I'm With You (2011)
Aug 26, 2011
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Please, read the entire review on www.rollingstone.com
The 10th Red Hot Chili Peppers album opens in chaos: the primordial rumblings of a band tuning up for a jam, perhaps for its first in a long time. You can almost see singer Anthony Kiedis standing in the corner, shirtlessly waiting to leap into the fray. The noise blooms into a Californicatin’ disco inferno called “Monarchy of Roses,” where Kiedis wonders, “Do you like it rough, I ask/And are you up to task?” He could be singing to himself. I’m With You finds a mighty band in a scary new role: underdog.
It’s been five quiet years since the Chili Peppers’ last album, the double-disc Stadium Arcadium. In 2009, they lost guitarist John Frusciante, a split that might’ve ended the band. But I’m With You pulls them back from the abyss, bravado intact: “Ticktock I want to rock you like the Eighties,” Kiedis sings over a Chic-kissed throb on “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie.” And so they do.
Flea says he revisited his Rolling Stones records while writing I’m With You, and in some ways it recalls the Stones regrouping post-Brian Jones, returning to their roots and building out. The Chilis and producer Rick Rubin couldn’t fill the void left by Frusciante – whose bracing, layered guitar work and maximalist arrangements defined their recent albums. Instead, they’ve gone back to the essentials of the freaky-styley funk punk that Kiedis, Flea and drummer Chad Smith invented: fretpoppin’ grooves that open up into grand, sunny pop choruses. They’ve also nuanced it – from the push-pull East African rhythms of “Ethiopia” to the “Waiting on a Friend”- style elegance of “Meet Me at the Corner” to the Latin-tinged “Did I Let You Know,” where Kiedis throws down the adorably inane rappin’ whiteboy come-on: “I like you cheeky/Oh so Mozambique-y.” […] [/one_half]