The Red Hot Chili Peppers are back after a five-year sabbatical with their tenth album, I’m With You. After guitarist John Frusciante left the band to pursue other interests, fans wondered whether the band could pull this album off with their new guitarist, Josh Klinghoffer.
I’m With You still sounds like the Chili Peppers: a little bit of funk, Flea’s incredible riffs on bass, Anthony Kiedis’ eclectic lyrics and Chad Smith’s energy on the drums. If you are a fan, you’ll be sold.
However, you can’t help but feel the loss of Frusciante. Klinghoffer is audible but he remains inconspicuous when compared to the other members of the band. The tracks also seem more experimental and lack the direction of previous albums such as Blood Sugar Sex Magik or Stadium Arcadium. But don’t give up all hope just yet. The Chili Peppers didn’t reach their tenth album for nothing. And this is the second time that Frusciante has left the band, the first being in 1992 (he then returned in 1998 for Californication).
The first single to be released off of the album is “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie”. It’s a well-chosen track and will give you a feel for what you can expect from I’m With You. “Factory of Faith”, “Look Around”, “Happiness Loves Company” and “Meet Me at the Corner” will soothe the panic elicited by Frusciante’s leaving. There are some songs that have a harder and more serious edge like “Monarchy of Roses” and “Even You Brutus?” that might surprise some. Throw in some slower tracks such as “Brendan’s Death Song” and “Police Station” and the Chili Peppers will have sated most appetites.
On the whole, the album will not disappoint fans, but it does sound like the Chili Peppers are in a bit of a limbo. Klinghoffer is going to have to get used to being in the spotlight and develop his own identity in the band if he’s going to make his mark like Kiedis, Flea and Smith.