After nearly 30 years in the game, the adored alternative-rock collective Red Hot Chili Peppers return with a new, but easily distinguishable sound in their latest album “The Getaway,” and although it isn’t their worst album, it is missing the special quality that is prevalent in some of the band’s earlier work.
The Chili Peppers were catapulted to superstar-level popularity after their late 1980s to 1990s classics in “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” (1991) and “Californication” (1999). Their mid 2000s reinvention with “Stadium Arcadium” (2006) also proved that the band could appeal to multiple generations, while maintaining relevancy and quality.
Lead singer Anthony Kiedis’ fusion of old-school hip-hop, blues and country influenced vocals, bassist Flea’s psychedelic, funky riffs, and drummer Chad Smith’s rollicking rhythm have carried the band to extraordinary heights for decades. The genre-crossing versatility and the unique, unmistakable sound of the Chili Peppers has caused fans from all around the world to fall love with the group.
“The Getaway” is their first release since the slightly below average “I’m With You” (2011). “The Getaway” is probably the band’s most low-key album to date with Danger Mouse on production, but low-key certainly isn’t a bad thing. Songs like “Under the Bridge,” “Snow” and “Scar Tissue” proved that an easy-going approach can surely work for the band; but on “The Getaway,” it comes off as a bit one-dimensional, tired and even forgettable.
A vast majority of the album puts forth smooth, rhythmic tracks with a hint of the aging Peppers’ signature funky sound. The title track, “The Getaway,” followed by the album’s lead single, “Dark Necessities,” kick off the album in a melancholic mood, and recurring themes of loneliness and lost love echo throughout the project.
“We Turn Red” is essentially a slower and softer off-brand version of the band’s “Californication” hit, “Around the World,” featuring Anthony Kiedis rhythmically singing about various travel destinations with a memorable Josh Klinghoffer guitar riff.
The middle to the end of the album is where I lost most of my interest. It was quite slow and unmemorable with “Sick Love,” “Go Robot” and “Detroit” being the only songs that truly stood out, and “Sick Love” was the only one I actually enjoyed.
“The Getaway” is far from bad, but it’s just missing that extra umph. I felt that I was waiting for something to hit me, but after each listen, I remained unphased. What gave past Red Hot Chili Peppers albums their greatness was the variety of sounds, lyrical styles and rhythms. “The Getaway” just doesn’t put forth much variation since nearly every track sounds the same – slow and slightly sorrowful.
Maybe my expectations were too high, or I was in too good of a mood to thoroughly experience “The Getaway” because it seemed to just put me in an ambivalence-induced slumber.
Collegian Arts and Culture reporter Ave Martin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @avemartn.