Release Date: Aug 30, 2011
Record label: Warner Bros.
The 10th Red Hot Chili Peppers album opens in chaos: the primordial rumblings of a band tuning up for a jam, perhaps for its first in a long time. You can almost see singer Anthony Kiedis standing in the corner, shirtlessly waiting to leap into the fray. The noise blooms into a Californicatin' disco inferno called "Monarchy of Roses," where Kiedis wonders, "Do you like it rough, I ask/And are you up to task?" He could be singing to himself.
The opening seconds of ”Monarchy of Roses,” the lead song on the first Red Hot Chili Peppers album in five years, are nearly panic-inducing: Random drum fills and squalls of guitar feedback elbow each other without any direction. Frontman Anthony Kiedis moans about promises and dreams in a distorted death rattle. It’s the sound of a rock & roll institution going to pieces, unable to find its footing after a long hiatus and the departure of yet another guitarist, John Frusciante.
Losing John Frusciante for a second time doesn't send the Red Hot Chili Peppers into a tailspin. By now, the Chili Peppers shed guitarists like a second skin, changing their outer layer but retaining their inner core. Such is the case with I'm with You, the band’s first album since 2006's Stadium Arcadium. If that double-disc was defined by its unwieldy sprawl, its songs spewed not sequenced, I'm with You is characterized by its focus, both within individual tunes and the songs as a whole.
You’ve got to hand it to the Red Hot Chili Peppers: these guys have never stopped believing in their own bullshit. There’s really no other way to explain why these forever shirtless Angelenos are still making music in 2011. The group’s unshakable core of singer Anthony Kiedis and bassist Michael “Flea” Balzary have, by the bewitching power of the state of California, stayed true to their teenage vision of a cosmic funk-fueled brotherhood.
It was only a matter of time. John Frusciante—arguably the most versatile, talented guitarist in “mainstream” rock ‘n’ roll—left the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2009 after 15 on-and-off years and five studio albums. For many fans and observers, the writing was basically plastered all over the wall: While his main act continued to sell out arenas and top the Billboard charts as funk-pop gods, Frusciante spent his non-Chili hours crafting homemade psychedelic solo albums and laying down session work for pal Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s experimental prog band The Mars Volta.
Review Summary: The Chili Peppers release another album. Yeah.For all intents and purposes, I’m With You probably shouldn’t even exist. Even die-hard fans must have been skeptical of an iteration of the Red Hot Chili Peppers without John Frusciante, the band’s long-time guitarist and an accomplished singer/songwriter in his own right. For the past decade or so, Frusciante’s been the one sign of life from this rapidly-aging band, to the point where it’s hard to imagine By the Way or Stadium Arcadium being halfway listenable without his considerable input.Yet, as badly as this bodes for the Chili Peppers, I’m With You is still surprisingly solid, featuring some of the band’s catchiest songs to date.
Just in case anyone in 2006 was wondering where the planet's pre-eminent funk-rock group were heading next, the Red Hot Chili Peppers released a behemoth double album with the muscular name Stadium Arcadium – surely a title impossible to read without hearing it in a meaty, WWF ring announcer's voice. Half a decade on, and with new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer replacing John Frusciante, bassist Flea has cited "life and death" (that perennial favourite) as "a major theme" of their 10th album. Might the men famous for the cocks-in-socks photo-shoot have gone all reflective on us? Not entirely.
John Frusciante’s second—and presumably final—departure from the Red Hot Chili Peppers has prompted his former bandmates to speak of their new album, I’m with You, as a rebirth of sorts, affirming how reinvigorated they feel after their lengthy break from the studio since recording 2006’s Stadium Arcadium. And having ferried their funk-rock anthems through countless albums to varying degrees of success across the last quarter century, a new direction feels somewhat overdue. Session musician Josh Klinghoffer makes an earnest attempt at filling Frusciante’s shoes, but the Chili Peppers’ 10th album only confirms that they’re a far weaker band without their virtuoso guitarist and most interesting songwriter.
When guitarist/songwriter John Frusciante left the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2009 for a second time, many were certain it meant the end of the band's ridiculous winning streak since 1991's Blood Sugar Sex Magik. After all, the only time the Chilis ever lost their box office heat was during that insufferable Dave Navarro period that came after Frusciante's first departure. The new guy, technically the fourth guitarist to join the shirtless funk rock machine, is Josh Klinghoffer, long-time friend and former RHCP backup touring player.
Certain structural changes to the Chili Peppers should have affected the feel of their 10th studio album: guitarist John Frusciante has been replaced by fresh-faced Josh Klinghoffer, and bassist Flea has been studying musical theory. Yet business goes on essentially as usual across this collection of muscular funk-rock songs, though it falls short in the ultra-catchy-hooks department. Klinghoffer is less inventive than Frusciante, only breaking loose on The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie's string-snapping solo, but he's there with the big riffs when the songs call for them, while singer Anthony Kiedis excels himself in the forlornness stakes on a sweet tribute to a friend, Brendan's Death Song.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are an alright band that inspired some of the worst music of the last twenty years. Blood Sugar Sex Magik is a pretty solid album, as is Californication. Parts of By The Way are great. They’re given less credit than they deserve because their rap-funk-rock shenanigans paved the way for the likes of 311 and Limp Bizkit, Bloodhound Gang and Kid Rock.
Formed a mind-boggling 28 years ago, [a]Red Hot Chili Peppers[/a] apparently started life as a joke, a priapic party band put together to soundtrack happening LA shindigs back before Arnold Schwarzenegger had even starred in Terminator. They are the joke that keeps giving. Their previous double player ‘[b]Stadium Arcadium[/b]’ suffered from quality control issues, and while mercifully only bringing out the one disc this time, ‘[b]I’m With You[/b]’ still feels like a journey, albeit via Megabus.
In a recent editorial by Chuck Klosterman, the pop culture enthusiast discusses a new system he’s created, alongside friend Bill Simmons, which allows music fans to assess the value of a particular musician within the scope of a band. He calls it the “Rock VORM,” which takes itself from the more agreeably quantifiable baseball statistical method, labeled VORP, an acronym for “Value Over Replacement Player.” Over a six-prong list, which includes the member’s songwriting, sonic contribution, visual impact, live performance, attitude, and intangibles, a musician is assigned a numerical, for lack of a better word, worth — all out of 100 total points a band receives. It’s a little technical, but the ideology behind it makes sense.
I'm With You is a Red Hot Chili Peppers album. No shit, right? It's a point worth repeating because not only is it the most important thing about I'm With You, it's the only important thing about I'm With You. None of the actively recording Peppers-level elite-- not Metallica, not Coldplay, not U2, not Green Day-- have been more consistently and richly rewarded for simply showing up and being themselves.
If the complex, ever-evolving back-story of The Red Hot Chill Peppers were a film franchise, the shouts of 'inconceivable' would have been growing louder over the past 28 years. This is a band who have survived death, injury, addiction to a cornucopia of substances that would terrify Keith Richards and reinventing the properties of the humble sock. And when your most level-headed band member is a moderately insane bass genius who makes a habit of impromptu acrobatics on stage, playing the trumpet mid-set and appearing in The Big Lebowski, you know you’re dealing with a bizarre bunch.
MIGUEL ZENóN “Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook” (Marsalis Music) The alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón is identifiable by his tone, which is floaty and bright and ornate; sometimes he sounds as if he’s playing a ballad even when the tempo races. But he’s also become identifiable by the quality of ideas, his particular kind of intellectual ambition. Since his first album 10 years ago he’s become something like a perfect student, the perpetually self-challenging kind.
Josh Klinghoffer. He's the new guy. The one you need to know. The Red Hot Chili Peppers' fifth guitarist is no stranger to Flea and Anthony Kiedis' La La Land, providing backing tracks on much of the band's 2006 Stadium Arcadium tour before John Frusciante left. As a collaborating quarter of Team ….
A more concise affair than its predecessor, but the Chilis’ latest is far from vital. James Skinner 2011 Over a career spanning nearly 30 years, Red Hot Chili Peppers have weathered many storms. Drug addiction threatened to swallow the band whole at various points: founding member Hilel Slovak died of a heroin overdose in 1988 while long-serving guitarist John Frusciante and bandleader Anthony Kiedis have both endured long struggles with substance abuse.
The most essential album in the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ large catalog isn’t Blood Sugar Sex Magik, their 1991 breakout that produced their biggest hit, “Under the Bridge. ” Nor is it 2006’s best-selling Stadium Arcadium, which stretched their ambitions out to fill a double album. Instead, it’s 1999’s Californication, a modest creative and commercial success that struck the ideal balance between thumping party grooves and melancholy melodies.