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“The Getaway”, the eleventh studio album by The Red Hot Chili Peppers, dropped on June 17. The title tells you most of what you need to know about the album: the Peppers are getting away from their comfort zone. While greats like “Stadium Arcadium” set a precedent for Anthony Kiedis’ signature blues sound and Flea’s uncanny feel for a bassline, “The Getaway” shatters any preconceived notions about old dogs learning new tricks.
The album is a new frontier for the group, something that many have contributed to a collaboration with producer Danger Mouse, an industry regular who has worked with acts like Gnarls Barkley, Gorillaz, and The Black Keys. There’s a marked use of keyboards and synth sounds, and the mellower feel might lead to longtime fans being taken aback. That doesn’t retract from the fact that the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers are still bringing enough funk to make the ghost of James Brown get up and dance. The energy, though not as constant as many listeners have become accustomed to, is still there in the guitar heavy “Detroit” or the intense stop-and-go of “This Ticonderoga”.
The real beauty of the album lies in its pacing. If there’s one thing Danger Mouse is excellent at, it’s song sequence. Anyone who appreciates an album that can take you places will be pleased to start the album at the pregame and finish it when they return from a night out. The title track is a functional starting gun, and tracks like “We Turn Red” will keep your motor running steady. When things are winding down, you’ll be thankful to mellow out with “Encore” and “Dreams of a Samurai”, a solid one-two that caps things off perfectly.
If you’re a sucker for piano, you’ll definitely get a kick out of “Sick Love” which features the brilliance of Elton John. The opening gives you flashes of Bennie and the Jets mingled with elements of funk. “Sick Love”, “We Turn Red”, and “Go Robot” are three tracks that will really make you appreciate the new sound RHCP brings to the table. You’ll still pick up on the signature moments however, from mentions of California to Chad Smith’s passionate drumming, that really bring everything together.
While “The Getaway” certainly isn’t your stoner uncle’s Chili Peppers, it stands on its own as the next step for an iconic group. Just like Brian Wilson’s “White Album” took a lot of flak for being outside the norm, “The Getaway” is sure to be a wonderful stepping stone toward the future of Rock and Roll..
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