Music Monday: Red Hot Chili Peppers “I’m With You”

I'm With You
I’m (mostly) With You, RHCP

Five years have passed since Red Hot Chili Peppers released a new album. “Stadium Arcadium” was a double album that was pretty good, but it had it’s share of weak moments. In fact, it’s been since “Californication” since I’ve enjoyed an RHCP album track by track. And of course, nothing they do can ever touch the absolute greatness of 1991‘s “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” which cemented my love of this band. Other than hearing “Fight Like A Brave” on the radio, by first real exposure to the band was when “Mother’s Milk” came out. I played that CD to death in 1989.

I’m With You

So now it’s 2011 and we have “I’m With You“. First on this list is the departure of John Frusciante, who joined the band during the “Mother’s Milk” era. He had left before, for a time, but this time, he called it quits for good. Replacing him is Josh Klinghoffer, who is not only a close friend to John, but had been the band’s main guitar tech since 2007. A natural selection if you ask me. Bass and drums haven’t changed, with Flea being the master he’s become in the almost 30 years he’s been with the band. And Chad Smith, who also moonlights on the skins for the supergroup Chickenfoot, still know the beats to add to the other musicians in this funk/rock band.

Track Listing

  1. Monarchy of Roses
  2. Factory of Faith
  3. Brendan’s Death Song
  4. Ethiopia
  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

The album kicks off with “Monarchy of Roses” which has many classic elements of the band’s sound and style. The next six tracks have more of a feel like that found on “Stadium Arcadium” and “By The Way” Not too many rough edges, like what made “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” such a gritty album. There are parts like in “Look Around” that pick things up nicely, with Anthony Kiedis’ rap vocals showing he hasn’t lost it. Glimmering reminders of Frusciante’s guitar playing and how it’s rubbed off on Klinghoffer. This is much different than when they brought in Dave Navarro for “One Hot Minute” which changed the sound more than loyal fans were expecting.

The lead single from this album is “The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie“, which is quite a departure for a lead single, having a good amount of the upbeat tempo that this band is capable of producing, but lacking the ultra party jam that a song like “Give It Away” rules with.

The last half of the album is a bit mixed. “Did I Let You Know” and “Goodbye Hooray” show that this new lineup work together quite well. Things slow down a lot on the final four tracks. Not really ballads, but just smoother moments of the music winding itself down. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s quite the drop off in sound. The final track “Dance, Dance, Dance” is a disappointing end, almost like it was thrown in at the last minute. Easily the weakest track of the album.

Summary

Overall, it’s a really good effort. I like the general flow of the album, but there’s some missing moments, most of it the obvious change in guitarists. Josh Klinghoffer is worthy and really good, but he needs another album to really erase the memory of Frusciante.

Anyone else have this new album? Post your thoughts and opinions below in the comments.

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