Red Hot Chili Peppers Nail It On ‘The Getaway’
Veteran rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers are pretty awesome – few will deny that biased statement as being the truth, right? Right. As awesome as these iconic funk-rockers are, the true RHCP fan has to wait years between albums. It’s been five years since the Chili Peppers dropped I’m With You, a good not necessarily great album. 10 years after Stadium Arcadium (“Dani California”), the Peppers return with a “hot one,” The Getaway.
Opener and title track “The Getaway” has a smooth, mellow quality, clearly lacking the bombast of some Chili Pepper openers. Even so, “The Getaway” packs a punch. It captures the band’s signature funk as frontman Anthony Kiedis sings about a doomed relationship.
“We will do our thing tonight…/just another color-coded crime.”
In the end, Kiedis is just “Another lonely superstar / to get away inside your car,” with the keyword being “inside.”
Follow-up “Dark Necessities” amplifies funk with a more assertive sound, led by Flea’s masterful bass. A sick groove anchors the set’s crowning achievement, not to mention piano, adding a soulful dimension. From a first listen, the magic of “Dark Necessities” is clear.
“You don’t know my mind / you don’t know my kind / dark necessities are part of my design.”
Arguably more aggressive than crown jewel “Dark Necessities,” “We Turn Red” is smothered in the funk-rock cues. “We Turn Red” covers a lot of ground, rather maps lyrically. More notably, it captures social and political issues. There’s a jab at a certain presidential candidate
“Coming down from the deserts where you / caught a glimpse of the billionaire.”
“The Longest Wave” slackens the pace without losing the oomph. Furthermore, how cool is it that sacrosanct is used?
“I guess we’re not so sacrosanct”
“Goodbye Angels” doesn’t start ‘full throttle,’ but builds up to an epic chorus:
“Say goodbye my love / I can see it in your soul / say goodbye my love / though that I could make you whole.”
Two-words: Breakup song. Considering that “The Getaway” seems to clearly reference Kiedis’ relationship with someone 30 years younger (“Somehow you made your way to my decade”), “Goodbye Angels” represents the end.
“Sick Love” certainly doesn’t “nip it in the bud” – at least references to Helena Vestergaard. Right from the jump, Kiedis sings, “Say goodbye to Oz and everything you own.” Interestingly on this standout, Kiedis seems to be critical of himself, judging by the words he uses:
“Sick love comes to wash us away / prisons of perspective / how your vision gets corrected…”
Kiedis admits he “robbed the cradle,” but he’s learned from the relationship.
“Go Robot” borrows cues from the 70s, giving it a danceable quality. It’s not disco, but the synths clearly hail from the era musically. “Feasting on the Flowers” is clearly ‘in memoriam’ evidenced by lines such as “Lasting I remember there were tears of blood and just not mine” and the titular lyric, “Feasting on the flowers so fast and young / it’s a light so bright that I bite my tongue.” Despite morbidity, “Feasting on the Flowers” is as consistent as everything else on that graces The Getaway.
“Detroit” gets august treatment in the RHCP’s hands, including a clever reference devoted to Henry Ford. Why Detroit? Kiedis was born and lived his early life in Michigan. “This Ticonderoga” is filled with musical changes that make it an interesting listening experience, not to mention its titles. There are references to the former relationship once more. These include:
“Yes I told her that / I’m the older cat / can I scratch your back all day,”
“I took a girl from the underworld and I held her too tight / when it’s all been said and done she was not up for the fight.”
The remainder of the album is sound, though not as enthralling as the crème de la crème. “Encore” is radiant nonetheless, clearly contrasting the bombastic, energetic joints that precede it. Similarly, “The Hunter” keeps the tempo on the slower side, finding Kiedis singing about his father. Closer “Dreams of a Samurai” covers plenty of territory, but what sticks out the most are references to the relationship that dominates The Getaway.
All in all, Red Hot Chili Peppers deliver one of the year’s best albums. The Getaway does the break up album superbly, regardless of the fact that such a theme is common across all genres of music. The best moments are undoubtedly the funkiest ones, but even the ballads are respectable.
Gems: “The Getaway,” “Dark Necessities,” “We Turn Red,” “Sick Love” & “Go Robot”