Red Hot Chili Peppers
I'm With You

2011, Warner Music

John Frusciante è (di nuovo) uscito dal gruppo, ma stavolta la decisione non sembra così avventata.

Review by Andrea Mariano - Publish on: 09/09/11

Translation by Stefano Di Biagio

John Frusciante is out. Again. Unlike 20 years ago, this time he left without slamming doors or starting a war. He was simply fed up with the no more stimulating environment he was in. Instead of keeping on going on stage with a long face just to "punch the clock" he preferred to clearly state his thoughts to Flea and the other Red Hot Chili Peppers and leave that role everyone always considered as his own. So the post-Frusciante era begins with the new and much anticipated “I'm With You” album in which we find a young Josh Klinghoffer (John's friend) as a replacement suggested by John himself (this shows how good things are between John and the other guys). Will Flea, Anthony and Chad, survivors of the golden legacy, be able to find new inspiration for this band which perhaps has already passed its creative apex?

“Monarchy Of Roses” is a promising start: the days of the funky fury of “Around The World” and “Give It Away” are long gone, but this song is especially noteworthy because of its power and addictiveness, sporting a not particularly technical guitar work but nonetheless able to explode evocative and inspiring shrapnels of chaos all around just like their most inspired works of the past. As usual, Flea blesses us with his energetic playing style and some very interesting lines (as in “Factory Of Faith”, “Ethiopia”, “Look Around”). The first, highly enjoyable part of "I'm With You" also reveals how good the new member blended with the others and how deeply his playing style has been influenced by his friend John.

Unfortunately after the first good tracks the enthusiasm quickly fades as “The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie” (inexplicably chosen as single) begins. It's not that the song has specific deficencies... It's just that it lacks the energy it could have had, also due to a weak performance by Anthony Kiedis. The south american influences and the simple yet beautiful guitar solo of "Did I Let You Know" help improve this otherwise weak track. "Goodbye Hooray" on the other hand it's like a slap in the face which brings back to the good old RHCPs like they where in the first years of this millennium: fast paced and solid rhythm section in which the Flea - Klinghoffer couple shows some good ones. Undoubtedly one of the best tracks.

The most serious issue with this band is that they don't want to face the fact that they're no longer able to release a completely satisfying album (i.e. with no weak points). Good songs (the whole first half of "I'm With You" and “Goodbye Hooray”) are mixed with tracks such as “Even You Brutus” and “Police Station” which fail to set the right mood and fail to keep the listener's interest high. All things considered, "I'm With You" is a far cry from the fluctuating "By The Way" yet also far from being the masterpiece and indian summer (for a band no longer able to keep the interest high) that "Californication" was.

"I'm With You" might be a decent soundtrack for these dull late summer days but fails to spark a long lasting interest. At this point we may ask ourselves why Kiedis and the guys won't make a decision similar to John's: pull the plug, take a break, take your time. More importantly stop pointlessly trying to pursue the fame which still holds up only thanks to the great albums of the past and not to the new stuff.

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