Review Summary: A bad start to the Chili Peppers' fourth decade.
4 of 4 thought this review was well written
The Chili Peppers mean a lot to me, taking that I was a young child when I heard "Dani California" on pre-VEVO youtube (which is to my generation what pre-Oompa Loompa MTV is to Gen X). I fell in love with its parent album "Stadium Arcadium" and my family listened it almost obsessively on every trip in 2007. Looking back on that album, I do realize that it isn't that good, but it got me hooked. After maturing a little bit more (AKA eighth grade), I dove almost headfirst into the rest of their discography. And it astounded me how much the band has changed within thirty years. Okay sure, thirty years is a long time but then again the U2 of 1981 isn't that different from the U2 of 2011, neither is Social Distortion or Sonic Youth. The Chili Peppers, though evolved from the half-jokey hyper-funk of their Eighties discography, to the introspective soft arena rock of the nineties and today. Is a band allowed to change that much? Hell, even Radiohead's albums have a passing resemblance to the last one!
Which brings us to their tenth studio album, "I'm With You". This album and I also have quite an intricate history. When I first bought, I hated it and stopped listening after "Raindance Maggie". Then I decided to actually listen to the whole album, and it turned out that the last seven weren't half bad. After listening "Police Station" and "Even You, Brutus?" half a dozen times, I decided to take a break from the Chili Peppers and further explore my Alt and Indie obsession (Smashing Pumpkins, Arcade Fire and Blur). I then sat down and listened to "I'm With You" again, that's when the bomb exploded.
On the first listen, the exit of Frusciante leaves suitably large hole to fill and in all respects Josh Klinhoffer fills it nicely. Granted, his chunky muscular playing doesn't have nearly as much impact as John's melodic minimalism, but asking anyone to fill in those boots means that you have to high of expectations. Chad Smith's drumming is also wonderful, showing that he has matured from the heavy-metal neanderthal bashing that he employed on his debut with the group. Flea plays as relentlessly as ever. The rhythm section is probably the album's greatest strength and it was smart for the first half-hour to be almost solely devoted to them instrumental wise.
The main problem I have with this album is Anthony. On all of the Chili Peppers post-"Californication" albums his lyrics have became increasingly nonsensical and inane, but at least each LP had a few songs that had a singular theme. On here, though, he's just lazily rhyming words and singing about sex in metaphors that'll make a high school poet cringe. Even his singing voice, which has shown itself to be a surprising thing of beauty since he started getting coached on it, has became an annoying whine. Usually the choruses are the best things on a Chili Pepper song, but here they sound surprisingly, for lack of a better word, stupid.
The two tracks that actually have a theme to them are usually the only bright spots on the album. "Police Station" basically follows the same "California isn't all that great, man" story line as so many other Chili Pepper releases, but hey it actually works. The other track, "Brendan's Death Song" is a yearning introspective tale of a man's dying days that is based on a close friend. This track features great tribal drumming from Chad and wonderfully touching coda. The other good track on here is "Even You, Brutus?", which doesn't necessarily follow a theme but makes up for it with the really playful delivery. On here, Anthony basically yelps into the microphone and Josh takes advantage of the wah pedal. The only thing wrong with the song is the really annoying chorus that comes completely out of nowhere.
All in all, does this album really deserve a 2.5? Tell you the truth, I don't know. The album seems like an awkward transition for the Chili Peppers from one guitarist to the next. A good way to look at this is as an audition record in the same way as the Rolling Stones' "Black and Blue". Now that Anthony and Co. know that they can play with Josh, they can now work towards better albums. So yes, I look forward for future Chili Pepper releases and who knows: John might come back and the band will become a fuller five peace.
Not a bad review dude, and I see why Anthony annoys you, but I actually enjoy this album (There, I said it). I think if some songs like Dance, Dance, Dance *vomits in mouth* were omitted this would have been taken a bit more seriously.
"Not a bad review dude, and I see why Anthony annoys you, but I actually enjoy this album (There, I said it). I think if some songs like Dance, Dance, Dance *vomits in mouth* were omitted this would have been taken a bit more seriously." 
Good review, man. Next time, though, spend a bit more time just looking the review over, as it's filled with typos and grammatical screw-ups
Even if every other song on this was a 1, I would probably at least 3 this just for "Monarchy of Roses", "Police Station", and "Even You Brutus?" each being great. Some people like "Look Around" but that's my least favorite song, the chorus annoys me. This should maybe just be a 3.5 but I'm a homer.
@ Spirit I get that some people don't like this band, but compared to a lot of overrated bands (e.g. one-trick ponies like AC/DC) this band actually comes up with a ton of really original ideas and executes them (mostly) well.
If youre referring to Frusciante and why he left, he just left... no bad blood. His first leave was because of drug addiction but now he's sober, and is following a pseudo-Zen like lifestyle. i mean he's a sweetheart. he said it was something he felt he had to do. - but this is what i heard from a months back.
I read it in some interview with Chad, I think he said they asked John and he said he didn't feel comfortable going or something. Kind of a shame because without him there's no way in hell they would have been inducted but I don't really care as long as he keeps releasing solo records