Although Stadium Arcadium was a commercially successful album, for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, it was an overall disappointment. The album sold extremely well and received high acclaim, but was lacking the creative vision that made RHCP an essential band.. It was driven by a few hit songs that sounded just like everything else on the radio. With or without said songs, the album just didn’t sond like a work of the Chili Peppers.
However, it seems as though the band have rediscovered themselves on their newest album, I’m With You. The band have made a 180 degree spin from their lackluster 2006 showing, largely due to the departure of guitarist John Frusciante and the promotion of Josh Klinghoffer to full-time Chili Pepper. The result is an album unlike anything from their past catalog.
The album has a much funkier sound to it than RCHP’s style of music has had in a long time, which is seen throughout most of the tracks. It opens with the song “Monarchy of Roses,” which sets the tone for most of the rest of the album. The song builds into a very funky and catchy sound, driven heavily by a catchy bass riff from Flea. The band made a very good decision in releasing “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” as the first single from the album. As stated previously, this album has such a different sound from anything previously released, and this song is probably the best example of why the difference works. One point worth noting on this song is the difference in the guitar work. Overall, Klinghoffer is a much simpler guitarist, which works well with the new sound the band developed on this album.
Two songs against the vibe are “Brendan’s Death Song” and “Happiness Loves Company,” both of which offer pace changes to I’m With You. The former is very melodic and the closest track to their past releases, while the latter utilizes piano in a poppy way that’s definitely new to the RHCP library.
On I’m With You, the Chili Peppers have managed to create that excitement and passion that was lacking on the previous album. It does sound different, but it’s a fresh new direction for the band to move in, and one that fans will hopefully be able to appreciate. While it’s not a perfect album, it’s a good step in RHCP rediscovering themselves, making music that sounds inspired.