In Defense of the Red Hot Chili Peppers

So the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album is out, and if anyone under 30 or so is excited, we’d be surprised. But we understand — for most of the 2000s, the band have been purveying nondescript Cali soft rock, and these days, it’s far more fashionable to hate on the Chili Peppers than to admit you like them. But it wasn’t always thus, y’know. And we’re of the opinion that these days, they’re a band whose legacy is both under-rated and often unfairly maligned. So, in the latest of a semi-regular series, we step up to the plate with a mixtape of ten Red Hot Chili Peppers songs that are entirely worthy of a place on your iPod.

“Get Up and Jump” (1984)

Rarely have the Chili Peppers been described as ahead of their time, but their self-titled first record was exactly that. The idea of mixing the manic energy of punk with funk-influenced basslines and hip hop vocal stylings mightn’t have been theirs alone, but Red Hot Chili Peppers pre-dated Aerosmith and Run-DMC’s watershed wall-smashing “Walk This Way” by two years, and as such it represented a pretty early example of what would be a key musical trend in the ’80s. The album itself was disappointing — founding guitarist Hillel Slovak and drummer Jack Irons didn’t play on it due to other band commitments, and the production was ropey — but the ideas behind it were fresh and exciting. And “Get Up and Jump” — the second song the band ever wrote — remains a killer party tune that Flavorpill isn’t averse to dropping into a DJ set, if only to give the lyric “Say what… you got a pumpkin in your pants?” another public airing.