Record of the Day #21 – Red Hot Chili Peppers, Greatest Hits

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I’m not a big advocate of greatest hits compilations. I see their merit, but I tend to treat them cynically – not as cash grabs, but mostly just as unnecessary. I can appreciate the appeal of having a record of nothing but hits, in that the experience is normally a much stronger one than a standard LP, but it’s still a repackaging of old material jazzed up in a fancy new format and accompanied by other band classics. I avoid greatest hits releases because they don’t do much for me. I like to think that if I know the band I can always make my own via iTunes playlist and just use that as a marker of quality and consistency instead. I find that greatest hits always tend to avoid at least song I’d class as deserving of a place. What you then end up with is something that feels incomplete. I own very few greatest hits releases, only two if I remember correctly. One of them is a heavily scratched version of blink-182’s 2005 collection on CD and the other is Red Hot Chili’s 2003 selection. Not all bands have done enough to merit a greatest hits release – I think that blink and the Chili’s have, and I find both to be a solid representation of the bands finer moments.

Released: 2003                            Label: Warner Bros.
Variant: 2015 reissue.                Purchased from: SRC vinyl

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Red Hot Chili Peppers are an essential sort of band, one of those everybody knows in at least some capacity. They might not be fans, but they know one or two of the songs, might recognize members of the band or could identify their record covers in a shop. Greatest Hits seems testament to the bands almost universally recognized status fourteen songs plucked from every airway of the nineties into the early noughties (the record featured two new songs, but I don’t care much for these). Across the ten years or so that the record continues, the band released four records, and those records featured some of the Chili’s best-known songs, making Greatest Hits a much more accessible record than the band’s first collection – 1992’s What Hits!? It’s a strong record taking into account some strong records, from a strong band, perhaps the most alternatively prominent of the nineties. It’s the kind of record where you can take comfort in the knowledge that it isn’t going to disappoint. The tracklist is solid throughout, It features a couple of my favorite Chili’s songs – namely Scar Tissue and By The Way – but there are a lot of good tracks on here. My Friends, the only song from 1995’s One Hot Minute is probably one of the weaker songs on here, making the collection mainly taken from Californication and Blood Sex Magik – arguably the bands best two records. As far as greatest hits records go, Red Hot Chili Peppers released one of the best, and I tend to listen to it more often than I listen to the band’s individual records.

 

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