Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 21
  2. Negative: 3 out of 21
  1. Q Magazine
    100
    A fantastic record, full of wonder. [Aug. 2002, p.118]
  2. A majority of By the Way features astoundingly wise steps in new, mature directions.
  3. Daring and inventive, it takes the kind of stylistic chances and creative leaps that were once the property of the heavies of '60s rock and pop.
  4. 'By The Way' is pretty much 'Californication' part two with a deeper exploration of the nu melodic Peppers, a classic LA record that somehow combines the melodic rush of the Beach Boys and Mamas and Papas and hints at the dark underbelly of the city of angels just like Love did way back in the late sixties.
  5. Certainly the most absorbing rock album of 2002, if not the best.
  6. By the Way is orchestral, taunting, sinister, beatific, rousing, jocular, nervy, ethereal, and dare I say it, mature.
  7. Overall, the album leans more toward the melodic end of their oeuvre, but they have grown into this kinder, gentler mode organically, progressively working toward this groove little by little, album by album.
  8. A near-perfect balance of gutter grime and high-art aspiration, the Rick Rubin-produced By the Way continues the Peppers' slow-motion makeover.
  9. 80
    Sonically, this is the most diverse and intriguing work of their careers.... A welcome surprise.
  10. This is one beautiful record.
  11. For every successful foray... there's a less satisfying track; the album is less focused and has a mushier center than ''Californication.''
  12. By The Way inevitably suffers for its familiarity: Had it followed 1995's so-so One Hot Minute instead of Californication, it would qualify as a revelation instead of a worthy retread.
  13. Underpinned throughout by the kind of melancholic edge discovered on radio friendly ode to smack 'Under The Bridge', and punctuated by a spontaneous, back-to-basics feel, it's an album that sees the Chilis revitalised.
  14. Mojo
    70
    The strongest Chili's album since 1991's Blood Sugar Sex Magik.
  15. By god is it ever long (it's 16 tracks), but on the whole it showcases enough of what makes the Chili Peppers a very good rock group – chief among these are John Frusciante's excellent, inventive guitar playing, and the fact that it is with tremendous conviction that Anthony Kiedis belts out even the most ridiculous words.
  16. It's not enough for Anthony Keidis to get all mature--he's supposed to say something interesting about maturity. And he's never had thing one to say about anything else.
  17. Uncut
    60
    By The Way presents a band who have mellowed and matured with unusual benefits to their music. [Sep 2002, p.118]
  18. Blender
    60
    Essentially Californication 2, a reprise of their last album. [#9, p.142]
  19. Kiedis's lyrics are absolutely baffling.
  20. By the Way is as enjoyable as being stuck in an elevator playing a Muzak version of "Under the Bridge."
  21. Spit-shine production, passionless instrumentation, (extremely) laid back grooves and laughably awful lyrics all conspire to do this once explosive band in.
User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 238 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 6 out of 238
  1. cbm
    Aug 2, 2011
    10
    By the Way represents a different direction for the Red Hot Chili Peppers compared to Californication. By the Way us is very melodic withBy the Way represents a different direction for the Red Hot Chili Peppers compared to Californication. By the Way us is very melodic with beautifully composed songs, my personal favorites being Don't Forget Me and Venice Queen. Full Review »
  2. Oct 22, 2010
    8
    It's very mellow. That might be what annoys a lot of people about it, because the Chili Peppers have always been about the funk. It's also aIt's very mellow. That might be what annoys a lot of people about it, because the Chili Peppers have always been about the funk. It's also a little monotonous at times but there really are some great songs here if you're willing to listen in a way you haven't before. The lyrics don't make sense, but who cares about that? It's a chill-out album. "Venice Queen" is my personal favorite, followed by "Can't Stop" and the title track. Great stuff. Full Review »
  3. Oct 3, 2017
    10
    Pleasant melodies that accompany the rhythm of sweet instrumental arrangements attest to the virtues of the most sentimental work of Red HotPleasant melodies that accompany the rhythm of sweet instrumental arrangements attest to the virtues of the most sentimental work of Red Hot Chili Peppers. Full Review »