Still ‘Red Hot’: New Red Hot Chili Peppers album does not disappoint
It is hard to find anything wrong with “I’m With You,” the tenth studio release from Grammy Award-winning rock band The Red Hot Chili Peppers. All 14 tracks on the album are solid, tight and professionally recorded. The lyrics and music combine to make each track memorable in its own way.
Fans of the group will be happy to hear a mix of the familiar and new. Anthony Kiedis’ crooning vocals are as strong and as recognizable as ever and bassist Michael “Flea” Balzary and drummer Chad Smith continue to add powerful accompaniment to Kiedis’ voice. But a refreshing change to the Chili Peppers’ sound comes in the form of new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, who replaced longtime member John Frusciante in 2009. Every song in the album shows that the group is pushing forward and challenging themselves, stimulating growth while holding onto their original funk rock sound.
“I’m With You,” which is produced by Columbia Records’ co-president Rick Rubin, has a well-balanced combination of dance anthems and thoughtful ballads.
“The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” was an odd choice for the band’s first single. Though it oozes with the Chili Peppers’ usual California-cool beat and sensual lyrics, it is far from the most catchy or emotional track on the album.
Instead, the winner of the most catchy track has to be “Look Around” as the best possible radio track – the song has a bouncy sing-a-long quality and its synchronized claps will make it a hit when sung live.
The album’s most emotional track is also possibly the album’s best: “Brendan’s Death Song” is more raw and mature than any other track on the album. The title is exactly what the song is: on the day the Chili Peppers were set to begin rehearsals for “I’m With You,” Kiedis was informed that the group’s friend and supporter Brendan Mullen had died of a stroke. He relayed the message to the other members and they were silent, not talking about but playing their emotions. From their freestyle from that first day came “Brendan’s Death Song.” In the song, the group faces their own mortality.
But not all of “I’m With You” is so serious. “Happiness Loves Company” is positive and upbeat, while the bee-bops in the background remind us not to take the album too seriously. “Dance, Dance, Dance” ends the album well with a simple message: after it all, what can you do but dance?
Erin Bell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org