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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

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