Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Albums Get Ranked Up!

The Red Hot Chili Peppers will be releasing a much anticipated new album in 2016.  However, with their current repertoire they have become one of the most successful and consistent bands in modern rock, so ranking their albums took quite bit of brainstorming. Focusing on the album as a whole and not the quality of the singles of each album was the main approach to this piece. RHCP’s first three albums are similar; a very young band trying to find its way.  However, when Mother’s Milk was released in 1989 the band finally tapped into their potential and the majority of the next six albums made the band one of the biggest, if not the biggest, band in modern rock music.

10. Red Hot Chili Peppers (self-titled) (1983)
The first album from RHCP was very raw and lacked cohesiveness, which would be expected considering the band wasn’t considered a serious project by guitarist Hillel Slovak who backed out of recording the album.  Anthony Kiedis and Flea have mentioned over the years that they prefer the demo versions of most of these songs which were recorded with the original lineup featuring Slovak.  Reaching just below the Billboard top 200, RHCP’s debut included very few highlights, however “Green Heaven” is a fan favorite and “Out In LA” is the first song that RHCP wrote together.

9. Freaky Styley (1985)
Produced by funk mastermind George Clinton, Freaky Styley had some high points, particularly the comical “Catholic School Girls Rule” but still failed to garner much commercial success.
Bassist Flea had this to say about the album for the 2003 reissue:
“I know the music on this record was just way too obscure to ever be popular in a mainstream kind of way, but to me it really holds its own as a definitive and substantial musical statement. More than any other record we ever made it falls into the category of “too funky for white radio, too punk rockin’ for black.” Of course, the songs were very far away from any pop format; I realize it is/was not just the racial segregation at radio that precluded it from being a popular record.”

8. The Uplift MoFo Party Plan (1987)
The Uplift MoFo Party Plan was the last album to feature all four founding members of the band. Guitarist Hillel Slovak would later die of a heroin overdose after the tour in support of the album, and drummer Jack Irons would quit the band being unable to cope with the loss of his friend.  As the RHCP sound continued to sprout, this album was their most successful one up to this point and was actually their first album to enter the Billboard top 200.  Some noteworthy tracks include “Fight Like A Brave”, “Me and my Friends”, and “Behind the Sun”.

7. I’m With You (2011)
The first album since One Hot Minute sans John Frusciante seems to be a band in rebuilding mode with new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer who seemingly does not quite fill the shoes his predecessor left behind.  Many RHCP albums, specifically the ones released after the 1980’s, were very guitar heavy, but the guitar parts took more of a backing role with I’m With You. However, it seems that the talent of Josh Klinghoffer wasn’t the issue; the issue was in the production phase of the album as the recorded guitar parts were greatly turned down.  A fan re-engineered the album and posted the new version on youtube which brings the guitar parts out into the forefront. Many fans believe this change greatly enhanced the quality of the album and truth be told if that version was the one originally released it would have been ranked just below Blood Sugar Sex Magic on this list. However, based on the recording that was released, besides one of the most exceptional ballads the band has ever recorded in “Breaden’s Death Song”, the tracks don’t measure up to any of the singles that RHCP released since before Mother’s Milk. Tracks like “Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie”, “Look Around”, and “Monarchy of Roses” which all could be placed in the same category as “Suck My Kiss”, “Higher Ground”, and “Around the World” would all rank at the bottom of that category.  I’m With You was an album with great potential, but the decision to hide Klinghoffer’s talent greatly degraded the finished product.

6. Mothers Milk (1989)
Mothers Milk was the album that RHCP finally polished their unique sound to form something that was widely accepted on MTV and rock radio. The Stevie Wonder cover “Higher Ground” and the second single “Knock Me Down” both received significant air play and became the sound the band would feed off of for years to come. Other great highlights from this album include the Jimmy Hendrix cover “Fire” and the scorcher “Johnny Kick a Hole in the Sky”.

5. Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)
Blood Sugar Sex Magik made the Red Hot Chili Peppers a worldwide phenomenon. Hard hitting and funky tracks like “Suck My Kiss” and “Give it Away” are the yin to the yang of two of the best ballads in the RHCP catalog in “Breaking the Girl” and “Under the Bridge”.  This album contained some of the band’s best singles, but as a complete piece wasn’t their best cohesive work.

4. One Hot Minute (1995)
The one off album featuring guitarist Dave Navarro in place of John Frusciante is a bit of an enigma. Flea once eluded that Navarro wasn’t a good fit for RHCP, and the band very rarely play a song from this album live. However, as a whole it is just about as great as the rest of their classics. It contains some of the bands more standard alternative rock tracks like “Coffee Shop” and “Warped” and along with the ballad “My Friends” and the fun oddity “Aeroplane” One Hot Minute is surprisingly RHCP’s most well rounded album.

3. By The Way (2002)
By The Way was critically acclaimed but a bit of a change of pace from the band’s previous releases. However, as solid as it was, the album wasn’t as consistent as Californication or Stadium Arcadium, even though “Can’t Stop” and “By The Way” were great singles. Other highlights include tracks like “Dosed”, “Universally Speaking” and “The Zephyr Song” in which the band strayed away from their norm and the tracks became a favorite among many fans.  Additionally, the track “Throw Away Your Television” may be the best track to come out of the By The Way sessions and has since become a spectacularly performed live staple.

2. Californication (1999)
After the release of One Hot Minute, five long years passed and the buzz surrounding RHCP had chilled a bit. There were some drug problems in the band during this hiatus plus the departure of Dave Navarro, however, that departure allowed for the return of John Frusciante, and the fire was restarted after the release of Californication. This album contains everything that makes the Red Hot Chili Peppers great songwriters. Tracks like “Otherside”, “Californication”, and “Scar Tissue” have the same essence that made “Under the Bridge” such a landmark track, and the funky “Around the World” was a throwback to the RHCP standard which helped get the critics back on their side.

1. Stadium Arcadium (2006)
I can see it in the comments section already… This guy put which album #1!!!???
John Frusciante’s swan song.. or.. swan album (hardy har har) is, as a complete work, the Red Hot Chili Peppers BEST album.  Stadium Arcadium contains over two hours of great single worthy tracks and it’s difficult to single out a specific track that stands out amongst others because of the album’s consistency, and in all honesty, the singles may be the weakest tracks on the album.  Stadium Arcadium doesn’t have a track that is as epic as “Scar Tissue”, “Give It Away”, or “Under the Bridge” however, from start to finish, it is RHCPs most solid album and may actually be one of the best double albums of all time.

Hear all the best from the Red Hot Chili Peppers at www.rockshowradio.net and www.alternativenation.net/radio

  • Felonious Punk

    Ouch…I’m With You their worst album since the pre-Mother’s Milk albums? LoL at least OHM was in the Top 4

    • Tom

      I’m With You sold less then Uplift Mofo when it first came out.

  • Pink Taco

    Californication, I’m With You, By The Way, AND Stadium Arcadium are ranked higher than the Uplift Mofo Party Plan? It was a seminal album for them. Is the man who wrote this like 12 years old? TOP FIVE. HILLEL FUCKING SLOVAK blows away Stadium Arcadium and By The Way easily. And the fact that Hillel is sitting behind IM WITH YOU? SMDH.

    • Corndog

      Why, was he his da?

      • Pink Taco

        I am sorry, I am not familiar with “da”

        • Corndog

          Yeah. Here in Ireland we say ‘da’.

          Sorry, just seemed like an obvious joke:)

          • Pink Taco

            OOOO My ignorance – I’m sorry. Now I know – thank you :)

          • God

            Are Leprechauns real?

          • Corndog

            They used to be, but back during the great potato famine we hunted the little bastards to extinction as an alternative food source. It was terrible, but it had to be done. It was them or us.

          • God

            Fuck yea. I bet you guys shit green for years!

          • Corndog

            Nope. They go in green, but come out brown, just like everything else.

          • God

            Does you pee smell funny? Like after eating asparagus?

          • Corndog

            My pee smells like sugar puffs. Always.

    • Jimmy Intense

      It’s all just opinion. Don’t let one’s ranking of albums influence your own. Uplift Mofo, IMO is not a seminal album for RHCP though. BSSM is more ‘seminal’ if you look at everything that followed afterward.

      • Pink Taco

        Yes it is all just opinion and such I gave mine after. The word seminal meaning – influencing later works and Uplift influenced a lot of sound on Mothers Milk and those influences were present on BSSM.

        • Jimmy Intense

          Yes and BSSM would be considered a more seminal album than UMPP by that definition.

          • Pink Taco

            yes you are right you are so right you are a million percent right

          • Jimmy Intense

            Took you long enough 😉

            Thank you for admitting, albeit rather sarcastically.

          • Pink Taco

            corndog said this site carries a sarcastic undertone…

          • Corndog

            Sure does. You get used to it.

      • Tom

        UMPP is definitely a seminal album. Best record of the 80’s. It’s the definition of 80’s RHCP punk/funk/rock straight rockin’ with sock on their you know what. This blew them up in the underdground/college radio world.

        1-BSSM-most seminal
        2-Californication-2nd most seminal
        3.UMPP-3rd most seminal

      • ANRmanager

        Yes! Just my opinion!

        • Csonkamaniac III

          How dare you have differing tastes! I love that you put Stadium Arcadium at number one. It’s not without merit. RHCP hit a creative high point I remember losing my mind after realizing the John was going balls out on the entire record.For me, it’s a three-way between BSSM, OHM and SA. Don’t think I could choose. Good read.

  • jackkyjackjack

    Stadium Arcadium is one of their worst albums imo. By The Way definitely deserved the top spot. And I’m With You should have been higher. The actual song writing on that album is way more interesting and well executed than most things on Stadium. An overstuffed album just full of guitar parts (which I like listening to) – lacking any real consistency. And BSSM is way better than Stadium too.

  • God

    Stadium Arcadium should be only one notch above Im With You

  • Will

    I honestly believe it should be #1 Californication – doesnt mention the song californication being a staple also no mention of road trippin their most Beatles-esque song they’ve ever made. Had Californication not been as well received the Chili Peppers may have disbanded due to back to back flunkers. It reinvented their sound. #2 Blood Sugar Sex Magik as it was the album to make them a household name. #3 By the Way he mentions throw away your television but ignores the spanish influenced guitar playing in cabron nor the ska sound they displayed with On Mercury, that album showed their broad and diverse musical abilities. #4 Stadium Arcadium – John simply transformed into Jimi Hendrix and allowed us the pleasure of experiencing late 60’s rock. #5 Im With you. #6 Mothers Milk #7 One Hot Minute #8 Uplift Mofo Party Plan #9 Freaky Styley #10 RHCP. I apologize for being lazy and not typing the reasoning for my 5-10 picks.

    • Pink Taco

      Do you even listen to Jimi Hendrix?

      • Jimmy Intense

        Did you even listen to Stadium Arcadium front to back? It showcases some of John’s best guitar work in the Peppers and his solos were stylistically very reminiscent of the 60s/70s. Maybe not *quite* like Hendrix but I got the point Will was trying to make.

        • Pink Taco

          Not on every listen but yes the first couple of times. I didn’t dispute John’s work, and I know who his influences are. My focus was not John or RHCP.

  • http://www.cuntcertfy.nut/ Whip

    Blood Sugar Sex Magik.. that should’ve been number 1. It still holds up and is as good as anything else they’ve ever done. And I’ll let you know when they surpass it, but I really don’t see that happening. One Hot Minute should have been ranked higher, too. I’m sure 20 people could re-write this and it would never look exactly the same, but I think the majority would have served it more justice than sticking Blood Sugar Sex Magik and One Hot Minute barely in the top 5. BSSM is the album that they use to measure all other albums.

    • Tom

      I agree. OHM was the best produced/engineered record in my opinion. I think it showcased Chad’s best drumming. Flea was sweet and I liked AK’s lyrics. RHCP were right at their zenith in this era. Too bad JF left the band.

    • ANRmanager

      Do you mean the band uses BSSM to measure their albums? So do you think the band would say no other album they have made as a whole is better than BSSM?

  • mike

    The scrolling is so annoying won’t come back

  • Pink Taco

    1984 Debut Album #10

    1985 Freaky Styley #9

    1987 Uplift Mofo Party Plan #8

    1989 Mothers Milk #6

    1991 Blood Sugar #5

    1995 OHM #4

    2002 BTW #3

    1999 Californication #2

    2006 S/A #1

    2011 Im With You #7

    The guy just voted all the new stuff at top spots and old stuff at bottom spots.

    • ANRmanager

      Yes I did, and I explained why.

      • Pink Taco

        are you referring to this:

        anking their albums took quite bit of brainstorming. Focusing on the album as a whole and not the quality of the singles of each album was the main approach to this piece. RHCP’s first three albums are similar; a very young band trying to find its way.

        btw, how old are you?

        • ANRmanager

          I’m With You is the lone exception, but still an exception. 35

        • Jimmy Intense

          What does one’s age have to do with this discussion? That just comes off as pure arrogance. If anything, it just shows your level of maturity.

          • Pink Taco

            did you notice i didnt argue? age = experience, wisdom. you can call it what you want. you simply argue everything i say. you are right. you are so right.

  • Billy

    i would put all of their albums prior to BSSM at the bottom, i personally would put OHM as #1 but based purely on size and scope, SA would def be high for me too since it was such a huge endeavor and the end result was not a sloppy mess of “let’s just put these random songs on it to fill out a double album.”

  • Tom

    #1 BSSM-No explanation needed

    #2 Californication-Best effort since BSSM bar none.

    #3-Uplift Mofo Party Plan-Definition of (original) “Red Hot Chili Peppers” -what they were in the 80’s pure punk/funk/rock. Not many “Radio Hits”. This is pure 1980’s in the club RHCP.

    #4-SA-RHCP at their creative peak. A double dose of good stuff. John’s best guitar work. They rocked on this one. Lots of good stuff. way too over produced though. Again should have dropped Rubin after this record.

    #5-By The Way- A record no one expected RHCP was capable of. Most beautiful record. A little too much John/overdubs/Californication. Should have dropped Rick Rubin after this record.

    #6-OHM-Mix of Hard Rock meets funk? RHCP did their best and OHM has it’s moments. A unique RHCP record, a little rough around the edges. In my opinion the best produced and engineered record.
    #7 Mother’s Milk-Second Best record of the 80’s. Higher ground kicks azz, but Michael Beinhorn effed up the sound on this record having John Frusciante sound like an almost heavy metal guitar crunching sound. (Beinhorn was quickly fired for the follow up -BSSM)

    #8 I’m With You- Brendan’s Death Song is the gem on this one. Like when Dave Navarro was in the band, it’s always hard to make a solid record with a new guitarist. Too much flea dominance on this like with OHM. Terrible job by Rubin producing, glad he’s out of the picture, but I think RHCP held on to R.R. for too long.

    #9 Freaky Styley- George Clinton meets RHCP? Yes! A great effort with a prelude of great stuff to come. Raw and Funky.

    #10-RHCP- Mommy Where’s Daddy and Green Heaven. Extremely Raw.

  • Jesusswept

    Blood Sugar Sex Magik #5?? Your list is invalid.

  • Nikdik

    Lol @ Stadium Arcadium being no. 1. The B-sides from that album were better than half the tracks on it.

  • Leash

    Such a generalized commentary on these albums, barely any details about the music or WHY any of these were ranked or what made any of them good/great/not great (except for I’m with you). It says it’s not about the singles then it basically lists the singles. I guess stadium Arcadian is better than californication because it’s more “consistent”, whatever that means. Sorry but this is just a lame write up. I get that you guys love music and wanna talk about it but bring some substance, some actual detail. I can’t tell what you like about these albums. And I’m no journalist but if I was I might be offended by the way you claim to be a journalist. Unless your bio is leaving a ton out, having an English degree does not make you a journalist. You sound like a music fan that likes to write about it. That’s great, it’s fun, keep doing it and have fun with it. See Jeff Gorra’s description of Black or his top PJ live performances for examples of how to specifically identify the things you love about a track and just mention those things. Read Sqwerl’s reviews for how to creatively, uniquely describe those things. Not a wordsmith like him? That’s ok. Not a “journalist”? That’s cool, you don’t have to be, just don’t pretend, don’t force, and don’t use filler language. Just get into the details. Odds are the readers (like me) will say yeah I love that too, good article…. Click click click.

    • ANRmanager

      Sorry you don’t like my fluffed up style of writing lol. There is only so much space to put everything in my bio. To answer your question I also have three years investigative journalism experience for the DOD. Also, I’ve freelanced for a local magazine for almost a decade including conducting many interviews covering all types of topics. However I consider rock music my highest level of expertise. Yes, I’m first and foremost a fan and have been a very active fan for years. My father got me into classic rock way back in my single digit years. I’ve also been a musician in a few bands; either vocals or drums. I’ve attended concerts and festivals worldwide including Lollapalooza, SXSW, and Austin City Limits in the US, and Leeds, Reading and Download in the UK. I’ve actually got to the point that I’ve pretty much seen all current noteworthy bands live at some point. Also, I’m always reading rock biographies and rock music history books to increase my knowledge. What else do I need to do to constitute a “journalist” in your eyes?
      Regarding you critique of my album rankings. Do you notice that all the albums that imo were only good b/c of a few singles were ranked lower? So lets put it on a grade school testing scale. BSSM had like 4 A’s, the rest of the tracks were at best a C, again, just imo. Stadium Arcadium tracks were a constant B, therefore ranked higher.
      I agree this may not be my best work, but I think there is something else going on here. I honestly think you are a fan of the band and this list ruffled your feathers a bit for whatever reason.
      And I agree, Jeff Gorra is a great rock journalist, im sure I, and many others, can learn a thing or two from him. However, I have only been writing for AN for six months or so, this being my 15th article and I’ve had about 100,000 readers so far, not too shabby if you ask me.

  • Willz

    Most Chilis fans will (respectfully) completely disagree. While everyone has their tastes, It’s rather obvious that the top two are:

    BSSM – this was the album that shot them into stardom – the first album in which Frusciante truly created and refined his own sound after Hillel’s death. All the songs on the album are total masterpieces.

    Californication – has to be no.2 (just ahead of BTW) because it was the album that brought them back together. Also was the moment their sound matured into the band it is today (pre-Josh).

    Rest seem a little more subjective. By the way sticks with me as it was the soundtrack to my awkward teenage years, but Mother’s Milk is awesome too. Obviously Stadium Arcadium is great, if a little poppy.

  • James Dunnington

    Stadium Arcadium is horrendous. 50% filler. One of the biggest let downs of all albums ive bought Agree BSSM has it’s minor flaws… but 5th? I’m With You doesn’t get enough love… I thought it was a great albums album rather than obvious singles. Id say BSSM 1st BTW 2nd OHM 3rd

  • William Zonker Emerson

    “but as a complete piece wasn’t their best cohesive work.”
    BSSM is easily their most cohesive work, I have no idea what this person is talking about. The songs flow perfectly from one to another in such a way that the experience is vastly improved by listening to it in the right order. Other albums you can put on shuffle and it will sound mostly the same. And the singles weren’t the only good part of the album. Almost everyone of the songs on the album is a masterpiece in its own right.

  • ANRmanager

    SA is the RHCP best album. It got a bit of a bad rap with some letdown releases.