After enduring nearly three decades and countless lineup changes, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have dropped their 10th album, I’m With You. While they once exuded a bombastic, dont-give-a-f*** attitude to create infectious pop-rock anarchy, in recent years they funneled their unpredictable punk-funk energy into a more professional (but still off-kilter) sound.
So what would the rambunctious Chili Peppers of the “Freaky Styley”-era think of I’m With You? Amazingly, we know the answer. It’s complicated, but using a Ouija board and peyote while wearing nothing but a tube sock, we were able to channel those raucous, shirtless lads of the ’80s. Thus, we’ve analyzed I’m With You track-by-track from their point of view, using the completely scientific rating system of 1 to 5 Co**socks (1 being worse than the time they ended up homeless under a bridge, bleeding and begging for smack, 5 being a song that brings them back to their DayGlo-wearing glory days).
Let’s see how the RHCP ruffians of yore rated the band’s 2011 effort.
1. “Monarchy Of Roses”
The album starts grimy and fuzzed out, with a heavier low end than normal for RHCP, and it’s a bit reminiscent of U2‘s “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me.” Of course, the young Peppers don’t know that song yet, but they were in love with this one right away. They particularly liked the transition between the distorted verses and the perky, bass-driven refrain. Old Flea’s just as good as ever. Solid start.
2. “Factory Of Faith”
Young Anthony Kiedis liked that his old self can still spit quick raps and is pleased with the added depth his voice exhibits. The young Peppers also enjoyed the song’s guitar squelches, care of new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. The dudes approved of his more atmospheric style.
3. “Brendan’s Death Song”
It’s a soft song, so already the youngsters were confused. While we enjoyed the tune’s slow build, they thought this was the sound of a bunch of limp-d***ed old farts trying to cash in with a radio hit. Though it pained them to admit, they were impressed by their older selves’ sense of melody.
Old Flea just kills it and Young Flea was tongue-waggingly stoked. The other members were more focused on the stop-start guitar and percussion, and their collective heads almost exploded during the warbling interlude and looping guitar solo.
5. “Annie Wants A Baby”
The gang thought this was a pretty unexciting affair. While Young Kiedis was impressed by his old self’s vulnerable and delicate voice, the others called him a pu***.
6. “Look Around”
Here the middle-aged rockers kick it into high gear. The young Peppers 100 percent approved of that “clap clap” in the chorus and were jealous they hadn’t already created that lurching guitar bridge underneath another nonsensical Kiedis rap.
7. “The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie”
This song proves the old dudes have almost perfected the art of juxtaposing funkified rock with groovy pop choruses. The young dudes like a song that makes them want to dance and snap their tie-dyed suspenders onto their bare nipples one moment, and makes them want to sing along the next moment.
8. “Did I Let You Know”
Though soft, the dudes found much to love in this song. The hint of calypso takes the band’s sound to an unexplored place, but the (female?) backing vocals gave it the familiar feel of their ’80s albums. And how about that trumpet? Totally unexpected. The spry punks loved the unconventionality.
9. “Goodbye Hooray”
Less funk, more punk in this one. And Young Flea was downright giddy about Old Flea’s bass solo. The controlled chaos becomes a distant fog before the propulsive rock comes right back. The old dudes still know how to rock out with their co**socks out.
10. “Happiness Loves Company”
Another completely rad departure. This one’s a jaunty piano-driven stomp. “What is that twinkling, delicate instrument? Pee…how do you say it? Pain? Pee-ann-oh…piano?” The youthful crew was intrigued by the quirkiness.
11. “Police Station”
There’s nothing inherently wrong with a slow RHCP song. The members of yesteryear enjoyed songs like “Scar Tissue” and “Zephyr Song,” because really, who doesn’t? Their main complaint with this album’s slow songs is the lack of earworm hooks.
12. “Even You Brutus?”
What? Three piano-heavy songs in a row? Young Chad Smith questioned whether this was the right band, but still liked their balls.
13. “Meet Me At The Corner”
More unpredictability due to the slight twang. Of the slow songs, this is the strangest, and thus, their favorite.
14. “Dance, Dance, Dance”
As judged by the 1980s co**sock-wearing iteration of the band, the new album gets: 3.5 Co**socks. Most of I’m With You accomplishes what the Peppers have always set out to do, whether young or old, addicted or sober: make rock music you can groove to.