Red Hot Chili Peppers- I’m With You
Alot’s happened within the Chili Peppers’ world since Stadium Arcadium, children, departures, piano lessons… but it’s what’s been happening in their followers’ lives that makes I’m With You all the more highly anticipated. 5 years is a loooong time; if life for you today is anything like it was in the summer of 2006 you’re probably in the need of a shake up. This album marks how far you and the band have come but the familiarity of Anthony Kiedis‘ vocals, Flea‘s bass and Chad Smith‘s drumming which seems to be more key than ever here can take you back to any time over the past two decades.
It might be glib not to mention the impact that the departure of John Frusciante will have on the new album. However, I never liked his girly vocals and his elongated guitar playing is probably the reason this CD is a single disc album. If it means no more 10-minute instrumental jams live and being able to listen to their future releases in stereo without him whining in my left ear then good riddance. This is merely my opinion. To the music!
Quite strangely the album starts off with some experimental noise on Monarchy of Roses, kinda like the sound of a band picking up their instruments and knocking them about a bit before they get going. Anthony opens up with distorted vocals as he delivers his first sermon to the faithful with the typically styled “The crimson tide is flowing through your fingers as you sleep // The promise of a clean regime are promises we keep“. This could easily be the next single. While Flea’s bass playing is the usual slap happy genius that we’ve come to expected it is Chad’s drumming that keeps the heart beating stronger than it might have were there more guitar to contend with. Early signs are that Josh Klinghoffer slots perfectly into the ensemble and remedies elements that weren’t as solid as they should have been in the last decade.
The closest comparison to the past for this album is definitely By The Way, it ranges from the radio friendly to the fan pleasing to some serious soul baring from the frontman on tracks like the ballad like trilogy of Brendan’s Death Song (Like I said, you know I’m almost Dead), Ethiopia (When I lie there wide awake for my son I made- Tell my boy I love him) and Annie Wants a Baby. These are the more mellow moments of the album and as the intention seems to be playing the whole album on the upcoming tour and these will offer some welcome respite from what is always a body battering few hours.
First single Raindance Maggie was repeatedly described as “a grower” upon its arrival in the digital world. I didn’t buy that. It wasn’t Dani California, it wasn’t By The Way and a few more listens couldn’t change that. Anyway after a few listens I realised just how brilliant a track this is! It’s so funky that the actual lyrics are almost irrelevant and in reality they’re kinda nonsense which is what Mr. Kiedis is best at and we love him for that. He knows how to bring a good time for sure and that’s all this song is for, just chill out and enjoy it!
Raindance Maggie makes it to the final, who knew she had the goods? ;)
Happiness Loves Company is just fantastic. Right out of the By The Way school of songwriting it harks back to Tear in its upbeat feel and Can’t Stop when the swan gets into his flow. His lyrics here are just quintessentially Pepperish, some of it reminiscent of the frankly bonkers lyricism of All Around The World or Readymade and seriously- just as brilliant as the former. It’s also where we get to hear how Flea’s piano lessons have been going and it gives it a Wet Sand type gloss to what is likely to be a fan favourite but unlikely to be a single and those are the best ones right!
You know when AK raps? Well Even You, Brutus- while in that vibe- kinda takes that to another level. This is as close to a rap track that they’ve come to since the intro to Nevermind (Now they call me the swan cos I wave my magic wand and I love all the ladies to death) it’s similar to Love Rollercoaster and Storm in a Teacup flow wise but chills out after a little while letting the chorus bear the weight in the midsection and on the wind down but this track really sums up the flexibility that makes the Chilis so unique and way ahead of the other 80s punk rock acts still around today.
In the past I’ve tended to notice the last line of the RHCP albums as it tends to be the last testomonial that we hear for a few years and it does tend to be rather poignant…
Well, let’s play.
Highlights: Monarchy of Roses, Police Station, Raindance Maggie, Happiness Loves Company, Even you, Brutus?
Thanks to MantasV for fan made cover art