“I’m With You,” the newest album from our dear friends the Red Hot Chili Peppers kicks off with a seemingly rough start. Track one on the album, “A Monarchy of Roses,” begins with what sounds to be a band tuning their instruments for the first time in years. Judging by the fuzzed out sound and lack of catchiness, it seems as though the Chili’s have lost it. Lead singer Anthony Kedis begins to pour his watery, moaning vocals into the chaos, and then suddenly we are saved by a pounding surge of upbeat guitar and funky bass. A relieved sense of content brings you back down to earth and you hear Kedis’ voice sounding just like we left it.
It has been five years since they blew our minds with 2006’s “Stadium Arcadium,” although this time they’re back with yet another new guitarist. After John Frusciante left the Chilis for the second time in 2009, he was replaced with Josh Klinghoffer who had already spent time playing with them on the road. “Monarchy” continues to please for the rest of its four minutes and we get introduced nicely to Kinghoffer. The rest of the album proves to be conservatively surprising. The band has managed to retain their signature “Freaky Styley” funk-pop style while giving us a new experience and fresh sound that derives from the previous styles of Frusciante.
The newest and youngest member, Klinghoffer, really brings the band to a new place, where they leave the spacey arrangements and commanding guitar sound of Frusciante. While often serving as a subtle background support in the songs, Klinghoffer’s immense range and talent surprised me in almost every song.
From “Factory of Faith,” in which the fractal, spacey guitar meshes perfectly with the mechanical sounding drum and bass combo, to “Meet Me at the Corner,” where the soft voice of Kedis is layered over Klinghoffer’s graceful and pleasantly smooth guitar, it is apparent that the Red Hot Chilis are continuously evolving in their sound and will continue to please their fans.
My Top 3
This song begins with a heavy, funk baseline followed by some affected guitar that slides in along with the drums. It sounds like it might have been a song off of “Stadium Arcadium,” except without the high-pitched background vocals or as much spacey guitar. Josh Klingkoffer gets to show off his skills with some Jimmy Hendrix style jamming and a slammin’ bluesy/rock solo. We see the Chili’s ever popular wall of sound effect during the chorus, which fades into the same trippy effected guitar that we hear in the beginning, thus ending the song.
“The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie”
The single that we all identify this album with, “The Adventures Rain Dance Maggie,” is what seemed to me at first to be a mediocre song. But after secluding myself in my room and listening to it through nice headphones (as opposed to on the radio, stuck in traffic), I really began to appreciate its quality. It’s a fresh style for RHCP, and yet the chorus is so classically them. Flea’s funk/blues style and Klinghoffer’s toying with psychedelic guitar really complement each other nicely.
“Did I Let You Know”
Klinghoffer’s guitar in this song hit me with the softest and most powerful sense of happiness, which nicely contrasted the loud and excited drums. “Did I Let You Know” invokes images of driving on a summer day with all the windows down. Suddenly it moves into a sassy trumpet line and African sounding drums, only before coming back to the beautiful guitar/vocals combination. We get another guitar solo from Klinghoffer, and the song wraps up with some upbeat guitar and synth parts.