Courtesy: Warner Brothers Records
It’s hard to believe and might make some out there feel old, but Red Hot Chili Peppers recently released its eleventh full-length studio recording. The Getaway was released just last month via Warner Brothers Records. It is the eleventh album that the band has released in what is now a three-decades plus career. That is a telling statement about the band. It shows that even through so many lineup changes and even a changing industry the band has shown that it is still just as relevant today as it was when it formed way back in 1983. It can be postulated that the reason for this continued success is linked to the band’s own adaptation to the changes in the musical community. The band has changed up its sound on every one of its records, maintaining its originality from one record to the next. The same applies to the lyrical content presented within each of the band’s records. Both of these changes are just as evident in The Getaway just as much as they are in the band’s previous albums. That obvious update to the band’s sound and lyrical content makes this record yet another Red Hot Chili Peppers success story and one more of 2016’s top new rock records.
Red Hot Chili Peppers new album The Getaway is its own enjoyable escape for audiences. That is due to the fact that yet again the band has change up its sound and its lyrical content from that of its previous album. It is a practice that the band has maintained throughout the course of its now three decades-plus life span. That new approach makes the album not just another new enjoyable escape but also one more of 2016’s top new rock records. One of the points at which this changed sound is most evident in the band’s new album is the album’s lead single ‘Dark Necessities.’ Looking at the song’s musical arrangement it presents a sound that is very much unlike that of the band’s body of work. Given, Flea’s bass line is somewhat familiar here. It harkens back to the days of the band’s 1991 album Blood Sugar Sex Magik, but in the bigger picture of the song’s arrangement it boasts a very distinct identity that is separate from anything else that the band has crafted. That is thanks to the use of the string arrangements and gentle, flowing piano line at the base of the arrangement. Drummer Chad Smith’s work behind the kit and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer’s guitar line add their own original touch to the song. The whole that those separate lines makes the song’s musical arrangement original and enjoyable in its own right. The song’s lyrical content cannot be ignored here either. That is because of the topic on which that content touches. Front man Anthony Kiedis recently discussed the song’s topic. He noted in his interview that the song addresses what he called “the beauty of our dark sides” and the good that actually comes from that inner darkness. It really makes sense as so many of the best songs (regardless of genre) come from those dark places within their writers. Kiedis’ statement rings true as he sings in the song’s chorus, “You don’t know my mind/Dark necessities are part of my design/And tell the world that I’m/Falling from the sky/Dark necessities are part of my design. That is made even more evident in the song’s lead verse in which Kiedis sings, “Coming on to the light of day we got/Many moons that are deep at play/Keep an eye on the shadow smile/To see what it has to say/You and I both know/Everything must go away/What do you say/Spinning off/Head is on my heart/It’s like a bit of light in a touch of dark/You got the sneak attack from the zodiac/But I se your fire spark/Keep the breeze and go/Blow by blow and go away/What do you say/Yeah. He comes across as using metaphors to illustrate the contrast of light and dark in people’s lives. That is exemplified by that opening line comparing the “many moons deep at play” in the “light of day.” The many moons could be that dark side, all the negativity while the light is…well…the light. And that proverbial “sneak attack from the zodiac” is the dark contrast to the spark seen in the subject. He is not noting literally the zodiac killer, but using that as a metaphor, again, for the darkness trying to tear a person down. This is all, of course, just this critic’s interpretation of these lines. But they would make sense considering Kiedis’ explanation of the song. Here is so much negativity hidden inside a person (or people) but it is defeated by using it to one’s own strength. This, and the song’s original musical arrangement, partner to make the song a powerful statement and an original one. It is just one of the album’s most standout songs and one example of what makes the song in whole stand out. ‘Encore’ is another of the album’s key compositions.
‘Dark Necessities’ is one of the most important compositions included in The Getaway. That is because it exhibits both through its musical arrangement and its lyrical content the continued evolution of the band’s sound and its lyrical content. It presents a very deep concept in its lyrical content in the good that actually comes from that dark place inside each one of us. The song’s musical arrangement does plenty to illustrate the emotion of considering that good from bad. As important as it is to the album in whole it is not the album’s only key composition. ‘Encore’ does just as much to exhibit the band’s continued evolution. Its musical arrangement is a clear starting point in discussing this. By and large, the song’s musical foundation is formed by Klinghoffer’s guitar work, Kiedis’ vocal delivery, and yet again, a gentle piano line that runs through the course of the song. Each piece presents is own deeply reserved sound. When they are assembled together the overall sound is one that, again, is unlike most of what the band has ever crafted. It is a sound that will touch listeners on a very deep, emotional level. The song’s seemingly retrospective lyrical content adds to that emotional depth. That seeming retrospective approach is exhibited in the song’s lead verse as Kiedis sings, “Listen to The Beatles and the sound of laughing Ed McMahon, we got high/Educated by a world so full of self/and lost in space/too much pride/Cosmonauts and dirty thoughts/Are juggling the juggernaut/Soviet spy/Every now and then I remember to befriend/The little things in life. It instantly seems that Kiedis is reminiscing about his youth, that golden age of life, supporting the supposition that this song is indeed a personal retrospection of sorts, right down to its title. That supposition is strengthened even more in the song’s second verse as Kiedis sings, “Later on I’ll read to you/The things that I’ve been needing to say goodbye/Walk away from mom and dad to find the love you never had/tell no lies/Carry on and write a song/that says it all and shows it off ‘fore you die/Take a little breath/Before you catch an early death/There is so much sky.” That opening line in which Kiedis sings “Later on Ill read to you/The things that I’ve been needing to say goodbye” it seems like he is saying, “let me talk to you about the things that I need to let go of from my past.” His writing “Carry on and write a song/That says it all and shows it off” adds to that belief about the retrospective lyrical message even more. The song’s third and final verse hints at that message even more even as short as it is. Even considering this, one should take this critic’s interpretation with a grain of salt. It is not meant to be gospel. It could be entirely off the mark. Though, considering this content, one has to believe that it is somewhere in the proverbial ballpark. Right or wrong, the song’s seeming retrospective lyrics and equally reserved musical arrangement make the song all the more engaging. In turn this engagement shows why the song is yet another of The Getaway’s key compositions and another example of what makes the album in whole stand out. It still is not the album’s last notable composition. ‘This Ticonderoga’ is one more of the record’s standout songs.
‘Dark Necessities’ and ‘Encore’ are both select songs included in The Getaway. That is because of the evolution that they exhibit in regards to the band’s sound and lyrical versatility. That growth, both musically and lyrically, serves to exhibit in the bigger picture, what makes the album in whole stand out. They are not the only songs that serve to do this. ‘This Ticonderoga’ stands out just as much as those aforementioned songs. One of the reasons that it stands out so blatantly is its musical arrangement. The song’s musical arrangement boasts a full-on garage rock sound. That is a sound that is distinctly different from the majority of the band’s previous compositions. It is driven largely by Klinghoffer’s guitar work and Smith’s drumming. Of course the piano and string arrangements that are used in the song’s chorus sections make for a start contrast to that garage rock sound. It even adds a certain extra something to the song’s overall arrangement. The song’s lyrical content adds its own element to the song, too. The song’s lyrical content is sure to leave listeners thinking and talking even more than its musical arrangement. It may even leave listeners thinking and talking more so than the lyrical content presented in any of the album’s other offerings. That is because of the depth of that material. The song’s shorter moments seem to speak the loudest in examining the song. One of those shorter lines sees Kiedis singing, “We are all just soldiers in this battlefield of life/One thing that’s for certain is my burning appetite. That statement is switched up slightly in another of those noted shorter moments with Kiedis singing, “We are all just soldiers in this open field of time/Hoping to get with you when get right with your mind.” It is echoed again one more time at the song’s end and is switched up again with Kiedis singing in that last refrain, “We are all just soldiers in this loving fight/And no one that I know has ever really done it right.” These refrains seem to hint at a message that throughout everything (time and life) we are all just a tiny part of it all. That is hinted even more in the larger part of the verses. Early on Kiedis sings about what one must assume is his youth when he writes about a man who wanted him to join his band. He then shares a small anecdote about a failed relationship (for which he blames himself here) before eventually writing about meeting the woman who would become his wife. It is from here that he makes the statement about everyone being “soldiers in the loving fight.” There is even a tribute to Kiedis’ friend and band mate Flea thrown in for good measure. It seems to be used in relation to his recollection of his early days in the music business. All of this would seem to, again, tie together those previously noted, smaller verse elements. Those smaller elements come together with the larger verse elements to generate a lyrical makeup here that is just as deep as that of any of the album’s other songs. And together with the song’s musical arrangement, the two elements come together to make ‘This Ticonderoga’ stand out just as much as ‘Encore’ and ‘Dark Necessities.’ It stands out just as much against the rest of the album’s songs not noted here, too. When it is set against those songs, the band’s growth is exhibited even more clearly. That clearly exhibited growth goes on to show again why the record in whole is another great escape and another one of 2016’s top new rock records.
The Getaway is yet another great escape from Red Hot Chili Peppers. It is also one more of the year’s top new rock records. That is due to the continued growth and change exhibited by the band throughout the course of the record’s thirteen songs. The change in question is exhibited in the song’s musical arrangements and even its lyrical content. It is something that is rare nowadays by artists throughout the musical universe. In turn it makes both the band and its new album even more deserving of respect. Whether in the seemingly retrospective ‘Encore,’ the philosophical ‘Dark Necessities,’ or even the equally thought-provoking ‘This Ticonderoga’ the band exhibits so much growth and change. The album’s other offerings exemplify that growth and change just as much. All things considered, the overall growth and change exhibited by this record makes it undeniably a great new escape from Red Hot Chili Peppers and one more of the year’s top new rock records. It is available now in stores and online. More information on The Getaway is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:
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