Red Hot Chili Peppers: I’m With You

red hot chili peppers, rhcp, I'm With YouRed Hot Chili Peppers: I’m With You
Since 1988, the Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ line-up has consisted of Flea, Anthony Kiedis, and Chad Smith. It seems the only member they can not keep is a lead guitarist. For the second time in two decades, John Frusciante quit the band to pursue a solo career and so the Chili Peppers are forced to find a new guitarist. Unlike the failed 90s experiment when they hired superstar guitarist Dave Navarro, this time the band hires Josh Klinghoffer, a veteran session and touring musician.
To be fair, Josh Klinghoffer is as close to John Frusciante as the Chili Peppers are going to get. Not only does Klinghoffer look remarkably like Frusciante but he is a frequent collaborator with Frusciante, having worked on his solo albums. The Frusciante similarities makes it a seamless transition to the Klinghoffer-era of the band. We see this on his first album with the band, I’m With You.
The album sees the band attempt to go back to their roots of punk/funk fusion that the band created in the late 80s. The experiment has varying levels of success. Album opener “Monarchy Of Roses” features a thumping disco beat while the band seems to explode over it. Anthony Kiedis uses a distorted vocal effect for the verses that is reminiscent of Chris Cornell on “Spoonman” while Flea puts out a classic walking disco bassline. The track truly does sound like a classic Chili Peppers tune.
On the other end is “Factory of Faith.” The track features Kiedis doing his classic “rapping” over funky rhythms. Rapping has never been Kiedis’ strong suit, especially since rapping has become more of an artform and less of a recreational activity. Kiedis busts out with lines like “All my life I was swinging for the fence/I was looking for the triple/Never playing good defense” and “Piece of work// I was really quite a jerk//Keeping score is such a bore, a busy mind can go berserk.” The cringe-worthy verses are narrowly saved by a catchy chorus.
Despite a plethora of old skool songs, the Chili Peppers have not completely given up their almost adult-contemporary ways of the last decade. “Annie Wants a Baby” could be played on nearly any lite rock station if it wasn’t for Flea’s inappropriately heavy bass.
Overall I’m With You is a mixed bag. If the Chili Peppers goal was to make a throwback album then they were successful but it is important to remember that in the 80s and 90s, the Chili Peppers weren’t flawless (anyone remember their cover of Bob Dylan‘s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”?). So if you’re going to take the good, you have to take the bad.
Rating: 6.7/10
MP3: Red Hot Chili Peppers “Monarchy of Roses”
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