The Getaway review by Red Hot Chili Peppers

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  • Released: Jun 17, 2016
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.2 (99 votes)
Red Hot Chili Peppers: The Getaway
3

Sound — 9
After yet another five year gap between albums, long-time arena cheeses Red Hot Chili Peppers crank out their eleventh studio album "The Getaway." Since their 2011 effort "I'm With You," the band really did need to tzsuj up their approach to things as the graceless segue into musical rich mans playgrounding on that record cemented a somewhat stale direction.

Measures were needed, emphases reshuffled, a bit of an overhaul from all aspects of their endeavors. The biggest twist comes from the replacement of cornerstone Rick Rubin with the odd choices of Danger Mouse and Nigel Godrich (who just finished up Radiohead's latest stunning release "A Moon Shaped Pool"). If nothing else, this change certainly swung the direction around a bit, or rather, has given "The Getaway" and actual direction to go to.

Still indulgent enough with what's available to multi-millionaire bands, there's much more of a unique character going around that hasn't appeared before in an RHCP album. Much more textural in design, the focus on pop hooks and singles has been toned down significantly. The first track, the title track, blends into familiar territory well enough but the overdubs, drum tones and repetition speaks far more of Danger Mouses trip-hop/electro-rock history. Working more as flourishes, it reveals more and more change as it goes on: the biggest one being that guitarist Josh Klinghoffer now has his own space in the band rather than just going along with the imprint left behind by Frusciante.

Strangely ethereal dub lines and extremely spacious reverb blends into these songs in various ways, not just in guitar form. Piano signals the shift from hard to soft in striking ways, adding a soothing edge to the rhythm sections spice. String parts come and go in various forms but their cinematic harmonies and arrangements act in similar fashions.

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Not to say there's no grit going on, far from it. Driven bruisers like "We Turn Red" and "Detroit" have their fair share of softer bits but there's a hard, funky shell to crack around their innards. This is all very precisely exacerbated by Danger Mouse's approach to drums, an effect that was achieved on that one monumental album "St. Elsewhere" by his group Gnarls Barkley to great effect ("Necromancer" is the darkest hip-hop song you've never heard).

This is still balanced by an interesting blend of lighter stuff too. "The Longest Wave" starts off as the kind of sappy indie-funk blend that induces every kind of cringe but it's got this really nice blend of light details in the guitar and bass rhythms to stop it from stabbing itself. "Sick Love" is "comfortable" RHCP at its most comfortablist (???) and even has frickin' Elton John on the gentle piano infusions.

The second half of this album is where things get way more intriguing. Leaning more towards the floaty trip-hop style of Gorillaz and the aforementioned Gnarls Barkley, "Go Robot" is an '80s soundtrack joy that conjures up many-a-vaporwave visual ideas, "Detroit" is a sort-of-sister to Led Zep's "Immigrant Song" that also has one of the more progressive chord movements heard in an RHCP chorus and "The Hunter" is this extremely wide horizon of massively spacious blues, thematic cinematic "stuff" and hangover-fueled Kiedis crooning. Even "This Ticonderoga" and "Dreams of a Samurai" have a hint of Zappa weirdness about them.

Considering how much of a mix rut the overall feel of things has sounded since "Californication," things have actually become vaguely exciting again for RHCP.

Lyrics — 7
The element of Kiedis in RHCP is almost irreplaceable and to have the guy have five years to get his ideas together has worked out. He doesn't push the boat out so much as redecorates it with a few additions. Keeping to his heavily rhythmical approach and mid-range vocal comfort zone, there's less of the monotone rambling style of the irksome work of heresy "Dani California" (it's just a stupid song, ok) and more of a determined and focused attempt at narrative in his projection.

Lyrically, weeeeell... you knew he was eventually going to say KAH-LEE-PHAWN-YUH at least once on this record. Plus Kiedis' propensity to almost-ramble in the majority of anything he sings on does kick in a little bit here and there. However, "The Getaway" is at least thematic and the new feel from the production does compliment this rather nicely. It's a story that's being told over a continuous set of '80s and modern hybridized opening movie credits and generally alright movies too.

Ok, there's a touch of the "Kung Fury" about it but it's all alright really.

Overall Impression — 9
Comparing it in quality to past efforts feels like a miss-step, it'd be more honest to say that this Danger Mouse direction has spiced up, straightened up and improved the RHCP recipe. Klinghoffer feels great too, to the point where Frusciante is all but a distant memory. The appeal to many crowds is there in the details but there's still the RHCP vein going right through it all.

Songs to look out for: "Dark Necessities," "We Turn Red," "Go Robot," "Detroit," "The Hunter," "Dreams of a Samurai."

41 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Patres87
    The producer change was just what they needed, it brought 'modern' elements into their sound without hurting the music to drastically and still keeping the ingredients which you are expecting from them.
    Superperfex
    As someone who grew up adoring the music of John Frusciante and his contributions to the RHCP, I was skeptical about this album. The main reason for my skepticism was that IWY was a decent album but felt a bit disjointed at parts. Good songs but didn't have that RHCP "record feel." On the other hand, this album delivers everything I wanted out of the RHCP: better mixing, better production quality and atmosphere to the songs, a cohesiveness unlike any album since BTW, and songs that genuinely make me want to listen on repeat for a long time. This is easily going to become one of my favorite albums by the band. No, not saying it trumps any other album but it's definitely up there.
    blooddrunk
    i knew thered be at least one of you. get over it. johns gone off to make pseudointellectual hipster music.
    jasperado
    i just can't get into this like i could with their older stuff from froosh's days and the 90's, and it just feels over produced and there isn't really any rawness at all, but its not terrible, just boring to my ears i guess
    BassFishin
    It's fantastic! There a moments where it doesn't quite work, but overall this is exactly the kind of album they needed to make. 7 or 8 out of 10 feels about right.
    hugocrinos
    I enjoyed the whole album. It's a very chilling album, which to me goes along with the funk-rock sound of the band very well. not all songs would sound well live but it's a very nice listen anyway. and that's coming from a casual listener.
    Take 1ne
    I feel like the overall sound of the album was a pretty big gamble for them when they've had such an established sound for the last two decades, but it worked out extremely well because of that. I really think that this was the kind of shake-up to the formula that they needed, and it's a great album.
    LoseTheGenre
    Love the music, hate the lyrics. pretty much par for the course as far as the Peppers are concerned.
    Karlsteel
    I suspect if people are asked to give their opinions in a year or so, they'll revise their scores to a 5 or 6.
    real182
    It's a mediocre album. Last 2 songs are decent, but all in all album sounds bland and it's nothing special. There are much more interesting albums released this year. And for a John, I'm glad he left them. His new EP Foregrow is great.
    Gontier_Fanboy1
    john is nothing without RHCP
    Damascus
    I personally like the Empyrean a lot more than every Chili's album barring BSSM. So YMMV.
    real182
    You obviously have no idea what you're talking about. It's actually other way around - RHCP are nothing without John. They worked perfectly as a band together, but John was always above them all musically and creatively. I suggest you to listen something from his vast solo discography.
    mcelgunnk
    Great album! Goodbye Angels, Sick Love, Go Robot, Detroit, and Encore are the album's strengths with the addition of course to Dark Necessities. Lot of fun to be had driving down the road listening to this one.
    sovaso
    A Step up for the Peppers, Stuff like Longest Wave, Sick Love, Goodbye Angels and Dreams of a Samurai are some of the best I've heard in years.
    cbx47
    Kinda soft, but I like it. This is the kind of songs that you have to listen like 5 o 6 times to dig it
    greif hammer
    I love this album. Really exciting to hear them just reinvent themselves and go for sounds they haven't tapped into before. Some might say that it's the least "chili peppers" album they've done, but in reality all they've done is bring the live element of jamming, improvisation and not putting any restrictions on their music to the studio, so ultimately, it's one of the most "chili pepper" albums they've ever done.
    Carbin Monoxide
    I love the Chili Peppers, I liked 'I'm With You' but this album is doing absolutely nothing for me...
    GrimKage
    Long-time Chili Peppers fan here, when Josh Klinghoffer joined I thought he would bring a fresh sound to the band and lets be fair he's had enough time to deliver. They've just lost the energetic and classic riffs and solos that was so natural with Frusciante.
    walter.curley
    I wasn't a huge fan of "The Getaway" single, but this review gives me hope that the album has some gems
    JustStayDown90
    Is "The Getaway" the most boring song to ever play on drums? Jesus, why wouldn't they allow for some diversity?
    greif hammer
    It's a product of Dangermouse's experimentation. He had Chad play a beat, looped it and then had the others layer their parts on top of, for a difference in writing style for the band. They'd typically write as a group via jamming, this was to try something else. Regardless of whether the drums are diverse or not, I think the change in writing style worked out pretty well.
    k0stil
    "factory of faith" is the most boring i think. "road trippin" too
    msoos
    The cool thing about this album is that you can hear certain aspects of every album in it. There's some Californication sound to it, some I'm With You, and By The Way. Even though John is no longer with the band, you can hear Josh channeling some of his work with John. I love this album.
    Fishmania
    I think their new guitar player is hugely underwhelming at all times. The Chili Peppers have never been really technical but Frusciante's strangely cool progressions and solos were what pulled it all together. Their new guitar player really hurts any progress they make by having a repetitive and boringly simplistic style.
    Pretelethal
    The outro riff of 'We Turn Red' is just begging for a Frusciante solo on it. I was expecting something mad and it just sort of ends. I love this album but that was a bit of an underwhelmimg moment for me!
    sinForge xJp
    The video for Dark Necessities definitely gives it the energy the track itself is missing. Seeing that the boys are still the boys helps.
    nettiemullins52
    [deleted]
    nettiemullins52 · Jun 27, 2016 01:34 AM