RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS "By The Way" (Warner Bros.) 3 stars
If the Red Hot Chili Peppers' 1999 CD "Californication" was its "Hotel California," the new "By the Way" is its "The Long Run."
But that's not a slam. The album might turn off Red Hot Chili Pepper purists who will complain that it's not funky enough, that much of the group's edge and snark has been replaced by accessible polish and perfectionism. "By the Way" is designed for rapid acceptance, beautifully crafted and performed. With its surprisingly sunny harmonies and buoyant pop hooks it's also the ideal summer rock album.
"By the Way" wears its influences proudly. There's "Mirage"-era Fleetwood Mac in the drum pattern and lilting harmonies propelling the bright "Universally Speaking." Anthony Kiedis, often the weakest element on a Peppers disc, is singing better than ever. …