Red Hot Chili Peppers - 'The Getaway'
Originality7
Lyrics6.9
Instrumentation8.5
Replay Value7
Overall Impact5.5
We Liked...
  • The always brilliant instrumentation from the band
  • The restrained approach
  • Dark Necessities
We Disliked...
  • The characteristic Chili Pepper bloat
  • Lack of potential-hit level songs
  • Lack of experimentation
7Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

When ‘Dark Necessities’ was first released, many believed it to signal a return to form for Red Hot Chili Peppers. The dark, punchy bassline the size of a house, the passionate, middle finger-bearing lyrics, the elegant piano part during the bridge – it really is one of the best songs the band have released in years, reminiscent of several songs from the upper echelon of the group’s back catalogue.

Naturally, this raised expectations for the album – the brilliantly-titled ‘The Getaway’. There’s just something about this title that makes it sound like an instant classic – and the opening title track is honestly pretty close to being just that. The song is restrained but the groove somehow manages to create the feel of an actual heist – there’s a sense of coy urgency that resonates powerfully. The vocals provided by Anna Waronker gel perfectly with Antony Kiedis’ laid back crooning.

Laid back is actually a fairly apt description for this album. The band show a surprising amount of restraint in almost all aspects of the production process. Songwriting, mixing, vocals and instrumentation all show improvements over the last release by simply not going all out all the time. Whilst RHCP still have their sillier moments – ‘Go Robot’ is a cool but ultimately odd 80’s style song about robot sex (I think) – and the bloat that tends to recur in their albums is still very much present. 13 tracks is a LOT, especially when several are over 4 minutes long. ‘The Hunter’ could probably have done with being a bonus track rather than the penultimate one, especially considering it’s followed by the 6-minute ‘Dreams of a Samurai’ – a smashing song with a bassline that sets a powerful, ethereal tone.

The guitar on the album is certainly a step up from the previous release ‘I’m With You’ – new six stringer Josh Klinghoffer seems to have started finding his feet within the admittedly gargantuan shoes of John Frusciante. ‘We Turn Red’ is where he really brings the funk, whilst ‘Detroit’ gives him a chance to show off a bit of bite in his playing. Rhythm section Flea and Chad Smith perform as well as always, with both having standout moments – ‘Dreams of a Samurai’ and ‘Dark Necessities’ are both anchored by their excellent basslines, whilst the aforementioned ‘We Turn Red’ gives Smith a chance to shine.

Lyrically, the band are the same as they always have been. Sounding like a cross between a stoner sensei’s incoherent ramblings, a Californian night wanderer’s memoirs and a cosmic entities musings on life, the words are wacky as ever – Kiedis even sings (at length) about fucking a robot. Still, no “hump de bump”-esque lines in sight, which is always great!

Other highlights include the lamenting ‘The Longest Wave’, the sombre ‘Feasting on The Flowers’ and the kinetic freneticism of ‘Goodbye Angels’. The restrained approach throughout the album seems representative of first time Chili Peppers producer Danger Mouse’s influence, but whilst the new approach is a welcome change, there still seems to be a little something missing. There’s a lack of that one, massive chorus – ‘Dark Necessities’ comes close but it’s thunder is stolen by the bass. Having said this, ‘The Getaway’ bodes well for the future of RHCP, with more experimentation being introduced time can only bring refinement, meaning, eventually, they may reach the heights once reached with ‘Californication’, ‘By the Way’, or ‘Stadium Arcadium’.

 

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