Sound — 10
Up to this day there are people who are still moaning on John's departure from the Peppers. And, although his guitar work is really missed at some points, Klinghoffer's style brings a new and fresh sound to the band. 01. "Monarchy Of Roses": The effects and random notes by Josh sound really strange for a old RHCP fan, and then, Chad and Flea kick in, and a dark and heavy verse, in the likes of the "One Hot Minute" era starts. Anthony comes up with a distorted voice, which only inclines you to think they returned to that old sound. But when the chorus comes up, we're faced with a very disco-ey, bright thing, suggesting that new things are to come. The interlude for the song is really driven by Chad's crazy drumming, and the outro is veeeery catchy. 02. "Factory Of Faith": Flea is the highlight of this one, with his awesome bass-line. Josh plays his guitar with some scrathcy, electro-like effects, and Chad drives the song forward with his simple drumming. Anthony came up with a very catchy chorus. 03. "Brendan's Death Song": This is one of the album's best ones! Everything about is amazing, from Josh's guitar work, that subtlety builds up throughout the entire song, to Chad's amazing drums fills, Flea running bass scales up and down the neck, and Anthony's singing deserves a special mention. He really improved through the years, and not only he hits those high notes, but also showed a very beautiful and solid melody on this one. 04. "Ethiopia": At the odd tempo of 3/4, "Ethiopia" is very catchy, funky, and fun to listen. Flea plays a memorable bass-line, and Chad drives the rhythm forward with mastery. Josh's playing fits the song fine, but the solo is not as cool as the rest, because he just keep repeating the same three notes. Anthony, though, did what he's supposed to, so, the chorus is very catchy and so is the E-I-O-I-E-I-A hook. 05. "Annie Wants A Baby": A haunting, beautiful melody. Flea, again plays a cool bass-line (that sounds similar to the "This Is The Place", though), which drives the song, and Chad pounds the shit out of his toms, providing a powerful beat. Josh's voice is more clear in this one, his backing vocals are deep and beautiful. 06. "Look Around": This will be the most familiar sound to the old Chili Peppers fans in the album. Straight, funky, the verse is similar to the one in Purple Stain, and the vocals in the break is similar to the "Oh-A kissin' and a moochin'" in "By The Way". Anyways, the chorus will get stuck in your head, and Flea is simply awesome, with that funky Billie Jean-like bass. 07. "The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie": It's getting kinda repetitive to say that Flea does an awesome bass-line and Anthony sings a catchy chorus. But, that's what this song is about. Aside of that, we have Josh's effect-filled solo, and, COWBELL! Even being a great track, makes you wonder if it was really the best choice for the first single, with so many others great songs on the album. 08. "Did I Let You Know": Chad's latin-influenced beat makes this song a very dance-y number. It simply makes you wanna move. And Josh is also a star on this one. His guitar playing is really unique, mixing unusual chords with catchy riffs. Also, the trumpet solo is something to be mentioned, which is played over awesome percussion. 09. "Goodbye Hooray": Here, you finally get to hear a virtuoso solo from Josh! And Flea also does a solo, which, as you can expect, is pretty awesome. Chad's playing is the highlight, driving the song through it's fast-paced tempo. Catchy chorus once again, and the verse is uplifted by the instruments rather than the vocals. 10. "Happiness Loves Company": Flea plays piano on this one. It's a very happy song, with sweet melodies. Chad pounds his drums really hard on this. 11. "Police Station": A really melodic song, one the the album's greatest. Anthony vocals are really great, with a powerful chorus. Also, Josh did a great job on guitar, with a sweet guitar solo over a beautiful piano line. 12. "Even You Brutus?": The intro suggests a song from their "One Hot Minute" era, but then, a soul music-like piano starts, and Anthony sings in a spoken style. Josh's guitar uses a lot of wah, and is very f--king rockin'. The chorus is pretty much catchy, and Anthony did a memorable job in it, and so did Flea. My favorite track off the album, although the most different one. 13. "Meet Me At The Corner": This one has a very jazzy feel to it, especially because of Josh's guitar playing. Anthony did a great job on the vocals, and so did Flea on the bass. The middle section features vocals by Josh, which are delicated and fragile, and his backing vocals through the song are very beautiful too. Great song, especially the outro. 14. "Dance, Dance, Dance": The atmospheric feel in it invokes imagery of sunny days and beaches. Chad playing in this is really cool, and really makes you wanna dance. Anthony vocals WILL get stuck in your head, and you have no choice. The bridge is very peaceful, and that's the feeling the song evokes through most of it. Good album closer.
Lyrics — 7
The themes on the album are quite diverse, and Anthony lyrics are really made of highs and lows. His emotional lyrics about the death of Brendan Mullen in "Brendan's Death Song" are truly beautiful and deep, in the opposite of the general nosense in "Rain Dance Maggie" and "Goodbye Hooray". His lyrical skills show up in "Meet Me At The Corner", "Police Station", "Ethiopia" and "Annie Wants A Baby", covering themes such as ending relationship, deceased fame, his relation with his son, among others. For all the rest, it seems like the themes are too personal to be understood by anyone but him, or, when you get it, it's just not that good. But about his voice, there's nothing much to criticize, since Anthony has already proved himself as a good singer. But in this album, there are moments which will leave you amazed by how good he became, and I can surely say that this is the album which Anthony shows his best vocal skills.
Overall Impression — 9
This is a very big change for the Peppers, and it couldn't have been better, I think. With the loss of Frusciante, the new album could have been a shame. But Josh really showed that he's not Frusciante, and he's not better than him or anything. He's simply different, and so is the new RHCP era, which release a great record. The highlights from the album are "Brendan's Death Song", "Did I Let You Know", "Police Station", and "The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie. The best thing about it, it's that it might sound different from the guys that you used to know, but you can still hear the spirit that they used to have. And though changes brings some low points, these ain't nothing that will ruin the brilliant result.