Sunday, 6 November 2011

Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You - My Take

This is going to be a tough one. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are a band close to my heart, I will try not to let this affect an honest review.

Remember the distinctive guitar parts of Under The Bridge? Give It Away? Californication? Snow? John Frusciante, the creator of those amazing riffs has left, and is replaced by long time friend and collaborator Josh Klinghoffer. Being a huge fan of John, his departure made myself and many others (including the remaining members) consider the future of the band and what it can be without him. Anthony and Flea eventually decided 'onwards & upwards' so here we are with 'I'm With You'

The first thing you'll notice is that Josh has chosen his own path, a path which does not see him replicate Frusciante's virtuoso licks and chops, with often raw to the core emotion driven solos. This works well on a few levels, but the problem is when it comes to the soloing itself, it's almost as if he isn't interested. Both The Adventures of Raindance Maggie and Factory of Faith have low key, low on the neck solos with well spaced but not at all interesting note combos. A downside to his otherwise warming textural playing if ever there was one.

Soon enough you arrive at Brendan's Death Song; widely accepted to be one of the top 20 songs the band has made, no mean feat when you consider the quantity of rock chat #1's RHCP have had, more than any other band in fact. It's brilliant, one of the few songs on the record that actually invokes some kind of emotion within an album that sadly is nowhere near as effective as By The Way or Stadium Arcadium.

Chad favours disco-styled beats throughout, which brings an interesting twist on the band’s works. He’s a little less in your face this time around and quite frankly is on absolutely top form with bassist Flea (Who was recently voted #2 bassist of all time in Rolling Stone) With this in mind, it begs the question (to myself) why isn’t the album as engaging and catchy?

The album for me is littered with small flashes of brilliance on sheer plateaus of blandness. Annie Wants A Baby has some fantastic moments, the swaying guitar, and the gently sung ‘sent along the way’ is a truly effective melody. The guitar work here most reminds me of Frusciante, perhaps that’s why it’s my personal favourite.  There are a couple niggling things; For one I find that Anthony isn’t supported strongly enough with background vocals, too often his voice just doesn’t quite cut it when holding the extra syllables. As well as this, the emotion is pretty much there, but the cryptic and often exciting lyrics of albums passed are not as present. Pretty much every message conveyed on the album is written on a billboard for all to see.

 File:RHCP I'm With You Cover.jpg

I think overall I’m With You is a Mother’s Milk of sorts. Josh is asking himself ‘what does this band’s fan base need from me?’ Similarly to John when he replaced Hillel Slovak. The band is effectively new. It’s by no means a failure but it doesn’t quite live up to their high standards. If I may make one more point, it is that the name 'I'm With You' is a very bad choice. It's not at all memorable nor enjoyable to have bouncing around your head. 'Uplift Mofo Party Plan' is more like it.

So, is there a Blood Sugar Sex Magik coming up next?  Thanks for reading, I’d love to hear your views, feel free to share with fellow RHCP fans.


Lori said...

I think it's an all around bad idea to compare this album to the ones with John. It's a different band and it has a different sound. Josh is in a lose-lose situation with a lot of RHCP fans. If Josh had filled this record with riffs and solos that sounded like Frusciante, people would have been complained that he was copying JF. Now that he hasn't, people are complaining it doesn't sound like JF. I think it's best to let Josh be Josh.

If you are listening to this record hoping to hear Stadium Arcadium part 2, you will be disappointed. If you open yourself up to a new sound from a group of people who love music with every cell in their body, you might just enjoy it.

I'm actually really excited to see what they do next time, especially after touring and building up a close relationship with JK.

Gibbo said...

I completely agree with your comment. I believe reviewing the album as a standalone piece of work from a new band would be tough though. I enjoyed the album of course as I said, just not quite as much as I had hoped.

Thank you for your comment and time.

Daniel Alejandro said...

looks good brah

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with your review. It's good, but with all the hype, I expected more. Or maybe it's just that I miss John.

Anonymous said...

Great music bro

No Public Names said...

I'm pretty tame when it comes to music so it's always cool reading other people's opinions. Keep up the good work.

Deso said...

Just heard Californication on the radio today. First time hearing RHCP in a while. Good stuff.

ElectroMan said...

Great music bro

Anonymous said...

Awesome song in deed

hightechholic said...

One of my favorite bands man! :)

hightechholic said...

One of my favorite bands man :)

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