I’m With Them!
The long awaited album I’m With You by The Red Hot Chili Peppers has not left fans disappointed or disapproving of the new line-up change. Despite the departure of beloved John Frusciante, the new addition of 31 year old Josh Klinghoffer has invigorated the band with a badly needed breath of fresh air. According to Kiedis this album marks the rebirth of the Chili Peppers and the beginning of the Josh era. I wholeheartedly concur that I’m With You is fresh and pushes the limits of their typical style of funk/punk/rock music.
The songs sound familiar, energetic and upbeat with a few heavier emotional tracks like Brendan’s Death Song. This ode to Brendan Mullen immediately stands out as a retrospective look at his life and influence. Mullen was a long time friend and supporter of Anthony Kiedis and Flea who accredit him for giving them their start, opening for popular punk band the Bad Brains. This song is a real tribute to his life and influence he made on the punk rock scene in Los Angeles. When speaking about Mullen in an interview with MTV, Kiedis says ” He lit the match. And then he never lost that love and that enthusiasm for art and music and literature and people and kind of an underground scene; he kept that alive in his heart until the day he died.” The driving drums, power chords and emotion behind lyrics like “Let me live, so when it’s time to die even the reaper cries, Let me die, so when it’s time live, another sun will rise” will undoubtedly make Death Song an immediate favourite that will touch everyone who hears it.
No other track is quite as somber, most seem to express an exuberance for life and happiness. Many lyrics seem reflective and somewhat philosophical on tracks like Happiness loves Company. “We all know and struggle with some loneliness…” this album definitely marks a new era for the Chili Peppers. After a 5 year hiatus, and some soul searching and new found knowledge of music structure and theory the Peppers have a fresh new perspective to offer. The attempt to progress and experiment while maintaining a collective contribution amongst band members has really proven to be successful with this album. The piano chords and tension felt on Police Station are unlike any Chili’s song I’ve heard before. Meet me at the Corner is a contemplative track about infidelity and messing up “When it’s gone…I live and I learn and Ilose and I win, but it’s better than ever whenever I’m in, Thank You girl for everywhere that I’ve been.” This is the quintessential sweet and apologetic break up track. And Dance, Dance, Dance is the perfect party track that makes you want to turn the volume up as high as possible and dance around like a fool. Whether the songs focus on loss or life it’s refreshing and admirable for a band who has been around for 28 years to strive for growth and excellence. Not to mention a relief that they haven’t lost their passion to make music that inspires and lifts your spirits.
“I’ll see you around, Goodbye Hooray” sounds like a playful yet sincere way of telling Frusciante that the show will go on with or without him.