Review: “I’m With You” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

By: Nick Moghaddam Contributing Writer


Ever since the departure of John Frusciante, many probably thought that the Red Hot Chili Peppers would have called it quits and gone their separate ways. Conversely, the band members thought differently and decided to keep going.

With the addition of guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, who has been playing live with them ever since Stadium Arcadium, RHCP began to create their new album, I’m With You with a new direction. However, will this direction breathe new life into their music or will it only make them look old and desperate to remain relevant?

With a funk-filled explosion of energy in songs such as “Monarchy of Roses” and “Factory of Faith,” Michael “Flea” Balzary’s bass playing is very prominent and becomes the leading force of the album. The mood of the record changes, however, when it gets to ballad-esque, “Brendan’s Death Song” as it properly accompanies the song’s lyrics about the death of an old friend. After this track, the main melody of bass-driven music resumes with songs such as “Ethiopia,” “Annie Wants a Baby” and “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” to maintain the signature sound that we’re used to hearing from the RHCP.

One problem I can see with this album is that there may be some people who are not used to change and can, at first, be put off by the addition of guitarist, Klinghoffer. However, it can be justified by remembering the first time they replaced John Frusciante with Dave Navarro in One Hot Minute. While that album made a big departure from the band’s signature sound, I’m With You is different, and the band manages to retain and reinvent that sound. While it can be alienating to hear about RHCP replacing a long-time band member, they do not fail to produce classics that will surely be remembered for a long time to come.

I’m With You does not miss a beat in regards to sound, even with the change in the lead guitarist position. From the fans that have been around since the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ inception to the people who are just discovering the band, this album is a good one to have in your music collection. Particular standouts include “Factory of Faith” and “Happiness Loves Company,” which I think are probably the two greatest highlights of this album – and perhaps the best example of the overall direction this album takes. In the end, the changes in guitarist and direction did not majorly affect the production of what turns out to be an excellent album. The changes only prove the band’s resiliency, originality and ability to keep standing for over twenty-five years.