The problem with rock, and rock music is that the majority of bands that helped to make it what it is never passed the torch. As a result, we’ve got groups of guys in their late fifites to sixties trying to make the same music that they made back in their hay day. The problem with this is that tastes have changed. Times have changed. Artists change. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are back again with their second album in the last decade, The Getaway. After middling reviews and underwhelming audience response to their 2011 release, I’m With You, the band attempts to make another go at reclaiming their former glory.
You can immediately tell that The Getaway is an attempt for RHCP to get back to their roots. Prior to the album’s release, Flea himself had said that he was studying quite a bit of piano in order to incorporate the sounds into their music. What was immediately evident from the first single, Dark Necessities, was that this album attempted to return to the funk roots that made RHCP so popular. It was never the melodic rock they produced, it was never the Scar Tissue type songs that made them what they were. In the end, it was Anthony Kiedis’s staccato style singing. It was the bass slap combined with the signature rhythms that set them apart from the rest. We tuned in to hear funk.
While The Getaway is a solid mix, there are definitely a lot more funk records on this than anything else. It seems that Klinghoffer has finally found his place as the band’s guitarist. It’s hard to follow an act like John Fruciante, however Klinghoffer seems to do a much better job assimilating into the band’s style. I’ll say this, the title track is the weakest song on the whole project, but there are definitely a few good songs on here. Dark Necessities was easily my favorite, as it reminded me of a much older version of the Chilis. Ultimately, poor mixing of both the album, and select song does bring the final project down.
To elaborate on this, it seems that while mixing, or even while composing the album, some missteps were made. Obviously disjointed production occasionally makes the album feel lost, almost as though the Chili Peppers are trying to unsuccessfully emulate themselves in some sort of odd third party out of body experience. There’s a definite lack of new ideas, there’s a definite toothless feeling on this album. The Chili Peppers don’t have the punch they had before, but the newer, mellower vibe may not always be a bad thing…it may just take some getting used to.
Ultimately, I’ll say this. The album doesn’t break any new ground. There’s nothing here that will make you think you’re listening to something experimental. Ultimately, it’s an album for Chili Peppers fans, avid ones. If you’ve always and will always love them, this is for you. If you’re a person who was looking for a full return to form, a full on Chili Peppers takeover, this is not it. It’s a ghost of what they once were, but more important than that, it feels like the wind down of a very long career that’s been getting more and more mellow as time goes on. If you’re an RHCP fan, pick this one up, if not, you’re not missing anything.
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