Early Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers: The Getaway Album Review

The Red Hot Chili Peppers' eleventh album is their first since 1989’sMothers’ Milk without Rick Rubin behind the boards, opting instead for Danger Mouse and Nigel Godrich.

Anthony Kiedis has had enough of your jokes, jeers, and general bullshit–and can you blame him? 30-odd years after his band formed, the Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman can’t catch a break. While we’re all sitting on our asses, cracking jokes about his hospitalization and his best friend’s rendition of the National Anthem, he and his pals are out there hustling—spreading love and #posivibes to stadiums worldwide, rescuing babies while doing Carpool karaoke with his bandmates, and getting inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Music isn’t a game to him–neither are carefully-placed tube socks. Appropriately, then, the Peppers’ first single from their eleventh album The Getaway, “Dark Necessities,” is no cheerful comeback celebration–in fact, it’s downright confrontational. “You don’t know my mind,” he sneers on the chorus, “You don’t know my kind.” Fueled by this self-awareness (subservient to a broader desire to shush the haters), the Peppers have come to set the record straight. (Take that, Mike Patton.)

Like 2011's I’m With You, The Getaway marks a changing-of-hands in the Peppers camp: it’s their first album since 1989’s Mothers’ Milk without Rick Rubin behind the boards. While the producer's absence hasn’t stirred up the same anxiety among acolytes as Frusciante did when he left the group at the end of the '00s, its significance can’t be understated. Sure, Frusciante's guitarist’s showy solos and funk prowess certainly played foundational roles in the Peppers' halcyon days, but as far as arrangements, engineering, sequencing, and overall sound were concerned, Rubin deserves equal credit for crafting the sonic blueprint that turned four horny goofballs from Los Angeles into kings of the global stadium circuit: crisp, crunchy, crass–and immediate.

Unsurprisingly, The Getaway easily stands as the Peppers’ lushest album to date, a welcome reprieve from 25 years of cramped, inert, (and in the case of Californication, occasionally unlistenable) mixes. While their sonic tropes haven’t changed–what would a Red Hot Chili Peppers album be without Flea’s slappy solos, Kiedis’ staccato raps, or full-band funk breakdowns?–Burton's foggy, psychedelic palette marks a drastic shift in the presentation of those motifs, widening the gulf between the band's funk-metal past and their hang-loose, jam-band present. The producer’s usual cinematic flourishes (fervent strings, accentuated flange, melancholy keys) reveal his influence immediately, and occasionally excessively; The inert trip-hop arrangements showcased on “Feasting on the Flowers” and “The Hunter” (both co-written by Burton) could have come from the cutting-room floor after one of his Broken Bells sessions, while closing track “Dreams of a Samurai” suffers from a severe case of atmospheric bloat. 

 

Read full review:  http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/21992-the-getaway/