The almost 30 year run of The Red Hot Chili Peppers has covered all different types of musical genres. From beginnings in a mixture of funk and punk seen in their first album Freaky Styley, to pop driven melodies in their last album Stadium Arcadium, the growth of the band is undeniable. In their newest album debut I'm With You, the band is in many ways starting on a blank slate after lead guitarist John Frusciante left the band to peruse a solo career. With a new guitarist, Josh Klinghoffer, the band is back again with an album that tries to reestablish The Red Hot Chili Peppers place in rock and roll.
The Good: The first song on the album, "Monarchy of Roses", starts off with a bang. Very out-of-hand lyrics mixed with a rock disco groove mash up, all add up to making a very creative song. The majority of songs on this album are of the same vibe taking interesting grooves and putting them into a pop song format. Songs like "Factory of Faith" and "Ethiopia" are perfect examples of this, using funk bass lines that are pushed forward by a rock drum beat that lead into catchy choruses. Overall, the ideas that they have throughout the album are a refreshing difference from standard rock albums because songs incorporate elements of funk alongside catchy lyrics and melodies. In each song, the band manages to not only be creative but also find a nice balance between instruments. New guitarist Klinghoffer seems to be more focused on subtle effects and entire compositions of songs instead of just focusing on solos and small guitar lines. This helps to provide more room for drummer Chad Smith and bassist Flea to expand rhythmic ideas creating at points very intricate drum and bass lines that seem at times to be only controlled by the foundation of lyrics brought by singer Anthony Kiedis and the pop structure of the songs.
The Bad: The main problem with this album can really be boiled down to one thing. Repetition. Although songs may have interesting and fun groves, the songs follow a standard verse chorus verse chorus format that by the end of the first half of the album becomes very predictable. What would benefit this album the most would be for songs to have creative structures that let the grooves made be able to progress instead of feeling more cut and paste. A perfect example of this repetitive feel comes from the albums main single "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie". The song does have a lot going for it in terms of the the lyrics and bass line, but the song fails to expand by only have two distinct parts, a verse and chorus that seem very stressed when transitioning between each other. The musicianship from each band member in this album is undeniable, and It shouldn't take from the fun of listening to single songs on the album because there is still a lot of enjoyment to be had. Listening to the album as a whole however, is greatly hurt by the repetitive nature of the songs. Unless ideas have room to grow the songs can in no way be as memorable as past entries from the band.
"I'm With You", is an album that doesn't really do much in terms of breaking new ground. What the album does prove is that The Red Hot chili Peppers career is far from over. Even with a change in guitarists, they still manage to have fun creating new ideas. This album is in no way a nail in the coffin for the band, but even with 30 years of experience there is still a lot of room for the band to expand.