Have I outgrown the Red Hot Chili Peppers, or have they just failed to outgrow themselves? That’s really the question I keep asking myself when I listen to this album, and it’s probably a little bit of both. I really just haven’t gotten much joy out of listening to the latest release from the Chili Peppers, which sucks since you know, they’ve usually been the kind of band that you could always rely on for a good time.
Of course the biggest difference between I’m With You and the last three RHCP albums is that it doesn’t feature the melodic guitar work and soaring back-up vocals of John Frusciante. In his place is…some guy, I’m not gonna go to the trouble of looking up his name, but the point is that he’s not John Frusciante. Sure, he’s got the chops to hang with such accomplished musicians as Flea and Chad Smith, but he just doesn’t have any of the heart and soul that Frusciante had. Then again, maybe this album would’ve been just as middling had Frusciante stayed with the band, since the album features a lot of the same mid-tempo jam-like material that the Chili Peppers were throwing down when he was in the band.
Still, one thing about I’m With You is that it does features some of those moments where the Chili’s just bust into some anthemic chorus, like on “Brendan’s Death Song” or “The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie”. Those moments are nice, and remind you of why these guys have stayed popular for so long, but there’s just way too many tired punk-funk jams which aren’t being done any favors by Anthony Keidis’s reliably ridiculous lyrics.
Unlike most music snobs, I have a special place in my heart for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, since they were really the only band I can remember liking from elementary school all the way up until high school. But sorry guys, maybe it’s about time you hang up the tube socks and call it a day.
Favorite Tracks: “Monarchy Of Roses”, “Brendan’s Death Song”, “The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie”