The Red Hot Chili Peppers are back with a new stack of music. They have been gone for a while because their later guitarist John Frusciante parted ways with the band sometime after the release of Stadium Arcadium. The Chili Peppers recruited Josh Klinghoffer, who had been their guitar tech for touring, to take the role of guitarist. With Klinghoffer, the band is now ready to release a new album to the world. Going into I’m With You, you have to wonder “Is this going to be like the mediocre Stadium Arcadium, or something fresh?”. Well, read on to find out!
After months of waiting, it is here. Red Hot Chili Peppers I’m With You. I have been following the news on this since they first started recording and got myself pumped to listen to an album of a band I barely got in to. My main exposure to RHCP’s was a greatest hits album and Stadium Arcadium. I liked a lot of the greatest hits, but found SA to be nearly all filler. So going into this, I have low expectations for Klinghoffer, and the band in general.
The album begins with what would be their take on disco. Monarchy of Roses has some gritty guitar and distorted bass intro that pops into this melodic, bass driven disco-esque jam. It sets the tone for the whole album and what these guys are willing to bring to the table. That then drives into the second track, Factory of Faith. Its basically a bass and drum heavy song, but the added guitar accents the entire poppy groove brought upon you.
Next, the album rolls into the slow song of Brendan’s Death Song. I think by the title, you can tell the tone of the song. The acoustic guitar sounds like it was recorded on a crappy microphone like maybe even a boom box speaker. The rest of the band joins in to give it some clarity. It’s one of the longest songs on the album and it really kicks up about 2/3 of the way through.
Ethiopia is where this album picks up. It has a strong jazzy bass line from none other then the legendary Flea. Klinghoffer shows what he’s got in this track with some interesting diddies and groovy chords placed well in there. Plus his guitar break adds something needed to this track.
This whole album is a very solid mix of plenty of smooth rock/jazz/funk genres. There are a few of easy listening songs like Dance, Dance, Dance and Happiness Loves Company. But it’s not all softies, theres some upbeat fast paced jams such as Look Around with the spring reverb drowned guitar and the bass heavy Goodbye Hooray. Not to mention my personal favorite, lead single, The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie with it’s psychedelic funk groove with Chad Smith‘s excellent use of cow bell.
As a whole, this album is one solid piece of experimental funk rock. They really brought out some interesting elements with the guitar. For most rock albums, the guitar is the main focus and the star of the show. For RHCP, Klinghoffer takes the back seat to the show off that is Flea. Not to say thats bad. Klinghoffer did an excellent job in my opinion. His guitar accents the powering bass perfectly. Can we talk about the drums? I’ve been dying to talk about the drums! Chad Smith‘s drum work is fantastic. He is on par with every beat he is needed, while still being able to throw in some classic shuffle in there. His work on Rain Dance Maggie is too good to break down. The way Smith and Flea work together is on a completely different level. Flea is Flea. No explanation needed.
As for Anthony Kiedis, his vocals are great. He manages to hit every note and doesn’t fuck up when the spot is on him like the intro of Brendan’s Death Song. His lyrics are well written. Brendan’s Death Song is another example of the meaningful lyrics Kiedis can still put out.
The production is very good for this. I don’t hear any unnecessary noise from the guitars, or unintended noise I should say. The final mix is superb with the bass, drums and vocals taking the show while the guitar puts the cherry on top. Producer Rick Rubin did a great job with this one, getting the best out of each member.
How does this stand with the rest of the albums? Well, I wouldn’t say it’s their best album. Everything may go well for this album with production and overall groove, but I won’t say it stands up to Blood Sugar Sex Magic, Californication, or By The Way. Those albums are on a whole ‘nother level of great. I don’t see many strong singles coming out of this album other than Rain Dance Maggie.
Overall, this is a solid album. It’s easy to listen to and it gives a newer feel to The Red Hot Chili Peppers. The composition of the songs, though not very conventional, are still very solid. Josh Klinghoffer proved to be very useful with his guitar accents on his RHCP debut while the rest of the band put out a great, but not classic, performance. I would still recommend taking a listen, but don’t expect something to go down in record books. I guess you could say this album was more of an experiment with different styles. The band may just be trying to move on into something different. Now we can only wait for their next release to see where they go!
I’m With You – 7.5/10
1. Monarchy Of Roses
2. Factory Of Faith
3. Brendan’s Death Song
5. Annie Wants A Baby
6. Look Around
7. The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie
8. Did I Let You Know
9. Goodbye Hooray
10. Happiness Loves Company
11. Police Station
12. Even You Brutus?
13. Meet Me At The Corner
14. Dance, Dance, Dance
Favorite Song: The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie
I’m With You is available in stores and online via Warner Bros.