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Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You Album Cover

Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You

Reviewed by
8.0
Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You
Record Label: Warner Bros. Records
Release Date: August 29, 2011
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
It isn’t often that a band with two decades worth of success can surprise fans. It isn’t often that a band is exploring unchartered territory with their 10th studio record. But the Red Hot Chili Peppers have never exactly been predictable, and I’m With You, the group’s latest record for Warner Bros., comes across as a pleasant curveball.

Five years after releasing the polarizing, double-disc Stadium Arcadium, the Peppers tackled their monumental 10th studio record without longtime guitarist John Frusciante - the first record since 1995's One Hot Minute to not feature him. While Frusciante’s signature tone is missed on I’m With You, the record still outshines Stadium Arcadium and in the process continues the meteoric relevancy of the California quartet. Always known to play a brand of funk rock that has seen no real parallel in the mainstream, the Peppers’ core sound doesn’t change much at all on I’m With You. Drummer Chad Smith is still a rhythmic force behind the kit, while lead vocalist Anthony Keidis remains the second-most identifiable aspect of RHCP’s overall sound.

Of course, that most identifiable part of the band is Michael Balzary’s bass lines. Flea has been the glue in this band’s sound since the beginning, and whether it’s the weird-then-danceable opener “Monarchy of Roses” or the slower “Annie Wants A Baby,” this continues to be the case. Most of I’m With You, which clocks in at almost an hour in length, is fairly uptempo, which is where the group shines. The tributary “Brendan’s Death Song” ends on a chaotic note, with Smith going wild on the drums. The outro of “Look Around,” which harkens memories of Californication opener “Around the World,” is a cluster of musicianship complemented by Kleides’ familiar rap-ish vocals. One of the album’s standouts, “Goodbye Hooray,” is a blisteringly paced clinic in rock and roll. No matter which song, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are undoubtedly on top of their game when they’re jamming at breakneck speed.

As a whole, I’m With You will remind listeners fondly of Californication, perhaps the Chili Peppers’ most celebrated record. This is an extremely good thing, as this album rivals By the Way as the best post-2000 album from the band. First single “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” fits in beautifully right smack in the middle of the record, and any questionable calls are relegated to the end of the tracklisting. The mellow “Police Station” and “Meet Me At the Corner” sandwich the love-it-or-hate-it “Even You, Brutus?” which, with its preachy manner, might turn off many listeners. One positive of the track is Klinghoffer’s guitar work, which unfortunately seems hidden throughout most of the record. When it comes into the forefront, it fits nicely and he seems like a natural fit with the Chili Peppers, but too often the guitar is overshadowed – and that might be the largest drawback on I’m With You. Fans may miss Frusciante’s nimble fingers, but they certainly weren’t irreplaceable, and it would have been welcome to hear Klinghoffer take a few more liberties with his work.

It was difficult to gauge fan anticipation for I’m With You, as a cavalcade of events pointed to this potentially being a disappointing release. However, despite losing a key member, the Red Hot Chili Peppers come out triumphant with I’m With You. While it isn’t perfect and while it might not have a lot of lasting value as a whole (isn’t this the case for most RHCP records?), the album definitely has its high points and will surely spawn a few solid radio singles. Best of all, it hits home as a much more organic release than Stadium Arcadium.

8/10
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 81
04:16 AM on 09/05/11
#2
InfiniteArms
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This album definitely had to grow on me. Great review, good score.
04:20 AM on 09/05/11
#3
Steeeve Perry
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I wholeheartedly disagree with the comment: "the Red Hot Chili Peppers have never exactly been predictable". They are one of the most predictable bands around in my opinion -- their sound is so identifiable I have never heard a track and been surprised to find out it was their work.
Since Californication RHCP really seem to be stuck in a creative limbo, happily cashing in on successful past tricks.

The review as a whole is well written, you offered your opinion and gave your reasons. I wish I could like this more, and am always willing to overlook the Chili Peppers' shortcomings (lyrical genius, Kiedis is not -- you misspelt his name btw) but am disappointed with this record.

Glad you enjoyed it though, keep up the good work!
04:22 AM on 09/05/11
#4
Thomas Nassiff
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I wholeheartedly disagree with the comment: "the Red Hot Chili Peppers have never exactly been predictable". They are one of the most predictable bands around in my opinion -- their sound is so identifiable I have never heard a track and been surprised to find out it was their work.
Since Californication RHCP really seem to be stuck in a creative limbo, happily cashing in on successful past tricks.

The review as a whole is well written, you offered your opinion and gave your reasons. I wish I could like this more, and am always willing to overlook the Chili Peppers' shortcomings (lyrical genius, Kiedis is not -- you misspelt his name btw) but am disappointed with this record.

Glad you enjoyed it though, keep up the good work!
Thanks for pointing out my typo. Just because they have a consistent sound, though, doesn't mean they are predictable.
05:00 AM on 09/05/11
#5
InfiniteArms
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Thanks for pointing out my typo. Just because they have a consistent sound, though, doesn't mean they are predictable.
True. I know bands that I thought I'd always be able to tell when it's them, but when I heard Search the City and thought it was Anberlin I started asking if anyone knew who a song is being performed by rather than just assuming. :/
06:51 AM on 09/05/11
#6
CoopDawg
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I still can't believe I haven't gotten this album yet
06:54 AM on 09/05/11
#7
cubsml34
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Didn't Frusciante play on Californication? I'm pretty positive he did, I think what you meant was that this is the first album since One Hot Minute where they've played without him.
06:58 AM on 09/05/11
#8
OdourlessHobo
woop woop woop
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I agree wholeheartedly with your comment about the new guitarist being overshadowed, it seems as though he sits back on most tracks, doesn't really shine like Frusciante does.

But yeah, still trying to get into this record.
07:00 AM on 09/05/11
#9
ragnarokstar
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Didn't Frusciante play on Californication? I'm pretty positive he did, I think what you meant was that this is the first album since One Hot Minute where they've played without him.
He definitely was on Californication.
07:02 AM on 09/05/11
cubsml34
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He definitely was on Californication.
That's what I thought haha.
07:46 AM on 09/05/11
GeeBee
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Frusciante most definitely played on Californication. May want to revisit that sentence to clarify.
07:46 AM on 09/05/11
Jaytothesyg
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Really enjoyed this record. I really had low expectations for it!

Good Review/Score!
07:48 AM on 09/05/11
thesinkingship
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Just because they have a consistent sound, though, doesn't mean they are predictable.

07:57 AM on 09/05/11
the_mango
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Please. This is a 78 at best.

Kidding. Good review, decent record.
08:51 AM on 09/05/11
drevans18
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I actually think this album is pretty meh. Granted, I haven't given it more than two listens through. I just think it's decent, certainly not holding comparisons to Californication. There are a few good tracks that I really think are reminiscent of old RHCP, but all in all, I think there's something this album lacks. Doesn't do it for me.

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