Red Hot Chili Peppers: I’m With You

The newest addition to the Peppers’ repertoire…is anyone really bothered by it? And by that I mean, does anyone really care? I mean, it’s been five years since “Stadium Arcadium” (granted most of the more recent RHCP albums have taken four years to make) and even with the added second disc of songs, the songs off that album still weren’t all that great, with the exception of the two singles you heard everywhere. The be all to end all a this point is that the band just doesn’t seem to write good songs anymore. Allow me to elaborate:

First thing that stuck out to me while listening to this record was the drastic change in the way the guitar sounds and is presented as opposed to when John used to play. I feel like some people might not truly appreciate what John did with his guitar to add to the Peppers’ sound. Maybe because they were too fixated on what Flea was doing or what Chad Smith was doing? Whatever the case is, I’m sure we can all agree that the band sounds monumentally different without John playing guitar. Keep in mind that John was the guitarist for the majority of the band’s career (from “Mother’s Milk” through “Stadium Arcadium”) and all of the hits that we associate with the Chili Peppers are in part, owed to John for creating that fresh and dynamic sound that can’t be recreated (at least, not with one album). What i’m trying to say it, the old saying “Don’t know what you got, til it’s gone” most certainly applies to this particular aspect of this album. I also noticed a lot of pianos in this album, more so than other previous albums (that might just be me, but i can’t seem to recall that many piano songs on older records) and simple strummed guitar chords underneath that (I’m referring to “Police Station” and “Even You, Brutus?”). I think they might be trying to compensate for their lack of John on guitar to some extent.

Another thing that stuck out immediately was that a lot of songs and lyrical themes on this album deal with being sober and religious revelation. Every now and then, you come across bands that were heavily doing drugs in their early years and then get clean and sober, but because they can’t quite recreate some of the drug-induced song ideas from the past, they don’t have much to talk about other than how much fun they’re having being clean and sober and a couple songs and moments in some songs give me that impression. I really don’t care if you like being sober. I’m sure everyone who was as into drugs as you guys were would love to be sober. i don’t need to hear about it in every other song or every other lyric.

Now, the songs on this record simply just aren’t that good as a whole. When “RainDance Maggie” was first aired on the radio I didn’t like it at all, but I  was reminded of the fact that “Dani California” wa sthe first single released off of “Stadium Arcadium” and that the first single released is always their poppy radio friendly  single, so I didn’t let that one song affect my views on the album as a whole…until I listened to the rest of it. The first song on the album isn’t all that bad, but in my opinion thats it really. The songs on this record are too abstract and not in the RHCP’s vein at all or too poppy and radio friendly and even though those songs are tolerable, thats not exactly what we want from the Peppers. I don’t know, maybe I;m just being a bitter old man who doesn’t know what he’s talking about…but I just want them to do heroin again and write better songs again.

Anyway, in conclusion, if you haven’t figured out that I really didn’t like this album, then you really shouldn’t be reading my reviews. i do encourage those of you though who did enjoy this record or didn’t hate it to come forward and explain why so that we may discuss. Maybe I sailed over something in my rants.

Coming up, Kittie, Stray From the Path, The Devil Wears Prada and much much more.

Take care,

Luke Helker

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