By KENNETH BELLIVEAU
It has been roughly five years since a Red Hot Chili Peppers song played on the car radio as people drove into school. It has been five long years since the Chilis climbed the charts with Dani California. In 2006 we could not go 24 hours without hearing that song or seeing the video on television. Here we are, September 2011 and The Chilis are back with their 10th studio album titled I’m With You.
It has been said that the Chili Peppers were looking for a fresh new start with I’m With You after the departure of longtime guitarist John Frusciante. Frusciante had been with the band since 1989, although he took a break during the late ’90 to go to rehab. This is only the second album in over two decades that does not feature Frusciante’s recognizable guitar riffs. In comes Josh Klinghoffer to replace the long-standing member, and for the most part it works on the album. There are a few times when you would have expected a long solo from Klinghoffer, just so the album could show the fans what he is made of, but it does not happen. The song just ends or there is no build up to a thrilling conclusion.
Despite the fact that Frusciante is missing on certain singles, the Chili Peppers have once again provided an album that is a good mix of old-fashioned rock tunes, along with pop sounding funk tunes to keep fans interested. The songs still hold a lyrical focus like no other, as lead singer Anthony Kiedis belts out the lyrics to The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie along with Flea’s never boring bass line.
The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie is a good single to release off the album for their first single in almost five years. It is a funky ballad, but not over the top and flashy like some of their older singles. It may prove to be the start of a newer brand of the Red Hot Chili Peppers name. Much like their transition from original guitarist Hillel Slovak into John Frusciante, the band seems like they have taken time to figure out exactly where they want to go.
Frusciante may be the one people know, but for a band that has been through a lot over the years, The Red Hot Chili Peppers remained as focused as ever to bring their fans an album worth listening to.
Whether it is the funky opening to the song Ethiopia where Kiedis simply just says “E I O I E I A” a few times while breaking into the song, or the slowly building Brendan’s Death Song it is good to hear music from The Red Hot Chili Peppers, whether it be with Frusciante or not. Klinghoffer will prove over time that he can be a solid member of the band, already proving on this album that he can play multiple instruments.
He not only played the guitar for the album but the keyboard on a few tracks as well as the six- stringed bass.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers may have a few kinks to work out along the way, but with their dedication and determination, it is pretty much guaranteed that this is not the last we’ll hear from them.