Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Chili Peppers Are Still Spicy (Non-Biola Art Review 1)

Variety is the spice of life and the Red Hot Chili Peppers seem to agree. Their newest album “I’m With You” (2011) mixes unique sounds of funk, blues and rock from each of their albums and creates a hybrid of them all.

Marking their eighth best-selling album, the Grammy-award winning band manages to maintain the upbeat vibe from their first album mixed with the instrumental ease of
“Stadium Arcadium.” Gone are the days of continuously rapped out lyrics and repetitive chorus lines that gave them initial success with “Blood Sugar Sex Magic” (1985). Their new album presents a variety of ska, funk and alternative rock, easy on the ears of any surf or skate fan; a compilation of the best of their style.

The 14-track album gives proof that the band is slowly but surely refining their sound. Anthony Kiedis vocals have decidedly improved since the debut of their first album and the band has amped their instruments into rock machines.

Holding consistent with the sound of their last album, “Stadium Arcadium” (2006), the band continues with alternative rock chords but bring back fun-loving side of the past. There is no hint of the obnoxiousness of “Sir Psycho Sexy” (Blood Sugar Sex Magic) or the dull monotony of “The Other Side” (Californication.) What remains are the catchy beats and funky lyrics the fans fell in love with; a wonderful mixture of slow and fast songs, great riffs courtesy of guitarist Josh Klinghoffer and even some saxophone and piano thrown in, thanks to the many talents of bassist Michael “Flea” Balzary.

“Happiness Loves Company” and “Monarchy of Roses” are good for bobbing your head around as you get through the day. “Did I Let You Know” throws in some brass instruments, while “Ethiopia” brings back a taste of the hit single “Californication” (Californication) and that’s not a bad thing. The style is the same, the melody sounds the same, but it doesn’t make the song boring. “Even You Brutus?” is similar to the band Cold War Kids but there is no mistaking whose voice is on the track. Kiedis carries an undeniably unique sound. A new element to the artist’s style is the smoother, softer side of alternative rock, most apparent in “Dance Dance Dance” and “Meet Me At The Corner.” Think The Killers meet 311. It’s a welcome addition to their repertoire.

Although there are some tracks that don’t necessarily seem pure Peppers, Kiedis’ voice leaves no doubt that the band will always stay true to themselves. Change can be a positive thing. The Red Hot Chili Peppers have managed to stay true to their style while upgrading their music to a new level. It’s fun, it’s nice to listen to, it’s laidback. It’s them.

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