Red Hot Chili Peppers releases I’m With You

BY DI STAFF | SEPTEMBER 01, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 10th studio album, I’m With You, dropped Monday. Fan’s confidence in the band’s direction will not.

When listening to I’m With You, one needs to realize that John Frusciante, voted 18th best guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone and best guitarist of the last 30 years by the BBC, is gone. And he’s not coming back. (Hah — I bet that’s what everyone thought when he left in 1992.)

What you will hear is Anthony Kiedis singing about the band’s two favorite topics, sex and California, Flea pumping out thunderous bass riffs, and Chad Smith laying down tight drum cadences, making them seem almost like a single rhythm-master mega-musician, and the group’s eighth guitarist to date, Josh Klinghoffer doing his best to fill a Frusciante-shaped hole and doing a pretty decent job, considering the size of the gap.

If you’re one of those people hoping for an in-your-face funk album with Kiedis rapping into the mike, the fan that everyone knows, the “I only like their old stuff” fan, then I’m sorry. I’m With You is not for you.

The band has matured, and this album reflects that.

“Brendan’s Death Song” stands out on the album. It is the album’s longest track at 5:38, and it seems to be the song that the band puts the most heart into. The song is about a club owner the Pepper members worked with early in their career. It begins slowly, with an acoustic guitar behind Kiedis as he sings, “When you hear this/you know it’s your jam/it’s your goodbye.” From the soft start, Klinghoffer plugs in, and the songs transforms into a hard rocking sendoff.

Immediately after “Brendan’s Death Song,” “Ethiopia” is a catchy tune with bouncing bass and staccato guitar cuts. It is one of the few songs on the album that made me add a shoulder sway to my tapping foot. Rhythmically, “Ethiopia” is a gem. But lyrically, it falls short when Kiedis abandons words altogether and sings “E, I, O, I, E, I, A.” I expect it will be the album’s next single after “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie.”

“Did I Let You Know” is easily my favorite song on the album. Reminiscent of By The Way’s “Cabron,” “Did I Let You Know,” a far cry from the rest of the tracks on the album. It features a trumpet solo, Caribbean drums, and the best guitar riff on the entire album. Klinghoffer sings in the background, and it pains me to say this, he may sound better then John Frusciante ever did.

Overall, give this album a chance; if you don’t think it represents the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s best or worst work in the past 10 years, I’m With You.

Rating: 3/5

— by Jordan Montgomery

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