Dani California”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

Theoretically, there’s only so much you can mine out of re-purposing a decades-old Tom Petty song as the lead single for your longest album to date, but this somehow became one of the band’s most successful singles. Chalk it up to general audiences not wanting to be challenged perhaps. As catchy and memorable as the song may be, the fact that it so blatantly recycles ideas from both inside and outside the band puts it closer to the bottom of this list than the top. –David Sackllah
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163. “This Is the Kitt”

I’m Beside You (2013)

Grooves a tad more if you imagine Kiedis is singing about Eartha Kitt. But just a tad. –Dan Caffrey
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162. “Especially In Michigan”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

This is Kiedis’ homage to his home state of Michigan, full of, as he says, “Double chins and bowling pins.” For the lyrics, the fun is in the details, although how interesting you find those details might dovetail with the amount of time you’ve spent in the Mitten State. –Wren Graves
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161. “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie”

I’m With You (2011)

It’s not their best single, but as their first single in five years after Frusciante left, the fact that it’s just okay was enough for most fans. At the very least, it was a sign that the band could still make fairly competent songs as they entered this latest stage in their life cycle. –David Sackllah
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160. “Stretch (a.k.a. Stretch You Out)”

“My Friends” Single (1995)

The bass is nasty good. The lyrics are nasty bad. –Wren Graves
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159. “Nevermind”

Freaky Styley (1985)

As forgettable as most of this song is, George Clinton’s production cues and horn arrangements work really well to give the track moments of drama. –Philip Cosores
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158. “Let’s Make Evil”

“My Friends” Single (1995)

The sun-kissed harmonies in the chorus almost make up for the thudding guitar crunch in the verses. Almost. –Dan Caffrey
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157. “Warm Tape”

By the Way (2002)

RHCP just don’t know when to end an album, dragging them out past the point of exhaustion with middling B-sides that just aren’t necessary. This song is nice enough, with a pretty chorus, but never rises above the level of inessential. —David Sackllah
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156. “She’s Only 18”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

Legend has it that Kiedis wrote the song about his then (20-year-old) girlfriend Heather Christie, with whom he has a child. It’s another “Gee, sex is fun!” song, but Kiedis has never been one to shy away from the old maxim “Write what you know.” –Wren Graves
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155. “Bunker Hill”

“Fortune Faded” Single (2003)

One of the many RHCP tunes where the hook (and the only non-meandering part of the song) lies in Flea’s bass. –Dan Caffrey
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154. “Universally Speaking”

By the Way (2002)

The band went way back for this love song, to The Beatles and early psychedelia. “Universally Speaking” has always felt like a turning point — the first indication that the Peps were getting older, becoming less raunchy, and developing a sappy side. –Wren Graves
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153. “Open/Close”

I’m Beside You (2013)

Spoken-word, presumably real-life stories over a funk jam is actually a pretty good idea for a Chili Peppers song. Just two problems: 1) The stories aren’t that good or crazy to begin with and 2) Kiedis stutters and shuffles his feet so much that he sounds like an actor who hasn’t memorized his lines. –Dan Caffrey
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152. “Eskimo”

“Fortune Faded” Single (2003)

The Peps love to introduce an unconventional musical element, then almost immediately discard it. Here, that sonic flourish is the harpsichord, which introduces “Eskimo” and pops up once again in the first verse before going away. At that point, it’s just another Chili Peppers song. –Dan Caffrey
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151. “Magic Johnson”

Mother’s Milk (1989)

In junior high, I played on the basketball team and thought if I memorized this song, the boys would think I was really cool, so I did. In another ode to basketball, Keidis raps so quickly about the L.A. Lakers, “fast break makers,” it’s hard to keep up. –Kyle Eustice

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150. “Long Progression”

I’m Beside You (2013)

Perhaps the only time I’m Beside You feels joyous: falsetto harmonies, spirited upstroke guitar, congas, the works. On one of RHCP’s better albums, it might be a decent deep cut. On an overstuffed outtakes compilation, it’s a standout. –Dan Caffrey

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149. “Instrumental #1”

“Scar Tissue” Single (1999)

Have you ever wondered what RHCP might sound like as a jam band? Frusciante slow-motion solos for almost three minutes over some restrained Smith drumming and Flea’s thumping bass. –Wren Graves
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148. “Green Heaven”

The Red Hot Chili Peppers (1984)

A song designed for Hillel Slovak to use his talkbox, “Green Heaven” may never have the meaning their later work has, but it brought an energy that few bands have mastered. The fantastic slap bass riff would later appear on “Song That Made Us What We Are Today”, perhaps a nod to what “Green Heaven” actually was. –Dan Bogosian
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147. “How Strong”

“Otherside” Single (2000)

Go easy on that clavinet! It almost transforms “How Strong” from just-good-enough Chili Peppers to parodic Chili Peppers. –Dan Caffrey
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146. “Look Around”

I’m With You (2011)

One of the better songs on their last studio album, this manages to recapture a bit of the frenetic energy that characterized their early material. It would have been better if they stuck to the funk elements of the verse throughout instead of pivoting to the more melodic chorus, but it’s hard to be too picky with an RHCP song in this decade. –David Sackllah
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145. “Shallow Be Thy Game”

One Hot Minute (1995)

One of the funkier RHCP songs with Dave Navarro on guitar, but I just can’t get past that song title. –Dan Caffrey
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144. “Monarchy of Roses”

I’m With You (2011)

A tale of two songs. During the verses, Chad Smith’s thunderous drums create a sense of suspense — the promise that something important is coming. No luck. The hook doesn’t justify the build-up, and all that tension dissipates. –Wren Graves
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143. “How It Ends”

I’m Beside You (2013)

John Frusciante may have been gone before this was recorded, but Josh Klinghoffer’s shimmering hammer-downs recall the better side of Californication, thus making it I’m Beside You’s best track. –Dan Caffrey
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142. “Falling Into Grace”

One Hot Minute (1995)

Within Sikhism, “Gurumukh” is the practice of following a guru, rather than seeking to satisfy your own base desires. Having exhausted the English language, Kiedis turns to Punjabi to describe the experience of being in bed with a lady and having simultaneous orgasms. –Wren Graves
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141. “Tear “

By the Way (2002)

Corny lyrics about solitaire aside, “Tear” finds RHCP at their most vulnerable, culminating in a surprisingly cathartic bridge that combines a clean, sedate Frusciante solo with dramatic horns. It may find the band pushing a bit too much towards a more bland radio rock sound, but at least it’s well done. –David Sackllah
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140. “Factory of Faith”

I’m With You (2011)

There were a lot of qualms around the band’s first album in five years and first without Frusciante (after his second, seemingly more permanent departure), so at least the band had the wherewithal to frontload the record with one of the few decent tracks on it. At least stay for the way Kiedis pronounces “factually”; the amount of syllables he wrings out of that is quite impressive. –David Sackllah
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139. “Blackeyed Blonde”

Freaky Styley (1985)

Here, “Blackeyed” refers to something in between “wearing heavy eyeliner” and “containing a great inner evil.” The top highlight is the section of grunts and yelps, which gives a primal urgency to this somewhat standard tale of a femme fatale. –Wren Graves
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138. “Out of Range”

“The Zephyr Song” Single (2002)

Seed-blowing guitars, stratospheric harmonies, and mariachi trumpet? Should’ve been a track on By the Way — albeit a hidden one. –Dan Caffrey
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137. “21st Century”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

By this point, Flea and Frusciante had gotten the formula down pat: Flea goes for smooth walks and Frusciante stutter-strums in this funky song of modern anxiety. It worked for punk dangerous before, and it works for stadium friendly here. –Wren Graves
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136. “Tearjerker”

One Hot Minute (1995)

It may have another word in its title, but “Tearjerker” finds RHCP upping their ballad game much more succinctly than the slightly inferior “Tear”. A lesson in minimalism. –Dan Caffrey
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135. “She Looks to Me”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

This is a solid example of latter-day Peppers power pop. Frusciante channels Clapton for a series of short solos, and a cello adds a bit of drama. –Wren Graves
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134. “Rivers of Avalon”

“The Zephyr Song” Single (2002)

Because “Rivers of Avalon” never lets up in momentum, some of the subtler flourishes get lost. But where so much of what came after the By the Way era feels directionless, deliberate speed goes a long way. –Dan Caffrey
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133. “Million Miles of Water”

“Dani California” Single (2006)

RHCP often get made fun of for all their California imagery, but their central H20 metaphor brings out a sweetness in the chorus that couldn’t have come from any other band. –Dan Caffrey
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132. “Annie Wants a Baby”

I’m With You (2011)

“Annie Wants a Baby” is a character study of unhappy women. This song works because of Josh Klinghoffer’s bluesy licks and Chad Smith’s thumping beat. –Wren Graves
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131. “Teatro Jam”

“Around the World” Single (1999)

The word “jam” is enough to give me pause in front of any Chili Peppers song, and yet the arrangement has enough dynamics to live up to all the best parts of that word. If Kiedis ever wrote words to it, it might even be one of their better (and deeper) album cuts. –Dan Caffrey
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130. “Show Me Your Soul”

Pretty Woman OST (1990)

Released in 1990, “Show Me Your Soul” got the most traction during a scene in the movie Pretty Woman, when Vivian, a prostitute played by Julia Roberts, walks into a seedy club looking for her roommate. It was originally the B-side from the singles of “Knock Me Down” and “Taste the Pain”. –Kyle Eustice
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129. “Stadium Arcadium”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

The lyrics are abstract and image-heavy. Musically, it starts at low tide, ebbing and flowing until it washes over the listener. –Wren Graves
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128. “On Mercury”

By the Way (2002)

A ska song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers has no reason to work, or maybe it does? Certainly not the best song on By the Way, but the musicianship was so — God, help me — organic at that time that the band could find a natural way into just about any genre. –Dan Caffrey
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127. “Death of a Martian”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

There’s a time and a place for a good pet story. Flea wrote this song about his old dog, Martian, who weighed 200 pounds and died during the recording of Stadium Arcadium. –Wren Graves
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126. “Body of Water”

“The Zephyr Song” Single (2002)

Fuzz and muscle: a surprising combination that allows this lyrically spare B-side to roll back and forth like ocean waves. –Dan Caffrey
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125. “Little Miss Lover”

Blood Sugar Sex Magik Bonus Track (1991)

Given their numerous covers of his work, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Peps pulled a Ryan Adams and recorded their own version of Electric Ladyland. Even a virtuoso like Frusciante could never harness the same ax power as Hendrix, but that doesn’t take away from the genuine spirit that radiates from the music. –Dan Caffrey
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124. “Desecration Smile”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

Laugh all you want, but it’s a winning combination of two very different sides of the Eagles: Laurel Canyon folk-rock and chromatic guitar duels. Less dramatic camaraderie, too. –Dan Caffrey
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123. “Freaky Styley”

Freaky Styley (1985)

George Clinton’s production hand did some good and some bad for the group. One upside is it let their freak flag fly. “Fuck ’em just to see the look on their face” is a funk mantra if there ever was one. –Dan Bogosian
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122. “I’ll Be Your Domino”

“Snow” Single (2006)

At first listen, it’s just a B-side. On second listen, it’s the funkiest B-side they’ve ever had. –Dan Bogosian
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121. “Backwoods”

The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987)

“Backwoods” is a punk funk banger, and it pays tribute to black pioneers of rock’n’roll: Chuck Berry, Bo Didley, Little Richard, and Howlin’ Wolf. –Wren Graves
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120. “Lately”

“Dani California” Single (2006)

“This Is the Place” came before it, but this feels like a mostly successful trial run for its loud-soft dynamics. –Dan Caffrey
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119. “Jungle Man”

Freaky Styley (1985)

This is Kiedis’ love letter to his best friend, Flea (“Crackin’ from his thumb bone came felonious thunder”). Clinton’s production is aggressively stereo, fading between the left and right speaker. –Wren Graves
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118. “Make You Feel Better”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

Kudos to Chad Smith for knowing when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em — his simplistic snare hits give this high point of Stadium Arcadium its power. –Dan Caffrey
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117. “Johnny, Kick a Hole in the Sky”

Mother’s Milk (1989)

Another seemingly Parliament-influenced track, Kiedis talks about “testifying” and how his race is a disgrace. Complete with a female choir backing him up, it could have been made in the ‘70s. –Kyle Eustice
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116. “Walkabout”

One Hot Minute (1995)

The most dramatic moment of the song is the very beginning. It’s indicative of the growing maturity of the band that they chose to precede this relaxing stroll with a burst of anxiety and stress. –Wren Graves
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115. “This Velvet Glove”

Californication (1999)


Does anyone else think this wouldn’t sound out of place on the Desperado soundtrack? Cantina strumming combines with dramatic soloing and an examination of how one’s own ego can fuel their substance abuse. Action movies can be introspective, too. –Dan Caffrey
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114. “Good Time Boys”

Mother’s Milk (1989)

The hook on this song always got stuck in my head. “Good, good time boys/ Make me feel good/ Give me good times/ Yeah yeah, yeah yeah” — enough said. Includes snippets of Bonin’ in the Boneyard” by Fishbone, “Try” by Thelonious Monster, and “White Girl” by X. –Kyle Eustice
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113. “I Found Out”

Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon (1995)

In which the Chili Peppers make Lennon sound like Hendrix. –Dan Caffrey
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112. “We Turn Red”

The Getaway (2016)

There are references to travel and allusions to war, and Kiedis seems to spend at least part of the song singing from the perspective of a soldier. Danger Mouse turns the guitar volume up during the verses until it’s dueling the vocals for prominence. –Wren Graves
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111. “Castles Made of Sand”

Blood Sugar Sex Magik Bonus Track (1991)

In which the Chili Peppers make Hendrix sound like the Chili Peppers (in a good way). –Dan Caffrey
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110. “American Ghost Dance”

Freaky Styley (1985)

Kiedis has English, Irish, French, and Dutch ancestry, but the part of his parentage that has most occupied him — at least in song — is the Mohican. “American Ghost Dance” is a bitter saga of Native American genocide, with a few satirical flourishes — for instance, the phrase “white trash” is accented with a snatch of The Chicken Dance. –Wren Graves
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109. “Havana Affair”

We’re a Happy Family: A Tribute to The Ramones (2011)

In their younger days, RHCP would have probably just kept this Ramones cover faithful in its speed. Thankfully, they recorded this in middle age, pushing themselves musically and sludging up the joint. As a result, this sounds more appropriate for a Cuban beach, even one filled with political intrigue. –Dan Caffrey
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108. “Dark Necessities”

The Getaway (2016)

Stanky bass and hand claps are a good place to start. But Kiedis is getting more vague as he ages, and that makes it harder to emotionally connect. –Wren Graves
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107. “Hollywood (Africa)”

Freaky Styley (1985)

During the Freaky Styley era, it seems like all Flea and Kiedis did was listen to Parliament Funkadelic and apparently The Meters. “Hollywood” is a cover of the song “Africa” by The Meters, from their 1974 album Rejuvenation. –Kyle Eustice
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106. “Midnight”

By the Way (2002)

Full disclosure: The order of this list is compiled after much voting, discussing, arguing, and last-minute tweaks. But if it were solely up to me (good thing it’s not), “Midnight” would be in the top 10. 106 ain’t bad either, but it doesn’t do justice to the non-corny astrological lyrics, the Verve-esque (sorry, Rolling Stones-esque) strings swooping in at the end, the way Kiedis rhymes “lotus kids” with “note of this.” What the hell is a lotus kid anyway? I don’t know for sure, but it’s exactly the type of term the Red Hot Chili Peppers would coin. —Dan Caffrey
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105. “Ethiopia”

I’m With You (2011)

Not every frontman could pull off a chorus that essentially equates to a lesson on four vowels. Anthony Kiedis can. –Dan Caffrey
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104. “Pea”

One Hot Minute (1995)

This is the one One Hot Minute song that the group kept playing live when Frusciante rejoined (and later when Klinghoffer joined). The reason may be because it’s basically a Flea solo song – but it’s also a profound bit of pacificist poetry. –Dan Bogosian
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103. “Right On Time”

Californication (1999)

There is no more impressive bass playing from Flea than the chorus to this song, with his fingers replicating a synth’s bass function. It may be a collection of Kiedis gibberish, but it’s some of the most lovable gibberish he’s ever half-rapped. –Dan Bogosian
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102. “Blues For Meister”

Out in L.A. (1994)

Long before “The Death of a Martian” mourned the passing of Flea’s dog, “Blues for Meister” grieved over the death of Flea’s cat. It’s a quirky, bass-intensive gem that makes me miss having a pet (while also worshipping the bizarre guitar solo and epic trumpet work). –Dan Bogosian
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101. “Minor Thing”

By the Way (2002)

RHCP at their most minor often means RHCP at their most propulsive. In other words, “Minor Thing” leaves no room for jamming or dick-fingered sex jokes — just a perfect slice of (minor) pop rock. –Dan Caffrey
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100. “I Like Dirt”

Californication (1999)

I like “I Like Dirt” more for what comes after the song than what’s in the song itself. As Frusciante lets his final funky note ring out, it segues almost immediately into “This Velvet Glove”, taking Californication from celebratory to funereal in just a few seconds. –Dan Caffrey
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99. “Throw Away Your Television”

By the Way (2002)

The Chili Peppers have an underrated ability to create a musical atmosphere. Here, static permeates the song, in the instrumentation as well as the discordant harmony on the line “It’s a repeat.” –Wren Graves
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98. “Subway to Venus”

Mother’s Milk (1989)

For some reason, it sounds like Keidis is channeling Public Enemy’s Chuck D in this one. “Get out/ What it gonna be about?” sounds like his attempt at emulating classic hip-hop while taking a ride on the subway to Venus. –Kyle Eustice
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97. “Someone”

“The Zephyr Song” Single (2002)

The song that cements the Chili Peppers as purveyors of harmony and — gasp! — the ’50s slow-dance song. Anyone need a band for their prom? –Dan Caffrey
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96. “Song That Made Us Who We Are Today”

Mother’s Milk Bonus Track (1989)

Few jams surpass the 10-minute mark and stay interesting, but this one does. References to old hits (“Green Heaven”!) and some of the coolest surround-sound panning for the guitar make it worth sticking around for the end. –Dan Bogosian
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95. “One Big Mob”

One Hot Minute (1995)

A song that sounds exactly like its title. “Weird Al” spoofed “Give It Away” by turning the Peps all into cavemen, but it’s this deep cut that finds the band at their most gleefully primordial. –Dan Caffrey
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94. “Teenager In Love”

“By the Way” Single (2002)

As if “Someone” wasn’t enough to prove RHCP’s love of doo-wop, they recorded a surprisingly tender rendition of this ubiquitous hit by Dion and the Belmonts. Ladies and gentlemen, Tony and the Peppermen. –Dan Caffrey
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93. “Thirty Dirty Birds”

Freaky Styley (1985)

Sometimes, the Red Hot Chili Peppers would put childish nursery rhymes or inside jokes into their songs. This song is nothing but that, sitting on a curb. –Dan Bogosian
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92. “Fortune Faded”

Greatest Hits (2003)

It’s more than a little presumptious to add a previously unreleased single to a band’s greatest hits compilation, especially when a band has so many tremendous songs they can put on it, so it was a relief that this was pretty decent. An outtake from the By the Way sessions, it’s one of the more upbeat jams the band would make in their latter years. –David Sackllah
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91. “Purple Stain”

Californication (1999)

From an album that gets remembered for its grand, sweeping singles, “Purple Stain” is evidence that late ’90s RHCP still were able to churn out great funk songs. It struck a delicate balance between hearkening back to the band’s early history without sounding nostalgic, one of the last times the band has been able to do that. –David Sackllah
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90. “Time”

“By the Way” Single (2002)

One of the B-sides from By the Way, “Time” is evidence of the band’s penchant to save some of their more interesting experiments in later years for B-sides when they could have easily replaced some of the more boring songs on an actual album. The band sounds alive here, energetic and with a sense of urgency that they rarely recaptured post-2000. –David Sackllah
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89. “Whatever We Want”

“Dani California” Single (2006)

Man, Kiedis really sings his heart out on this one. RHCP were never really the type to make a dirty blues-rock song, but this shows that the band (especially Frusciante) were more than up to the task. –David Sackllah
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88. “Save the Population”

Greatest Hits (2003)

The second brand-new single off Greatest Hits, “Save the Population” is a group effort. Three voices overlap and echo and battle Frusciante’s guitar in the rousing coda. –Wren Graves
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87. “My Lovely Man”

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

I barely remember this song being on BSSM. The sentiments are thoughtful — “Rest with me/ My lovely brother/ For you see/ There is no other/ Memory so sad and sweet/ I’ll see you soon/ Save me a seat.” Also, the lead guitar riffs are perfection. –Kyle Eustice
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86. “Punk Rock Classic”

Mother’s Milk (1989)

Following the death of Hillel Slovak in 1988, the RHCP regrouped with guitarist John Frusciante and delivered Mother’s Milk the following year. For one minute and forty-seven seconds, Kiedis puts his fast-talking skills to work over a spazzed-out punk rock riff before Frusciante curiously goes into “Sweet Child O’ Mine” at the end. –Kyle Eustice
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85. “Wet Sand”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

We give Kiedis a lot of crap for his lyrical style of throwing darts at a thesaurus, and rightfully so, but sometimes his weirdly verbose style really hits right, and this is one of those times. One of the few touching ballads from Stadium Arcadium, “Wet Sand” was appropriately grand and ambitious enough to really nail it. –David Sackllah
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84. “Brendan’s Death Song”

I’m With You (2011)

The Peppers are always a moving experience when they’re remembering a friend. Brendan Mullen ran a small punk club called The Masque and was one of the band’s earliest supporters. –Wren Graves
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83. “Tell Me Baby”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

For their second single off Stadium Arcadium, the Peps speak to those people who migrate to Los Angeles to seek their fortune. At first, it might not make an impression, but the hook slowly burrows into the ear and isn’t easily dislodged. –Wren Graves
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82. “Cabron”

By the Way (2002)

Flea plays upright bass on this sly take of a doo-wop song. It may not be funky, but it’s them doing pop at their most delightful. –Dan Bogosian
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81. “Get On Top”

Californication (1999)

This throwback to their days as cocky hooligans is brought to you by the wah-pedal. “Get on Top” is a chest-puffing, dick-swinging anthem. –Wren Graves
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80. “Instrumental #2”

Californication Bonus Track (1999)

This is the ultimate slap showcase for Flea: While not harmonically amazing, it’s non-stop, fast-thumb action. And honestly, with Frusciante’s sly guitar play, this is as great as ’90s rock instrumentals could get. –Dan Bogosian
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79. “What It Is (aka Nina’s Song)”

The Red Hot Chili Peppers (1984)

Though the lyrics would go on to contribute to “The Brothers Cup”, the music in “What It Is” is even tighter. Just AK on vocals and Flea on bass, that slap line is something to behold. –Dan Bogosian
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78. “Skinny Sweaty Man”

The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987)

The early Chili Peppers loved to write super short joke songs; luckily, “Skinny Sweaty Man” is more song than joke. The surreal imagery gives it weight. –Wren Graves
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77. “Out In L.A.”

The Red Hot Chili Peppers (1984)

The first song the band ever wrote, it hasn’t been played in years, but it’s still a classic. It established what would become everything RHCP would be known for: crazy, punk-infused funk and over-the-top mentions of California.–Dan Bogosian
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76. “Mercy Mercy”

“Tell Me Baby” Single (2006)

The two funkiest Stadium Arcadium songs didn’t make the album. This B-side (along with its sister, “A Certain Someone”) is ranked higher than the single it was attached to, because it’s one of the band’s best works in the past 15 years. Mercy me, indeed. –Dan Bogosian
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75. “Stone Cold Bush”

Mother’s Milk (1989)

RHCP once played this on Saturday Night Live even though they were promoting Blood Sugar Sex Magik and not Mother’s Milk. Flea wore weird-ass white face paint. That’s how good this song is. –Dan Bogosian
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74. “Venice Queen”

By the Way (2002)

This was Kiedis’ ode to Gloria Scott, the woman who helped him recover from his addiction. Not the very best of their more personal songs, but still fairly touching. –David Sackllah
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73. “Fire”

The Abbey Road EP (1988)

Most bands shouldn’t cover Hendrix, but RHCP did a good job of matching the chaotic energy of the original on this rendition. A small but impactful lyric change also dedicated the song to Hillel, who died months before this recording. –David Sackllah
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72. “Bob”

One Hot Minute Bonus Track (1995)

This was the first song they wrote with Navarro on guitar. It’s also one of the best they ever did with Navarro on guitar. –Dan Bogosian
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71. “Quixoticelixir”

Californication Bonus Track (1999)

It took years for this to come out, but it ended up being one of the album bonus tracks that was actually worth it. That outro makes the long wait worthwhile. –Dan Bogosian
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70. “Nobody Weird Like Me”

Mother’s Milk (1989)

Flea beats the bass like a bat outta hell while Kiedis proudly proclaims what a freak he is, which is of course nothing new, but in 1989, this sentiment was more likely to be shared by Rick James rather than a group of twentysomething hooligans from Los Angeles. –Kyle Eustice
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69. “The Brothers Cup”

Freaky Styley (1985)

Take the funky lyrics from “What It Is (aka Nina’s Song)” and give them a Clinton-esque funk environment. You now have “The Brothers Cup”. –Dan Bogosian
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68. “Porcelain”

Californication (1999)

Written about a mother in a recovery meeting who was struggling trying to get sober, this resulted in one of Kiedis’ simpler, more heartbreaking ballads, appropriately accompanied by musical restraint. –David Sackllah
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67. “If You Want Me”

Freaky Styley (1985)

Many of the band’s early hits came from their ability to add their own spin to classics, and this cover of the Sly and The Family Stone staple was a prime example of that. That they were able to do the original justice is impressive on its own. –David Sackllah
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66. “Apache Rose Peacock”

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

Their absolute funkiest jam. Rarely played live outside of New Orleans, but who cares? Never been a sweeter bassline or trumpet part. –Dan Bogosian
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65. “Fela’s Cock”

Live Rare Remix Box (1994)

Both John Frusciante and Flea were outspoken admirers of the legendary Fela Kuti, and this B-side from 1991 was their attempt to pay tribute to the legendary musician. This fast-paced instrumental found the Peppers in fine form, playing at the height of their abilities to try and pay homage to one of their heroes. –David Sackllah
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64. “Naked In the Rain”

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

Something tells me these dudes like to be naked. This was one of the first songs written for Blood Sugar Sex Magik and was even played at the end of the Mother’s Milk tour in 1990. –Kyle Eustice
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63. “Transcending”

One Hot Minute (1995)

The last song on One Hot Minute was written about the death of River Phoenix, particularly the media coverage surrounding it. Kiedis felt strongly about the way addicts are treated, and this was one of his more outspoken rejoinders. –David Sackllah
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62. “Goodbye Angels”

The Getaway (2016)

red hot chili peppers getaway stream mp3 album Ranking: Every Red Hot Chili Peppers Song From Worst to Best
Anthony Kiedis’ vocals prevent this from reaching true greatness, but that outro slap line provides a good counter argument. Few bands ever make such a unique flavor taste as good as that instrumental ride. –Dan Bogosian
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61. “Blood Sugar Sex Magik”

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

These four words have been immortalized in the annals of history because of this album, and though this song does its best to convey their message, it’s doubtful anyone will ever truly comprehend their meaning besides Kiedis himself. This song represents one of the beautiful mysteries in this world that will hopefully be pondered for generations to come. –David Sackllah
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60. “The Longest Wave”

The Getaway (2016)

red hot chili peppers getaway stream mp3 album Ranking: Every Red Hot Chili Peppers Song From Worst to Best

This song slips in like a soft Hendrix ballad. “The wave is here,” indeed. –Dan Bogosian
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59. “Charlie”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

A blend of old and new: Funky, rhythm-heavy verses expand into a stadium-ready hook. Kiedis has suggested that the song is about creativity and inspiration. –Wren Graves
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58. “Dreams of a Samurai”

The Getaway (2016)

red hot chili peppers getaway stream mp3 album Ranking: Every Red Hot Chili Peppers Song From Worst to Best
Alternating measures of four and six rarely sound so smooth, but Flea’s riff almost reminds of his work on De-Loused in the Comatorium. The finest chorus on The Getaway and as fine of an album closer as they ever produced. –Dan Bogosian
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57. “Behind the Sun”

The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987)

My friends and I used to sing this song to a high school Spanish teacher in an effort to make her fall in love with us. It didn’t work, but this was the first pretty song they ever wrote. –Dan Bogosian
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56. “The Getaway”

The Getaway (2016)

red hot chili peppers getaway stream mp3 album Ranking: Every Red Hot Chili Peppers Song From Worst to Best

When we heard that Danger Mouse was producing this album, this is the song we were hoping for. Klinghoffer had played guitar for Danger Mouse’s group Gnarls Barkley, and “The Getaway” is infectiously catchy in the same smooth way. –Wren Graves
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55. “Taste the Pain”

Mother’s Milk (1989)

On Mother’s Milk, Flea finally figured out that you could slap tastefully and melodically. He does it across the whole album, but “Taste the Pain” has the sweetest chorus, with a verse that nods to Larry Graham’s thumb playing. –Dan Bogosian
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54. “Fight Like a Brave”

The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987)

When I discovered this song in 9th grade, I thought I was the pinnacle of cool, but little did I know the song was a result of Kiedis overcoming his heroin addiction (again) and Flea letting him back in after a stint at rehab. “Fight like a brave/ Don’t be a slave” makes a lot more sense now that I’m not a naive 15-year-old. –Kyle Eustice
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53. “Search and Destroy”

Beavis & Butt-Head Experience (1993)

It’s just a cover of Iggy and The Stooges, but it’s also a damn good one that led to the band’s best live jams. –Dan Bogosian
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52. “The Greeting Song”

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

There’s a moment in the middle of the song where Flea’s bass line feels like you’re riding a wave. It builds towards the end, until Kiedis comes back in with the “I love you/ Swim through me” stuff again. –Kyle Eustice
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51. “Road Trippin'”

Californication (1999)

The Peppers go on more than one kind of trip. A drifting, moody, magnificent song. –Wren Graves
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50. “Salute to Kareem”

Mother’s Milk Bonus Track (1989)

The RHCP’s apparent love for basketball plays out in an instrumental tribute to one of their favorite players, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. A bonus track on Mother’s Milk, it’s one of two songs dedicated to basketball, the other being “Magic Johnson”. –Kyle Eustice
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49. “I Could Die For You”

By the Way (2002)

It’s difficult to penalize a band for what they choose to name their songs, and this is a fine one, but you can’t read its name and not think of Prince, and because of that you’ll inevitably be let down a bit once you listen. –David Sackllah
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48. “Slow Cheetah”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

RHCP didn’t really settle into maturity gracefully, as evidenced by their many outlandish experiments in the last 10 years. “Slow Cheetah” shows that when they wanted to, they could still put together graceful, existential ballads that played to their strengths. –David Sackllah
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47. “A Certain Someone”

“Tell Me Baby” Single (2006)

Before the band made a big deal about how they all started playing piano for I’m with You, this electric keyboard jaunt proved they already knew how to and were already fine songwriters on the instrument. –Dan Bogosian
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46. “Warped”

One Hot Minute (1995)

The heaviest song by the band on their heaviest album, it’s practically an apolitical Rage Against the Machine with Anthony Kiedis on vocals. So why don’t they play it live anymore? You can blame some of that on the time Smith and Flea played it, and Frusciante wasn’t having it. –Dan Bogosian
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45. “Funky Monks”

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

The RHCP ended up naming its 1991 documentary, Funky Monks, after this one. The intro is perhaps the funkiest on Blood Sugar Sex Magik and has one of the most contagious hooks: “You are all alone/ Can I get a little lovin’ from you/ Can I get a little bit of that done did do?” –Kyle Eustice
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44. “Coffee Shop”

One Hot Minute (1995)

The Dave Navarro years delivered some gems, and this nasty, funky tune was one of them. It’s only right that they name-dropped Iggy Pop on one one of their more hard-hitting tracks, a true explosion of energy. –David Sackllah
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43. “Deep Kick”

One Hot Minute (1995)

Flea on lead vocals for a bit, referencing the Butthole Surfers after Anthony Kiedis tells a bunch of stories about their childhoods? Take note of Navarro’s parting whisper, “And I feel like getting close to you.” A deep cut if there ever was one. –Dan Bogosian
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42. “Sikamikanico”

Wayne’s World OST (1992)

The song that chases “Hey Mickey” when Wayne gets a CD player in Wayne’s World and also one of their deeper weird cuts in the BSSM era. This song is so fine. –Dan Bogosian
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41. “Me and My Friends”

The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987)

Another track from the early, early days, Kiedis and his friends are full of unbridled energy and dripping with sweat. Shirtless as ever, the video features original guitarist Hillal Slovak before his death, along with the baby faces of the rest of the band. –Kyle Eustice
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40. “Easily”

Californication (1999)

It’s not just the singles that make Californication such a legendary album, but the album cuts that never got the same amount of radio play. Each member of the band truly locks in to build up the momentum on this fan favorite, as unhinged as the band would ever sound at this point in their career. –David Sackllah
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39. “Torture Me”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

In three and three-quarters minutes, the Peppeers pack in five furious musical movements. “Torture Me” starts on a tear, slowly breaks down, cries softly to itself, and screams towards a wild finish. –Wren Graves
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38. “Get Up and Jump”

The Red Hot Chili Peppers (1984)

When you picture Flea doing fast slap punk-funk, you are picturing this song. Don’t overthink it: Just enjoy this first album cut. –Dan Bogosian
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37. “The Power of Equality”

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

RHCP will likely not be remembered as one of the more politically outspoken bands of the last 30 years, and while it wasn’t exactly revolutionary to decry the KKK in 1991, it’s still admirable that their most successful album to date opened with a song that name-dropped Public Enemy and spoke out harshly against racism. –David Sackllah
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36. “Gong Li”

“Scar Tissue” Single (1999)

Few bands could make switching between time signatures of 5/8, 4/4, 5/8, and 10/8 sound pretty. The Red Hot Chili Peppers make it sound beautiful and simple. –Dan Bogosian
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35. “True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes”

The Red Hot Chili Peppers (1984)

For this, the first song on the Chili Peppers’ first album, Kiedis snarls and barks his way through a psychedelic western, riding first a “saber-toothed horse” and then a “paisley dragon.” The band’s sound would change quite a bit, but “True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes” established several of their most enduring themes, including surrealism, the tension between white settlers and Native Americans, and the city of Los Angeles. –Wren Graves
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34. “This Is the Place”

By the Way (2002)

Kiedis’ lyrics always resonate more when he speaks from experience, and this song about battling the demons of addiction is no exception. One of their better songs from the last 15 years, “This Is the Place” is pretty much the epitome of a strong, more-fast-paced latter-day RHCP track. –David Sackllah
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33. “The Righteous & The Wicked”

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

This song just rips. When you think of the band’s edge, their more raucous, funky songs, this is what you think of. Flea just kills it throughout the track, and even though it’s a bit on the harsher side lyrically (saying the world needs “global abortion”), it’s one of their more uncompromising songs all around. –David Sackllah
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32. “Melancholy Mechanics”

Twister OST (1996)

Perhaps the closest the Dave Navarro era ever came to matching the original Red Hot Chili Peppers sound, “Melancholy Mechanics” goes on a Blood Sugar Sex Magik-esque chorus and bridge while keeping the touch of Jane’s Addiction for the outro. If Navarro stayed in the band, this is the direction they should’ve headed in. —Dan Bogosian
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31. “They’re Red Hot”

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

Originally written and performed by blues artist Robert Johnson, the RHCP’s version was recorded in 1991 at the Rick Rubin-owned compound The Mansion. Kiedis “raps” along to a sped-up beat as Chad Smith does an impressive job keeping up. –Kyle Eustice
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30. “Yertle the Turtle”

Freaky Styley (1985)

Dr. Seuss would be damn proud of this, down to how George Clinton’s drug dealer voices the man being blown away by Yertle’s speed. The funkiest cut, it would be a treat if the complete “Yertle Trilogy” returned to the live set. –Dan Bogosian
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29. “Funny Face”

“Snow” Single (2006)

This B-Side to the “Snow” single is sonically strange, in a good way. It starts off as a bit of flirty ska before unleashing a power-ballad guitar solo in the last minute. –Wren Graves
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28. “Sir Psycho Sexy”

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

Slow and funky, Kiedis takes a stab at creating a fictional character, Sir Psycho Sexy, and although “he’s a freak of nature,” they love him so. With demons in his semen, the song is pretty much just about sex — big surprise. –Kyle Eustice
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27. “Snow (Hey Oh)”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

Before he left the band to return to a career of increasingly challenging solo records after decades of proving his mettle as one of the most accomplished rock guitarists of the past 30 years, John Frusciante gave us one of his most classic riffs. Incredibly melodic and deceptively simple, this riff was probably the last truly universally recognizable moments the band ever put forth. The rest of the song ain’t half bad either. –David Sackllah
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26. “Knock Me Down”

Mother’s Milk (1989)

“Knock Me Down” was inspired by Hillel’s death and is one of the most powerful songs in the band’s discography. A plea to everyone who deals with addiction, the song is a sobering rejoinder of the disastrous combination of pride and addiction. Few RHCP songs have this much passion inside of them. –David Sackllah
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25. “The Zephyr Song”

By the Way (2002)

Fourteen years later and this song still makes no sense. It doesn’t really matter though, as this instrospective psychedelic sing-along makes for one of the band’s most recognizable songs, a truly celebratory single that transcended the fact that it’s full of nonsense. –David Sackllah
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24. “My Friends”

One Hot Minute (1995)

One of the best songs to come out of the Navarro era, “My Friends” paints a portrait of country-fried anguish. This song found the band members at their lowest point, dealing with grief, addiction, resentment, and sorrow. That they were able to synthesize those feelings and distill them into a single song like this is a triumph in and of itself. –David Sackllah
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23. “By the Way”

By the Way (2002)

As the title track for the RHCP’s eight studio album, the song helped sell eight million copies and was supposedly recorded during one of the happiest times in Kiedis’ life. It’s been performed at almost every show since its debut in 2002, making it one of the band’s most performed songs ever with well over 350 performances and counting.

By the way, it rules. –Kyle Eustice
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22. “If You Have to Ask”

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

I’m sure “If You Have to Ask” was multitracked rather than recorded live in one take — not that you’d know it from the musicality. Everything’s in the pocket, from Flea’s bass rumbling to form the backbone of the song to the falsetto vocals during the chorus, as if a trio of intergalactic backing singers has just emerged from the wings at a club show. To drive home the lived-in feel of its funkiness, the song concludes with a small audience clapping in the studio. If there’s footage of the Peppers recording each instrument track by track, I don’t want to see it. –Dan Caffrey

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21. “Higher Ground”

Mother’s Milk (1989)

The band’s first hit was a cover, but where Stevie Wonder’s original version is relaxed, the Peppers are relentless. Flea’s opening bass is a funky feint; the electric arrangement owes less to acts like Parliament and Stevie Wonder and more to thrash metal. –Wren Graves
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20. “Dosed”

By the Way (2002)

It’s majestic to watch how masterful a command John Frusciante has of the guitar. “Dosed” has so many moving parts that he orchestrates and weaves together beautifully. He layers four guitar parts on top of each other so that the band was never able to play the full song live. For his part, Kiedis pens a touching, reflective look back on his life, working his way to find acceptance with the decisions he’s made. “Dosed” shows that it’s often a heartbreaking journey to try and make peace with yourself, and Kiedis’ journey to do that results in one of the band’s most tremendous choruses. –David Sackllah
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19. “Suck My Kiss”

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

We can only assume Kiedis was really hoping somebody would suck his “d-i-c-k,” but “cleverly” camouflaged it with a more PC request and used “kiss” instead. The third single from BSSM, it’s routinely cited as one of their greatest creations. Produced by Rick Rubin, it’s been performed live over 315 times. This was the RHCP at their peak. It showcased a fearless band that couldn’t be stopped despite substance abuse struggles, breakups and makeups, and Kiedis’ perceived inner turmoil. The video shows them again at Rubin’s compound, The Mansion, where they often recorded. In it, Kiedis is shown wearing a Public Enemy t-shirt, which makes sense now. It seems he’d easily draw influence from frontman Chuck D. –Kyle Eustice
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18. “Love Rollercoaster”

Beavis & Butt-Head Do AmericaOST (1996)

This version of the 1976 Ohio Players’ hit appeared in Beavis And Butt-Head Do America and Zootopia, and it’s more remix than cover. Kiedis’ verse is giddy nonsense, featuring the kind of percussive pleasures that have everybody rapping along — even if everybody is rapping slightly different words. And I never thought I’d say this, but the song sounds better with kazoos.
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17. “Parallel Universe”

Californication (1999)

Lest anyone think that Flea only knows how to elaborately slap his bass, remember, he used to be in Fear. On “Parallel Universe”, he draws from these punk roots, at least in technique and speed. Giving his thumb a rest (sort of), he picks at the strings so fast it’s as if each one has turned into a vibrating wormhole threatening to suck the rest of the band into another dimension. It also makes the chorus of “Christ, I’m a sidewinder/ I’m a California king” as much of a battle cry as it is a personal mantra. –Dan Caffrey
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16. “Mellowship In Slinky B Major”

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

One of the highlights of the Funky Monks documentary (if you can get your hands on it now) is watching the band record the intro to this song. It skyrockets from heavy to funky to spacey and back within a space of four minutes. It wasn’t a single, it would never be a single, and it’s been played live instrumentally once but never with vocals. But who cares? If you want to hear this band mix their ’90s sound with funk, this is the song to do it. –Dan Bogosian
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15. “Can’t Stop”

By the Way (2002)

This song almost didn’t make the album because Anthony Kiedis couldn’t figure out vocals and lyrics. Thank god he did. Thank. God. Available in two different mixes — the album version, with Rick Rubin’s awkward CD-backed loudness, and the single version, where Frusciante’s layers of backing vocals can actually be distinctly heard as he adds new layers — this song is a classic. –Dan Bogosian
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14. “Breaking the Girl”

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

Assuming Kiedis has had a string of unsuccessful relationships, it’s no surprise a lot of his songs are about failed commitments. “Breaking the Girl”, one of the most beautiful songs they’ve ever written, is supposedly about a tumultuous relationship between Kiedis and former girlfriend Carmen Hawk. “Think you’re so clever/ But now you must sever/ You’re breaking the girl,” he sings, a momentary insight into what he must have been experiencing. Frusciante’s primary riff was influenced by Led Zeppelin ballads like “The Battle of Evermore”, while a 12-string guitar and gentle flute add additional layers. I just remember seeing the video and wondering why Kiedis looked like Princess Leia and what inspired Flea to put a huge sunflower behind his ear. Whatever they were on, the video worked. It’s one of only two videos to feature Arik Marshall, who briefly acted as a replacement for guitarist John Frusciante. It also featured good friend River Phoenix in a brief cameo. For some reason, the RHCP retired the song from set lists for nearly a decade. Maybe too painful for Kiedis? The world may never know. –Kyle Eustice
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13. “Pretty Little Ditty”

Mother’s Milk (1989)

Yes, this will forever be known by most folks as the song that gave success to Crazy Town. But it may have also given success to Lisa Loeb. I’m kidding. But not really. Right before the bass/guitar interplay that serves as the “Butterfly” riff, Frusciante plays the exact same chords as the bridge of “Stay (I Missed You)”, despite predating that hit by five years. I say that not to accuse Loeb as being some kind of plagiarist, but to show how much “Pretty Little Ditty” started experimenting with RHCP’s gentler side. It’s not just musically exciting — it’s a document of the sonic contrasts that would become so essential to their own success just one album later. –Dan Caffrey
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12. “Sick Love”

The Getaway (2016)

red hot chili peppers getaway stream mp3 album Ranking: Every Red Hot Chili Peppers Song From Worst to Best
The greatest song with Klinghoffer in the band gets an added boost by way of Elton John (who plays keys, but his writing partner, Bernie Taupin, gets a songwriting credit, so if the lyrics seem less nonsense than usual, there’s that). The guitar solo might not be the shreddiest thing out there, but it’s the perfect one for this song, a delicious slice of ’70s soul from The Getaway. –Dan Bogosian
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11. “Around the World”

Californication (1999)

Perhaps the beginning of the memeification of the Chili Peppers, this song shows the band’s best (that awkward guitar part! That funky bassline!) and their worst (why the fake-Asian, AK?). In the end, the good outweighs the bad, and by a ton. Put in Californication on your car’s CD player, let track one start, and let that over-driven bass start your ride. It’s how they’d want it to be. –Dan Bogosian
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10. “I Could Have Lied”

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

Perhaps one of the most subdued RHCP songs, Kiedis is full of regret as he laments over a lost relationship. That relationship was reportedly with Sinead O’Connor, although that sounds a little far fetched. She supposedly dumped him amid cheating rumors. In a 2009 interview with Q Magazine, O’Connor denied she ever had a relationship with Kiedis, saying, “I hung out with him a few times and the row we had was cos he suggested we might become involved.” O’Connor said she doesn’t “give a shit about” this song, adding: “I’m not a Red Hot Chili Peppers fan. I can’t bear them, I don’t get it.” Whether or not it’s true, it’s still one their best, even though Kiedis is basically admitting he’s a douchebag. –Kyle Eustice
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09. “Hard to Concentrate”

Stadium Arcadium (2006)

Fifteen years earlier, a Red Hot Chili Peppers song called “Hard to Concentrate” would have come with an “Explicit” label, but the band that used to want to “Party on your pussy” was now ready to propose. It was Flea who was actually getting married at the time, and his bass forms the palpitating heartbeat of the best pure love song in the Chili Peppers’ canon.

The lyrics are scatterbrained and very sweet. The way Kiedis starts a thought and runs it into another and another mimics a kind of manic nervousness. The band that broke through on the back of their braggadocio found a new depth by being utterly vulnerable. –Wren Graves
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08. “Don’t Forget Me”

By the Way (2002)

This came from a spontaneous jam, but the end product features Frusciante on both bass and guitars (and no Flea anywhere!). Listen closely to the light backing vocal and keyboard part during Frusciante’s three-note solo to have an extra layer of ethereal touch, but on its own this song is still great. It features a handful of toss-away Kiedisisms, but it also touches on something greater: that sense of loss and the need to be remembered. Though never released as a single, it’s still become a trademark of the band’s live show, even with Klinghoffer in the lineup. –Dan Bogosian
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07. “Soul to Squeeze”

Coneheads OST (1993)


Forget the Coneheads connection — there’s no other RHCP hit that weeps like this one. Weeping doesn’t always mean sad. It means emoting through music, through their instruments, through their bond with each other, through the tear-shaped notes floating away from Frusciante’s guitar neck. He had already left the band for the first time when “Soul to Squeeze” was released, and looking back, it sounds like his farewell letter. Even if there were hard feelings at the time, they no doubt become softer every time this plays. –Dan Caffrey
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06. “Otherside”

Californication (1999)

The European tour in support of The Uplift Mofo Party Plan had been hell, but with the support of his friends, Hillel Slovak had managed to keep his heroin addiction under control. When he returned home, however, he became reclusive and stopped returning his bandmates’ calls. The coroner would later say that Slovak had overdosed two days before his body was found.

Anthony Kiedis struggled with addiction himself, and for years he was haunted by a kind of survivor’s guilt. Some of the Chili Peppers’ best songs deal with Slovak’s death, including “Knock Me Down” and “My Lovely Man”. But the greatest of them all is “Otherside”. Frusciante’s 13-note riff is one of the most iconic in modern rock, but the brilliance of the song is in the way that tension builds, releases, and returns again — always a little stronger than before. It’s the furious helplessness of it all, the cycle of rage and resignation, the acknowledgment of where you’re heading and the admission that you are powerless to stop it. –Wren Graves
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05. “Aeroplane”

One Hot Minute (1995)

Opened with Flea’s childish “Yeah, aw yeah” vocals whispered lightly, this song has it all: a children’s choir, a bass solo, one of the all-time greatest slap basslines by any artist, some sweet wah-wah guitar, and lyrics that aren’t gibberish at all. Kiedis raps about secretly spiralling back into his drug addiction and his personal insecurities. Everyone’s on fire for the whole session. It was somehow left off of Greatest Hits in favor of “My Friends” — apparently only one One Hot Minute track could survive — but don’t let that fool you about this top 40 hit. It’s almost as good as it gets. –Dan Bogosian
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04. “Californication”

Californication (1999)

On some level, typically the surface, every RHCP song is about their hometown of California. In a sense, their entire existence has been built around the band trying to come to terms with the lurid history of their state and its impact on the millions who live there. Their approach is often clumsy, and they may place more importance than is really necessary, but every once in a while, they are able to truly capture the many nuances of the grand dreams and crushing disappointments that California has to offer.

“Californication” is one of those times, a somber meditation on the cost of fame, both physically and emotionally, and the parts of themselves people sacrifice to try and achieve it. Sure, the song’s a little ludicrous in moments, but that’s the whole point. No one understood the cliches of rock and roll quite like RHCP, and this song sums up their lifelong conflict with its draws and destructive nature. One of the band’s most well-known songs, it epitomizes their puzzling, tragic nature in a way unlike any part of their discography, no small feat. No one really knows exactly what the term “Californiation” means, but we all understand it. If not their best, this is truly the quintessential Red Hot Chili Peppers song. –David Sackllah
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03. “Give It Away”

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

In 8th grade, this song was like an anthem of rebellion for me. I was a K-Swiss-wearing, MC Hammer-loving teenager on the verge of graduating from Catholic school and just beginning to discover “alternative” music. My father had exposed me to The Clash, Beastie Boys, Iggy Pop, and things like that, but the RHCP were the first group I felt I truly discovered on my own (although, in retrospect, I did steal Mother’s Milk out of my father’s cassette collection). “Give It Away” represented artistic freedom, a wild adventure, and unadulterated funk. Kiedis apparently wrote the song’s lyrical refrain in response to an experience he shared with ex-girlfriend Nina Hagen regarding (his?) altruistic behavior and the value of selflessness. The video was even more alluring — who wears gold glitter on their lips? The RHCP do — that’s who. –Kyle Eustice

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02. “Scar Tissue”

Californication (1999)

The RHCP knocked it out of the park with the first single from their seventh studio album, 1999’s Californication. After an extended “break” (read: rehab) from the band, Frusciante — at Flea’s request — returned once again to round out the lineup with Flea, Kiedis and Smith. Dave Navarro had just been fired, and the classic lineup obviously had the magic formula. Californication sold over 16 million copies and earned the group a Grammy Award in 2000. “Scar Tissue” now gets frequently mentioned in the same breath as “Under the Bridge” and “Give It Away” as part of the group’s very best work. –Kyle Eustice
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01. “Under The Bridge”

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

Few songs reach the same level of universal fame that this does, and even fewer of those songs are as profoundly meaningful. Kiedis was driving around Los Angeles thinking about his time as a junkie (and one specific time he pretended to be his drug dealer’s brother to get a score under a bridge), former guitarist John Frusciante wrote the music, and everything swiftly fell into place.

It hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. It got covered by All Saints. The Peppers performed it on Saturday Night Live with a strung-out Frusciante rebelling against the others and again in the Tsunami tribute after Kanye West famously said “George Bush hates black people.” Kiedis claims in his autobiography that within a month after Blood Sugar Sex Magik’s release, he lost his voice during this song, but the crowd already knew all the words and sang so loud he could hear it — and that was what convinced them to make it a single. True or not, it’s one of the few universally beautiful songs out there that seems to say something deeper about loneliness and where you’re from, even if the music video is just a shirtless Californian walking around Los Angeles. –Dan Bogosian

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