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Music Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers return with I’m With You

September 2nd, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Ben Hansen
Special to The Hard News Café

The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ last release, Stadium Arcadium, is known to many as the perfect product of the band’s evolution. During the run of this 2006 album, the band achieved multi-platinum status, won a Grammy award, toured sold-out stadiums across the world, and secured their name atop the genre of funk rock. Now, several years later, the band is ready to release their next highly-anticipated album.

The new album, I’m With You, will immediately be embraced by fans as the Chili Peppers stay true to their roots while providing new material that doesn’t sound like a revamped version of roads already traveled.

“Monarchy of Roses” is the opening track. Forty-something seconds into the song, the band explodes into typical form, with bass player Flea and drummer Chad Smith galloping into an epic rhythm line reminiscent of the backing grooves you would hear while playing favorite NES Capcom and Konami games. The foot-tapping continues into the next track, “Factory of Faith,” which definitely urges you to move your limbs or gyrate hips.

Singer Anthony Kiedis is solid throughout as expected, excelling on tracks like “Look Around.” His ability to fill open space with random rhyming patterns and lyrical cycling is concrete, and his placement of “vocal silence” is timed perfectly with each track.

Many fans would expect an album front-loaded with the best tracks reminiscent of other big hits. But this is definitely not the case with I’m With You, as the disc is a deep offering of good tracks, like other albums in the Chili Peppers’ catalogue, evidenced by placement of the recent radio hit “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” seven tracks into the album.

One of the biggest questions lingering in fans’ minds has been how the band chemistry will work since the departure of guitarist John Frusciante. While many would consider Frusciante’s position in the band irreplaceable, new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer admirably fills the gap, offering good guitar fill lines between Flea and Chad while also contributing some higher octave background vocals. While there aren’t quite as many of the standout guitar moments as on previous albums, Klinghoffer is able to deliver a commendable offering, creating the opportunity for the rest of the band to do what they do best around him.

Time has moved by very slowly over the last few years for those anxious to hear new Red Hot Chili Peppers music. If you happen to be one of these millions, you will find that I’m With You was worth the wait. Now that the Chilis’ 5-year silence is broken, one can only hope that the band will tour extensively to support this welcome addition to their catalog.





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