Review: I’m With You [Continuation of the Red Hot Chili Peppers Tribute Series]
Released: August 29, 2011
Genre: Alternative Rock
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Executive Producer: Rick Rubin
At the end of the successful but long and stressful Stadium Arcadium tour, emotional tensions were running high within the band, resulting in the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ plan to take a two-year hiatus from music to catch up on their lost personal lives. Frontman, Anthony Kiedis had a baby to take care of, bassist Flea went back to school, to USC, to study music theory as well as learn to play the piano, drummer Chad Smith played drums for the supergroup, Chickenfoot, as well as his own band, Chad Smith’s Bombastic Meatbats, while guitarist John Frusciante’s recorded a solo album, The Empryean, and also had an unexpected and shocking decision to make. John made the decision in early 2009 to walk away from the band for the second time in pursuit of a solo career.
“There was no drama or anger involved, and the other guys were very understanding. They are supportive of my doing whatever makes me happy and that goes both ways.”
At this point, Flea had doubts about moving forward without John, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers found themselves yet again without a guitarist and a huge void to fill. They had to look no further for their new guitarist than within their own touring group. Josh Klinghoffer, before joining the Red Hot Chili Peppers, was already widely considered the “5th Red Hot Chili Pepper”, as he would accompany the band on their Stadium Arcadium tour and play backing guitar for longtime friend, John Frusciante. Before touring with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Josh Klinghoffer had previously recorded and also toured with bands such as Gnarls Barkley, PJ Harvey, Beck, The Butthole Surfers, Vincent Gallo and Golden Shoulders. He had also fronted the band, Dot Hacker, and was part of Ataxia with John Frusciante as well as a part of The Bicycle Thief and Warpaint. The band respected Josh’s artistry, talant and experience and immediately offered him a spot to join the band.
1. Monarchy of Roses: A great opening track to the record with an unforgettable chorus and nice instrumentals. The vocals are pitch perfect and the only blemish is the synthesizer in the beginning. This song goes on the list of best Red Hot Chili Pepper songs.
2. Factory of Faith: A strong bassline drives the rap-type track but as opposed to the old Chili Pepper rap, it has a very strong dance feel.
3. Brendan’s Death Song: The first song written for the album, it is dedicated to longtime band friend and autobiographer Brenden Mullen who had died earlier in the year. This track is the only acoustic track on the record and has some psycadelic verses that catapault to the triumphant end.
4. Ethiopia: The excellent instrumentals for this song are very reminiscent of Blood Sugar Sex Magik but unfortunately the verses and vocals are rather dull.
5. Annie Wants a Baby: Another bass-driven track with some John Frusciante-esque guitar lines from Josh. The bridge and chorus are both perfect in this Stadium Arcadium-sounding track.
6. Look Around: A faced paced track with more standout bass work from Flea. The verses are rapped by Anthony with a more refined sound and bridge than previous rapped tracks in the band’s career.
7. The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie: The lead single off the album, the pop-sounding track is driven by Flea’s funky bassline and some very eerie distorted guitar riffs from Josh. The cowbell is a new feature in the Red Hot Chili Peppers sound and works nicely.
8. Did I Let You Know: A salsa-type track with heavy drum-lines and perfect vocals and answering crisp guitar lines. The backing vocals aren’t like John Frusciante’s backing vocal work but works very well. The guitar solo from Josh is exquisite; absolutely perfect. The trumpet solo also is a nice new touch.
9. Goodbye Hooray: A heavy instrumental track with progressive vocals. The chorus is anthemic but not the best of the record. The bass solo also works great in the feel of the song.
10. Happiness Loves Company: The piano-based track sounds like a song that should be in a musical. The summer themed song is a nice feel-good song with a catchy chorus but thats about it.
11. Police Station: A tender ballad about a prostitute who Anthony is in love with. The verses are very touching and with some really nice piano lines and a perfect psycadelic solo from Josh.
12. Even You Brutus?: Strong piano lines drive the song and some classic rock-type verses from Anthony. The chorus is simple but catchy.
13. Meet Me at the Corner: This song reminds me of Death of a Martian on Stadium Arcadium with the light but driving giutar line. An underrated track that grows on you and definately deserves listens.
14. Dance, Dance, Dance: A safe way to end the album, this is a Coldplay-sounding track with tender vocals and heavy drum lines. The instrumentals in the middle of the track are bliss and should have lasted longer.
Monarchy of Roses
The Adventures of Raindance Maggie
Factory of Faith
Happiness Loves Company
Dance, Dance, Dance
Final LP Rating: 8/10
The Red Hot Chili Peppers deserve immense credit for their advancement in their musicality and music-writing. All factors of the band improved during their hiatus. Anthony Kiedis’ vocals improved tremendiously and his writing ability has always been his strength. Flea’s increased role catapaults his basslines and drives the entire album’s sound. Chad Smith, as always, is an exquisite and an extremely underrated drummer. His beats are incredible in this album and his work here is by far his best effort. Josh, the new guitarist had a huge role to fill but instead of trying to emulate John Frusciante, he stayed true to himself and changed the entire band’s sound for the better. In this album you can hear many of the previous Red Hot Chili Pepper albums in the overall sound. This record has many elements of Blood Sugar Sex Magik as well as some similarities to Stadium Arcadium and By the Way, but this album has a more refined sound than the older albums. After 5 years since the band’s last studio release, I’m With You is one of the best albums of the band’s long career and deserves credit. It will take some time for fans to adjust to the newer sound, but the album is too good to simply shun it for the new sound.