A Blend of Funk and Melody: A Review of The New Red Hot Chili Peppers Album

Unnumbered Album Review #1

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I have never written a professional review of anything. I’ve written very few reviews to begin with. But I do have a lot of opinions on the media I consume and I do care a lot about the art that I enjoy. So, considering that this is my newly established blog about art and media and that I made some promises about reviewing things, here is my review for the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album The Getaway.

Since this album was released twenty days ago on June 17th, it hasn’t received such a glowing reception. On the website, Metacritic, the album has Metascore, based on 24 reviews by professional critics, of 65%. Which is not quite what I would have expected when I first listened to this album.

One thing you should keep in mind when reading this review is that I haven’t been much of a fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers over their almost 35 year career. I don’t think I have even listened to one of their albums all the way through.

So when it came to this album I listened to with virgin ears. Because of this I think I wasn’t bogged down by the history of the band and their sound. I didn’t care if this was the bands best album or worst. I didn’t care how this album compared to the last one and I didn’t care if this measured up to their best album (which I do know is believed to be by many to be Blood Sugar Sex Magic).

But when I came to this album with my virgin ears I was free to enjoy it as I pleased. And I did enjoy this album, I think it’s a great album; now bear with me as I review the album track by track (I find this method as boring as you do and am trying to think of a more exciting method).

The first song on this album, The Getaway, gives me the urge to go outside at night and look at the stars. The quick plucking of the guitar and vibrating keyboard are used to repetitively to send the listener straight into the stratosphere and Anthony Kiedis’ vocals really tie the song together with a sense of wonder. I would love to listen to this song at a planetarium.

The next song on this album, Dark Necessities, which is the first song I heard and the one that hooked me into the album, is one of my favorites. The rhythmic repetition and the slow build of the intro that stop dead in their tracks before the bass comes in just filled with funk always get’s me. The chorus and Kiedis’ lyrics never encourage the darkness of the human mind but it’s acceptance of the darker sides of the human mind that I find ultimately appealing.

The next song on this album, We Turn Red, I think is where I am going to lose long time Chili Peppers fans. Because I love the way this song blends the funk that the band is known for and the smooth melodic tones of Kiedis’ lyrics and Josh Klinghoffer’s guitar. This seems to me to be a good way to sum up the album as a whole, a blend of funk and melody.

But it’s not just the blending of these two musical styles that really ties the album together, it’s the way the bands blends them. On some songs, like Go Robot, the air is thick with funk, but then on other songs, like the Longest Wave, we get a more melodic song with grand piano playing in the chorus.

The blending of these two musical styles is a little disjointed and at times uneven. Which is sort of like the Red hot Chili Peppers themselves. Over the years, The Chili Peppers have gone through entirely too many line-up changes. The chemistry within the band is always mercurial and changing and this seems to be reflected on this latest album, from the changes in style on Go Robot and The Longest Wave to the change in mood on the last two songs on the album, The Hunter and Dreams of a Samurai. The first of which is a slow, haunting reflection on Kiedis’ life and the second a psychedelic rock explosion, which seems to be about how much the world can affect a sensitive person.

This dichotomy is what, I think, really pulled me toward this album and sucked me in. All of the unbalance and tug-of-war type musicality fascinates me and because of this album I really dug in deeper into the history of the band and saw just how chaotic it really was and is. All of the drugs and the deaths and the line up changes it really is no wonder The Red Hot Chili Peppers would release an album like this.

But, looking back on the band’s history and listening to this album, I don’t think that the members of The Chili Peppers have any judgments to lay over their chaotic band history because although it must have brought some dark times to the band, as Kiedis says on this album, “Dark necessities are part of my design.”

I told you I couldn’t review this album track by track.

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