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Music Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m With You
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Obi-Dan   |  
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Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With YouRed Hot Chili Peppers
I’m With You
Warner Bros.
Produced by Rick Rubin
U.S.: CD | MP3
UK: CD | MP3
Release date: August 29, 2011

A lot has happened to the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the last 5 years. Since the release of their last album, 2006’s Stadium Arcadium, drummer Chad Smith joined Chickenfoot, bassist Flea went to school, singer Anthony Kiedis grew a moustache, and guitarist John Frusciante left due to ‘musical differences’ (why won’t bands just tell the truth and put out a statement that reads – to paraphrase Friends – ‘it’s just…we hate that guy’?). Now with Josh Klinghoffer on guitar duty, the Chili’s have released album number 10, I’m With You.

As I opened the case I kept repeating to myself, “don’t let me down, don’t let me down…”

Someone heard me. Loud and clear.

Stadium Arcadium had, apart from a small selection of songs including “Dani California” and “Hump de Bump,” had very little to revisit. At 28 tracks long, it was too much and a little self-indulgent. I’m With You includes half its predecessor’s number of tracks and twice the quality.

The one glorious sound throughout is the brilliant bass lines. Flea has been let loose and when he is left to go wild he brings the best out in Kiedis. Kiedis seems to react to Flea’s bass bump as if challenged to a musical duel and adds his frenzied energy to his vocal delivery and lyrics. “Factory Of Faith” and “The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie” are fine examples of their intuitive understanding.

Smith’s tenure in Chickenfoot has certainly refreshed him. He is energised and energetic; his crashing, pounding drumming on “Look Around” sends the chorus soaring.

Klinghoffer brings a whisper of Frusciante, but adds energy and a wealth of working with other artists that maybe Frusciante was lacking in latter years. I adore Frusciante’s guitar playing, but after hearing Klinghoffer on I’m With You, in particular “Brendan’s Death Song” and the guaranteed to sound amazing live “Goodbye Hooray,” it was clear a change was needed. And sometimes a change is good.

The sickeningly sweet “Happiness Loves Company” is a bit of a throwaway track and the dreary “Police Station” brings a lull to the momentum towards the end and I’m With You never really recovers. However, this is a great debut from the ‘new’ Red Hot Chili Peppers. My message to the band is, if this is how you mean to go on then I’m with you.

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