Sometimes the best things happen under the most unexpected circumstances. Just a few days ago, on June 17h, the Red Hot Chili Peppers released their 11th studio album. The whole making process was a bit more challenging than some previous works, but that’s maybe exactly why they came back showing us the best side of their funky Californian vibe, despite the 33+ years of musical career.
It surely takes balls, to send back home a well settled band like this as a producer, after listening to almost 30 songs they’ve put together and liking just a tiny part of them. That’s what Danger Mouse did, aka Brian Burton, convinced that there was much more to take out of the guys during this process. In the very beginning, the idea was to work on this album with Rick Rubin, who became the standard producer since the innovative ‘Mother’s Milk’ & ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik’ era. However, the making of what would have become ‘The Getaway’ had to be postponed because of Flea’s snowboarding injury and there was no space left into Rubin’s calendar after his recovery. Maybe a blessing? Who knows, but it really sounds like Danger Mouse tried to get out of these guys the best riffs and choruses they’ve done in a long time.
This album brings back the California smell we were used to before ‘I’m With You’, which parted the critics and was quite harsh on the new lead guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. Well, I guess he proved that he’s feeling more than comfortable now, doing a great job bringing in some great, psychedelic melodies on every track. Starting from the addictive first single ‘Dark Necessities’ to the melodic and funky ‘Goodbye Angels’ or the surfer heartache ‘The Longest Wave’ – the instruments are melting together like they should in this band, matching Anthony Kiedis’ lyrics about the ending of a long relationship. Of Course there are some uptempo songs that literally scream to be played live, like ‘This Tinconderoga’: the perfect mixture of two songs, one with hard riffs made for the headbanger, the other is a complete slowed down, soft chorus in between (remember ‘Right on Time’?) . Another surprise is the piano appearance of Sir Elton John on ‘Sick Love’, or the story behind ‘Encore’, its bass and guitarlines were played a lot as a concert outro in the past, and were turned into a song many years later.
In my personal opinion and as a big Chili Peppers fan (yes, I have that asterisk tattooed, and yes, I traveled abroad to see them) I can say that ‘The Getaway’ brings the band back to life. The sound is exactly what you would expect from them, with maybe a few new arrangements, the pianos and some light electronic tunes here and there. Sure, there will always be fans wanting John Frusciante back on the guitar (get over it, it’s been years), or missing the old raw funk rock of the 80s. I guess some of us still have to understand that lyrics about drug abuse are passé, the instrumental magic is still here, just with another band member and come on, their musical style started to develop in this direction since ‘Californication’, so why are you acting so surprised?
‘The Getaway’ is for sure an album not only for the long time fans, but it could amaze a new crowd of people, even a younger generation for a type of funk rock only the Red Hot Chili Peppers are capable of. It could have been the following album after ‘Stadium Arcadium’ or even ‘Californication’, that’s how catchy it sounds to me. It’s so good to have them back.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are currently touring Europe. Follow the link for more infos.