One Dangerous Mouse.
Yo, this be Reuben. Finally, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ new album is getting a review on this site. For whatever reason, it’s taken longer than it probably could have. Oh well.
Dark Necessities was the first single released before the release of the album. The song didn’t impress me, and neither did the following singles The Getaway and We Turn Red. However, despite not being Chili Peppers masterpieces, all three songs grew on me and after a first listen of the whole album, I was liking the new sound. I can say with confidence that now after a few listens, I’m still liking the sound. It ain’t as good as Stadium Arcadium, though, is it.
There were many reasons for which I wasn’t initially impressed with the record’s sound. First off, the mixing is pretty below par. The bass and drums both overwhelm the whole sound and sound somewhat distorted in comparison to the nicely mixed I’m With You. Although I see this was probably a deliberate addition from Danger Mouse, I do think it could sound better. Even so, it feels like the overtly loud bass and drums don’t fit what The Getaway is trying to achieve, a clean and light sound. The mixing of the loud percussion and bass with the light vocals and timid guitar, therefore, sounds almost like a mismatch of noises.
Nonetheless, for songs like We Turn Red and This Ticonderoga that go for a more rugged sound the mix works. In every song, though, calm sections are ruined by the mix. As a result, it’s confusing for a listener. Because, although for some sections the mixing can work very well, in most of the album, it does not work. So why the mismatch of styles? Why, in the quiet songs like The Longest Wave and Encore, have the same mix as in We Turn Red? I mean, it doesn’t sound bad. It sounds okay, it’s not like an extreme of Californication or Reroute to Remain by In Flames – which is super, super tinny. It’s just a shame, because it could easily sound better.
The great melodies aren’t taken away from by the mix at all, though. The sexilicious Fleabass can be heard more than ever, which, when you think about it, ain’t bad at all. Anthony Kiedis doesn’t deliver the best vocal performance he ever has – but will he ever top By the Way? — and he still sounds good. Indeed, the melodies he delivers are for the most part top notch (as Milo would put it). In most every track on the record, there is a very strong and catchy hook, and the verses are never weak. Even in Goodbye Angels, where Kiedis delivers his worst vocals since One Hot Minute, there is a quality chorus.
Furthermore, there’s a good atmosphere to The Getaway. This is made presumably by Danger Mouse’s influence, as a new sound wall (which they had tested with I’m With You) is created to full effect — I think. This is made by keyboards and synthesizers, which appear in most songs. Sometimes I do wonder why there’s piano going on in the background, but usually it helps. I suppose there’s a slightly poppy sound created with some Elton John piano-work and distorted drums — but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I don’t know how likely it would be for me to like a lot of the songs on the album if they weren’t Red Hot Chili Peppers. Some great guilty pleasures they would be. Not sure about the keyboard solo in Go Robot though; I do think they do go a little overboard sometimes. That was a disappointing track, but oh well.
There’s also some more ambitious guitar work from Josh Klinghoffer, everyone’s least favourite replacement. Although he doesn’t exactly come out of the traps, he does deliver some nice guitar licks and pretty neat little solos. It may be a slightly disappointing performance from ol’ Josh in that he didn’t do too much to impress, but he did a better job than he did in I’m With You. In fact, he creates some really cool sounds, like in Feasting on the Flowers. That song may just possess the coolest sounds on the record. It has some funky sections like Even You Brutus? and then changes it all around with some pretty neat noises, and a decent example of the sound wall.
There’s a lot of different noises n’ such in The Getaway. There’s a whole lot of funky funkilicious funk, a fair bit of nice lil’ timid melody driven stuff, and Detroit. Oh MAN, Detroit is great. Its verses are like a funkier version of Ethiopia mixed with the best of Warped on One Hot Minute and its chorus is like a clip from Lullabies to Paralyze by QOTSA. It’s chock full of awesome bass licks and its got funky guitarwork from Josh throughout. It’s the best song by the Chili Peppers since Frusciante left.
Detroit is an example of the ambitious mix of sounds that the album tries to do, as it along with We Turn Red feels like it’s come out of One Hot Minute, whereas there are I’m With You influences sprinkled around and a big 80’s Chili Peppers influence on This Ticonderoga – which is an intriguing and good listen, as most of the album manages to be. It’s just a shame, to me, that Flea and the crew haven’t tried to go back to the powerful and guitar shredding stylings of Blood Sugar Sex Magik and Stadium Arcadium since they brought in Josh. What The Getaway is missing, is power. The loud bass and drums aren’t utilised as they could be in some songs, as they aren’t accompanied by any sort of power or mosh-provoking awesomeness from Kiedis or Klinghoffer – we all know Kiedis can do it — Suck My Kiss, Readymade, Give It Away, Get On Top, Shallow Be Thy Game, etc. Even Chad Smith, who has been known for his drum smashing abilities, doesn’t try anything hard hitting. My inner lover of Sex Magik was not satisfied with the soft aesthetic of The Getaway. Sure, that aesthetic is pretty good, but it ain’t what I listen to the Chili Peppers for. I guess they’ve slown down. What a big, dirty shame. Oh well, The Getaway is still good. It’s a satisfying listen at the time of doing so, but it isn’t very memorable, and I don’t go on my computer wanting to listen to it. Gonna listen to Give It Away, though!
That’s The Getaway’s main problem, really. It just isn’t as good as those old records were. Sure, it’s ambitious, it’s catchy, and it’s pretty damn neat. But it ain’t ballsy. It isn’t as memorable as anything with Frusciante there, there is no song at the Chili Pepper’s highest quality, although Detroit shows they’ve still got it in ’em. The Getaway also shows that the band’s craziness is all but gone in the studio. That bass needs to be turned down a tad, too!
Listen to it, though. If you’re a fan of any brand of rock or the Chili Peppers, give it the go it deserves. It’s a good album, and it’s got its highlights. As mainstream albums go, The Getaway is great.
Bringing redundant opinions for scrollers everywhere,