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All 236 Red Hot Chili Peppers Songs Ranked from Worst to Best

Picking through the blandest Peppers and the songs that'll burn your tongue off

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Red Hot Chili Peppers Songs
Red Hot Chili Peppers, photo courtesy of the band

    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.

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    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


    236. “The Hunter”

    The Getaway (2016)

    “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

    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

    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

    233. “Mommy, Where’s Daddy?”

    The Red Hot Chili Peppers (1984)

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    Intended to be a slinky sex song. Winds up as an unintentional warning about the dangers of pedophiles. — Wren Graves

    232. “Encore”

    The Getaway (2016)

    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

    231. “Feasting on the Flowers”

    The Getaway (2016)

    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

    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

    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

    227. “Even You Brutus?”

    I’m With You (2011)

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    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

    226. “Go Robot”

    The Getaway (2016)

    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

    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

    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

    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

    222. “No Chump Love Sucker”

    The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987)

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    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

    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

    220. “Grand Pappy Du Plenty”

    The Red Hot Chili Peppers (1984)

    A single musical idea stretched out over four interminable minutes. — Wren Graves

    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

    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

    217. “Goodbye Hooray”

    I’m With You (2011)

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    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

    216. “Magpies On Fire”

    I’m Beside You (2013)

    It’s all downhill from the title. Lots of mewling but zero fire. — Wren Graves

    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

    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

    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

    212. “Battleship”

    Freaky Styley (1985)

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    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

    211. “Detroit”

    The Getaway (2016)

    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

    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

    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

    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

    207. “In Love Dying”

    I’m Beside You (2013)

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    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    202. “Storm In a Teacup”

    Stadium Arcadium (2006)

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    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    197. “If”

    Stadium Arcadium (2006)

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    For a band that’s usually bombastic, it’s sobering to hear RHCP sound so slight that they could just disappear. — Philip Cosores

    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

    195. “Runaway”

    By the Way Bonus Track (2002)

    Journeyman music for journeys that never make it out of the valley. — Dan Caffrey

    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

    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

    192. “Animal Bar”

    Stadium Arcadium (2006)

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    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

    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

    190. “This Ticonderoga”

    The Getaway (2016)

    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

    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

    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

    187. “Never Is a Long Time”

    I’m Beside You (2013)

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    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    182. “Save This Lady”

    “Desecration Smile” Single (2007)

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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    177. “Did I Let You Know”

    I’m With You (2011)

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    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    172. “Organic Anti-Beat Box Band”

    The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987)

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    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    167. “Hometown Gypsy”

    I’m With You (2011)

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    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    162. “Especially In Michigan”

    Stadium Arcadium (2006)

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    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

    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

    160. “Stretch (a.k.a. Stretch You Out)”

    “My Friends” Single (1995)

    The bass is nasty good. The lyrics are nasty bad. — Wren Graves

    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

    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

    157. “Warm Tape”

    By the Way (2002)

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    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    152. “Eskimo”

    “Fortune Faded” Single (2003)

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    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    147. “How Strong”

    “Otherside” Single (2000)

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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    142. “Falling Into Grace”

    One Hot Minute (1995)

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    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    137. “21st Century”

    Stadium Arcadium (2006)

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    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    132. “Annie Wants a Baby”

    I’m With You (2011)

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    “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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    127. “Death of a Martian”

    Stadium Arcadium (2006)

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    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    122. “I’ll Be Your Domino”

    “Snow” Single (2006)

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    At first listen, it’s just a B-side. On second listen, it’s the funkiest B-side they’ve ever had. — Dan Bogosian

    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

    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

    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

    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

    117. “Johnny, Kick a Hole in the Sky”

    Mother’s Milk (1989)

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    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    112. “We Turn Red”

    The Getaway (2016)

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    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    107. “Hollywood (Africa)”

    Freaky Styley (1985)

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    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    102. “Blues For Meister”

    Out in L.A. (1994)

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    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    97. “Someone”

    “The Zephyr Song” Single (2002)

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    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

    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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