Top 10: Greatest Red Hot Chili Peppers B-Sides

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December 10, 2012 by NowhereButPop

by Andrew Doscas

By the power vested in my by youthful arrogance, I give you THE authoritative list on the 10 best unreleased Chili Pepper songs.  Be aware that because “Soul to Squeeze” was released as a single in 1993, it will not be making an appearance on the list, neither will “Fortune Faded” for the same reason.

10) “Whatever We Want” (Stadium Arcadium)

“I turn you into one, and then I turn you out for fun”

Have the Chili Peppers grown soft in their old age? Yes, yes they have, but with “Whatever We Want,” guitarist John Frusciante brings the heaviness and with Kiedis’s vocals, you get the sound that the band was going for on the album, a very guitar-oriented sound.  However, it comes with that world-weary, been-there-done-that perspective from Californication.  Mixing the old with the new makes “Whatever We Want” the best b-side Stadium Arcadium has to offer.

9) “Bob” (One Hot Minute)

“My friend Bob’s insane today; I know I am too”

The first song the band recorded with new guitarist, Dave Navarro, “Bob” is a tribute song to Bob Forrest, a close friend of the band.  Anthony Kiedis sounds like he’s singing this to himself in a defeated “well, that’s life” kinda way and that is what really sells the song.  Add this to a laid back riff courtesy of Dave Navarro, and a subdued drum beat by Chad Smith and you have a cheerfully melancholy song that perfectly summarizes the album that it was recorded for.  It’s a song that both lyrically and symbolically tries to make the best of a bad situation.  And like One Hot Minute, “Bob” doesn’t get the love it deserves.

8) “Someone” (By the Way)

“Set it up to follow you on my aeroplane, here’s a present for the future memory lane”

A far departure from their usual antics, “Someone” is more in the vein of a 60s pop song complete with harmonizing vocals.  It works because this is the kind of song that you’d never think the Chili Peppers would ever record, let alone make it something really special.  The fluffy, doo-wop feel of the song is a real departure from the band’s sound, but it’s a welcome relief, rife with innocence and sincerity; in short a nice little reprieve.

7) “Sikamikanico” (Blood Sugar Sex Magik)

“And all the press you don’t amaze me, I’m not your dick so don’t appraise me”

During the chorus, they ask us if “anybody wants some sikamikanico”; I don’t know what it is, but I know I want it.  Flea’s stuttering bass line undeniably grooves with Frusciante’s main riff in a way that makes you wanna get up and get down.  It keeps in tune with the direction of the album it was recorded for with the idea being that less was more, and for “sikamikanico”, less never meant more.

6) “Gong Li” (Californication)

“Some people say you played me, I don’t care if it’s true, I’m waiting here for you”

I really wanted this piece to be higher up on the list, but the fact that the majority of this song is just weird guitar effects; I had to leave it right outside the top five.  When the music does kick in, Anthony Kiedis just pours his heart out over a jaded relationship.  I can’t really describe it all that well, but when you hear the song, you can tell that it’s heartfelt and sincere, and for the Chili Peppers to do this back in 1999, it really was a first.  And you know what, Red Hot Chili Pepper ballads work, because they all come from the heart and are sincere, look no further than “Gong Li”.

5) “Stretch” (One Hot Minute)

“I’ll stretch you out my friend”

Listen to the first two lines, and you’ll realize that there was no way that I wasn’t going to put this song on the list.  Originally, it was supposed to be part of “One Big Mob”, but a 10 minute Chili Pepper song is not gonna work.  That being said, what takes away from the song is that the ending drags out way too long (about a minute and a half) as do many songs on One Hot Minute.  “Stretch” is a case of the band doing what they’ve always done (sing about sex in graphic and metaphorical senses) but with an added dimension of heavy funk/psychedelic which really makes the song come alive.  The best part of the song is the bridge at the 2:30 mark which nicely breaks up the song into two funky halves.

4) “Fat Dance” (Californication)

“Just about the time that I was feeling fine again she walked into the room wearing nothing but a cardigan”
Recorded for Californication, “Fat Dance” proved that the new Chili Peppers, weren’t all about introspection and melodic ballads, but were still capable of playing upbeat, aggressive and funky rock music.  Anthony’s rap verse in the middle of the song conveys a new, more refined lyricist who has become more comfortable drawing from his own life experiences to fuel his creativity.  The chorus is a little ridiculous, but it’s still a fun, light song that would have served as a nice change of pace had it been put on the album.

3) “Fela’s Cock” (Blood Sugar Sex Magik)

I’m not too big on instrumentals, but this one just blew my mind the first time I heard it.  Flea’s rolling bass line, plus Chad Smith’s tight drumming, combined with John Frusciante’s smooth but hyper riff have made “Fela’s Cock” a masterpiece.  To be honest, I think it would have only worked as an instrumental; it’s perfect as it is.  The fact that they can make a five minute instrumental with no guitar solo is a testament to both the skill and vision of the band.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the best pieces of music ever recorded by the band in their thirty year existence.

2) “Bunker Hill” (By The Way)

“It would be so cool to be cool with you”

From the opening bass line and the and drumming of Chad Smith, you instantly know that this sounds like nothing the Chili Peppers put out before.  Although recorded in 1999 for Californication, it wasn’t released as a b-side until By The Way, which it actually fits in better with.  I’ll be honest, I really don’t know what the song is about, but Kiedis just sings it so soothingly, so softly, but assertive at the same time, as if he’s almost pleading with someone.  As usual Frusciante’s backing vocals tilt this song from being great to amazing.  It’s hard to hear, but pay close attention to what he does with his guitar during the second verse of the song, just like the rest of the song, it’s something else.

1) “Quixoticelixer” (Californication)

“I love this weather cuz it keeps me warm, just keep it coming in this perfect form”

The greatest Red Hot Chili Pepper b-side, is also one of their greatest songs ever.  Even leader singer Anthony Kiedis was upset that it wasn’t included on Californication.  He’s said that it was one of the few times that he really pushed for a song to be included on an album.  The song is a perfect marriage of where the Chili Peppers were with Californication and where they came from.  The melodic and soft first half is perfectly complimented with the punkish fast-paced second half of the song with Kiedis yelling “I swear to God I could not hurt you” over and over again.  The song represents everything we wanted them to be in 1999.  No question the MVP of “Quixoticelixer” is John Frusciante.  From his beautiful guitar work to his heavenly falsetto backing vocals, he is in perfect form.  “Quixoticelixer” demonstrates why the Chili Peppers needed John Frusciante to come back, and with it, he reaffirmed our belief in himself and the band once again.

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6 thoughts on “Top 10: Greatest Red Hot Chili Peppers B-Sides

  1. […] Top 10: Greatest Red Hot Chili Pepper b-sides (nowherebutpop.com) […]

  2. Z says:

    I personally like “Bob” the best. Very very chill and great lyrics… “A lust for life that kills itself…before it get’s to strong… that’s wrong…please be lifelong…”

  3. Noronha says:

    O could’nt agree more with the first position, man.

  4. B says:

    Funny Face is also note worthy

  5. willem says:

    i only agree with quixotelicixer on #1 hahhaha

  6. fdafdas says:

    How did Over Funk not make this

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