I’m going to be honest here: I am not that big of a Red Hot Chili Peppers fan. I enjoy their older stuff, like “Higher Ground” and “Under the Bridge,” but at the end of the night, their music just got boring. I bought their 2006 platinum-selling album Stadium Arcadium the week it came out, and only got about five songs in before I became bored. That’s pretty sad, considering that the album was two discs long. But after a five year absence, and a guitarist change (I must admit, John Frusciante was and still is an incredible guitarist), the Chili Peppers are back with their long awaited 10th album, I’m With You. I’m glad to say, it’s just a funky and fun as they were back when they were truly relevant.
The album starts with “Monarchy of Roses,” which is both filthy (in the best way possible) and incredible. “Brendan’s Death Song” is a mellow send-off, almost feeling like a song to march and mourn to. Their first single off of I’m With You, “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” is as rambunctious and fun as Stadium Arcadium’s “Dani California” which makes for an entertaining song that will attract fans old and new. “Police Station” is a magnificent ballad that could’ve easily ended the album. Instead, ROCP delivers a couple more brilliant songs, including the smash poem style of “Even You, Brutus?” and the arena chant-worthy “Dance Dance Dance.”
The selling point to this album is the band itself. Flea is still one of the sickest bass players out there, and Anthony Keidis’ vocals are supurb, as they always have been. Take this as you will, but this is basically vintage ROCP; poetic lyrics, brilliant musician ship, and just good music. However, they aren’t really stretching their limits, because if they really wanted to create an epic album (almost their Sgt. Peppers) they probably could.
However, one thing I must nit-pick about is the new guitarist, Josh Klinghoffer. I don’t doubt that he can be a great guitarist, but nothing he does in I’m With You holds a candle to what Frusciante has done before. His work is just a bit boring. I was waiting for a giant guitar solo to come out, but it just never did. “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” had a great opporitunity to show off some skills, but instead sits on his effects pedals. He did have a nice little tag at the end of “Did I Let You Know (This I Know)” and a great session in “Goodbye Hooray,” but those are the only two that I can commend.
I’m With You is a great throwback album, and one of the better rock albums that has come out this year. However lacking in guitar substance, the rest of the band’s musical prowess helps push this along to be one of the most sound albums this year. This isn’t the Chili Peppers’ Sgt. Peppers, but if the Red Hot Chili Peppers put out another album, I wouldn’t be suprised it to be incredible. I’m With You is close, but not quite to THAT level.
Final Grade: B+
Go Download: “Police Station,” “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie”