Album Reviews

Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m With You Review

Released By : Warner Music

Genre : Alternative

Link : www.redhotchilipeppers.com


Tracklist:

01. Monarchy of Roses
02. Factory of Faith
03. Brendan’s Death Song
04. Ethiopia
05. Annie Wants a Baby
06. Look Around
07. The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie
08. Did I Let You Know
09. Goodbye Hooray
10. Happiness Loves Company
11. Police Station
12. Even You Brutus?
13. Meet Me at the Corner
14. Dance, Dance, Dance


It is with great regret and sorrow that I bring to you this review for the new RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS album I’M WITH YOU… “Why regret and sorrow?” you ask. Well, as a music reviewer who covers a fair few different genres, once I have completed a review of a particular album it usually gets shelved away to be replaced with something else from my always hefty backlog and very, very rarely gets another spin. Here’s the kicker though…. I’m sad knowing that as I type these very words I will be listening to this album for the last time for a long time and that just sucks. I’ve been a big fan of the Chili’s over the years and I still tout BLOOD SUGARSEX MAGIK as one of THE seminal rock albums of all-time. Yes, since then their output has been patchy at best but it always felt like the boys had one last great album left in them somewhere. While the double-disked goliath album STADIUM ARCADIUM brought the band undone proving too much of anything isn’t necessarily a good thing it did pave the way for what would finally become I’M WITH YOU, the best album the band has released since 1991.

Possibly the most interesting fact about this new album is just how well new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer has fit into the fold. Yes, it’s common knowledge that Klinghoffer has been involved with the band for a fair while now as a back-up tour guitarist for the almighty John Frusciante, but to just sink straight in to such a powerful band and instantly sound as though you belong is no mean feat, and though nobody likes to say anything negative about Frusciante, I feel that him no longer being involved with the band has taken a big weight off their shoulders and definitely reinvigorated them.

The album is almost progressive in its nature, keeping the blend of funk and hard rock but also adding some odd time signatures, a bossa-nova segment and also a couple of occasions where you could be tempted to call the sound disco and even a near hip-hip piece too. But where most bands fall over trying to add so many elements together, the fact is that the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS are up to the task at hand and are clearly more able than most. While the strong change of direction toward a more commercial and accessible melodic sound is still rife throughout this disc, where it shines is in the fact that the band aren’t shy about adding some of their older trademarks into the fold and heading a bit closer to that oddness that helped them break out in the first place.

MONARCHY OF ROSES is an interesting choice for an opening track as I really do feel that it’s the weakest song of the bunch, luckily though things improve significantly very quickly with the perfectly funkified FACTORY OF FAITH which would have been a much better opener in my opinion. The moody and emotion-filled BRENDAN’S DEATH SONG finds the band paying tribute to a fallen comrade, L.A punk rock legend Frank Muller. ETHIOPIA is a true highlight and features some odd-sounding timing and a catchy Kiedis vocal. ANNIE WANTS A BABY is one of those super-melodic tunes that made CALIFORNICATION such a hit, and while not one of my favorites is still a strong track. LOOK AROUND brings the album alive and has a real dancey vibe to it complete with eighties style hand-claps. THE ADVENTURES OF RAINDANCE MAGGIE is an interesting one too…. Released as the first single off the album I must say that it wasn’t doing much for me at the time, but when taken in with the context of the full album it really, really grew on me. DID I LET YOU KNOW is just pure fun for sure, with a real bossa-nova type vibe to it and some great guitar work from newcomer Josh Klinghoffer. GOODBYE HOORAY is one of those songs that finds the band in full-swing and is one of the faster and heavier tunes of the album. HAPPINESS LOVES COMPANY has a slight progressive rock feel to it but is a little too jangly and sweet for me to really enjoy it. POLICE STATION is another melodic and accessible track but when mixed in with some of the more interesting numbers on the album it does actually sit quite well. Now, EVEN YOU BRUTUS? Shouldn’t work at all due to the fact that it is basically a mix of funky rock and white-boy hip-hop, but for some reason this track just smokes and is one of the highlights of the entire album. MEET ME AT THE CORNER is inoffensive and unobtrusive but just a little too bland to really be worth taking much notice of, then comes closing gem DANCE, DANCE, DANCE that has an almost U2 vibe to it and is a great send-off for what has been a pretty darn excellent album.

I feel that I may have slightly overrated this album compared to many of my contemporaries, but the fact is while a lot of people have been content with the material the Chili’s have been doling out since 1991 I have been constantly let-down and unamused, so to get such a kick-ass record this time around deserves a bit of silliness I think. Flea is still a mad genius, Chad Smith still pounds the skins like few others and as usual has the best sounding snare in rock music, Anthony Kiedis does his thing just as well as ever and new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer slots in without nary a struggle, the fact that the songwriting here is the strongest we’ve seen from the band in a long time also contributes to just how well this album flows and how good it sounds each time I play it. A well-rounded effort from a band that seemed to have fallen off the horse….

Written By ZeeZee

Rating : 9/10

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