‘The Getaway’: A Soaring Musical Getaway For RHCP

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Today I’m continuing my trend of occasionally diverging from Beatle-centric material to discuss the recent release of The Getaway, the 11th studio album by what is probably my second favorite band of all time, Red Hot Chili Peppers. This album has reaffirmed my belief that they are actually underrated by the general population for the incredible creativity and musicality of their catalog. They’re not just a funk-alternative-rock hybrid that sings “Under The Bridge” a lot, they are a genius musical conglomeration that has blessed the world with many, many awesome songs.

Speaking of awesome songs, this album is absolutely full of them! The Red Hot Chili Peppers strayed from their usual producer, Rick Rubin, on The Getaway, choosing to work instead with popular producer Danger Mouse. I’m not hugely up on music producers and their individual styles, but I do think that the change in producers is evident in this album’s more polished, modern sound. Some devoted fans of RHCP have complained about this, presumably longing for the days of yore when RHCP jumped all around the stage and wore nothing but socks during their concerts.

However, perhaps unsurprisingly, I am always a champion of a band’s musical evolution if I feel that they are still staying true to their musical roots. As good an album as Californication is, it really would be tedious if RHCP released six albums exactly like it. In my mind, there’s a distinct difference between a band evolving their sound and a band “selling out” with pop drivel. The Getaway certainly represents the former for RHCP; it features just enough experimentation that is well-balanced with more straightforward songs, and to me, it all sounds like the signature Chili Peppers that I love so dearly.

To give my more specific opinions on the album, I’m going to do a quick song-by-song rundown! Here we go!

  1. The Getaway– This is definitely one of the less rock-sounding songs on the album, but I love the scattered guitar work in the beginning, and it has a well-deserved place among the RHCP canon as a soothing, mellow track.
  2. Dark Necessities– I feel that the album version could benefit strongly from a more prominent guitar part. However, it is a fantastic song with an addicting base line, and I absolutely love the guitar solo break near the end!
  3. We Turn Red– This song didn’t stick out to me upon my initial listening of the album, but it certainly is funky and has interesting lyrics. I’ll have to listen to it some more to truly get into it, I think.
  4. The Longest Wave– THIS, my friends, is I believe the best song on the album! From the guitar introduction, to the soft verses, to the majestic chorus, I am obsessed with listening to this song on repeat. Ride the wave, because this song should become a RHCP classic if there’s any justice in this world.
  5. Goodbye Angels– This song really rocks, I love it!!! One of my favorites on the album as well, it builds beautifully and the guitar slashes throughout the song will get stuck in your head. Also that guitar break near the end is just brilliant.
  6. Sick Love– Important to note that this song features the one and only Sir Elton John! It’s interesting and honestly I think I’d prefer it as a classic Elton John song than a RHCP song, but I appreciate it nonetheless.
  7. Go Robot– Wow, there’s not one but TWO bass parts on this song! I think it sounds better as a live version, as the album version sounds a little overproduced even within the context of this album. Still, it’s extremely catchy and should be a single soon, I’d love to hear it on the radio!
  8. Feasting on the Flowers– I love the breezy guitar style throughout this song. I don’t have a ton to say about it honestly, but it’s not a bad song at all.
  9. Detroit– This song rocks pretty hard while still fitting in to the Chili Peppers’ more modern musical style. Again, the guitar here definitely drives the song and keeps it fun!
  10. This Ticonderoga– This awesome song weaves back and forth between two very musically distinct parts, though I do think the two sections are a little randomly put together. Still, the song’s internal diversity is a new, interesting musical step for the Chili Peppers.
  11. Encore– My other favorite song on the album!! It’s much more mellow alternative than the Chili Peppers commonly go, but the guitar is hypnotic and addicting. I actually like its verses better than the chorus, which is unusual for me, but the driving, sort of poppy beat here actually works really well as a constant thread throughout the song.
  12. The Hunter– This song is honestly a little slow for me and drags a bit to be a favorite of mine, but if you’re in the mood for a much slower Chili Peppers song, this one has a lovely airy guitar part.
  13. Dreams of a Samurai– This is probably the most overtly experimental song on The Getaway, but upon multiple listens, it’s quite a fascinating song and a grand, inspiring closing gesture on this amazing album.

One thing I love about this album as a whole is how it features their current guitarist, Josh Klinghoffer, much more prominently than did the previous Chili Peppers album, I’m With You. The aforementioned album was his first as an official member of the band, but his contribution to RHCP truly blossoms on The Getaway with the increased guitar presence and his lush backing vocals and harmonies. I’ve seen a lot of Josh-bashing on RHCP videos by overly nostalgic RHCP fans, but I think he’s a fantastic musician with a lot to offer for the Chili Peppers. I can’t wait to see what he’ll bring to the table for future RHCP albums!

So in conclusion, I love this album and I’ve been listening/harmonizing to it a lot this summer. With each listen, I continue to notice just how many diverse and interesting sounds there are on this album. For someone who enjoys unpacking individual elements of songs as they listen to them, this album is definitely for you. I’m so excited by its presence in my life, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that the Red Hot Chili Peppers tour the US soon to promote it! They are #1 on my current bucket list of concerts to see, and I have every faith that if/when I see them live, I will be transported on a musical getaway.

Happy (belated) birthday Ringo Starr!!!!

Priceless. :)

Priceless. 🙂

Sorry this post is a little late, but I wanted to wish Ringo a very happy birthday! Even among Beatle fans, Ringo often gets a lot of flack for not contributing as much to the Beatles as the other three members, but I genuinely feel that he was just as important to the band’s dynamic as John, Paul, and George. I’m also happy that Ringo was featured prominently in the Beatle movies after being designated “the acting Beatle” by the critics after A Hard Day’s Night. Generally, I feel that with a name like Ringo, how you go wrong???
In honor of Ringo’s birthday, here are some of what I’ve determined are his “best moments” that I’ve come across on Youtube. Enjoy!

This is a pretty well known part of AHDN, and also the scene for which Ringo was most critically lauded. Now, do I think this scene is Oscar-worthy? Not really. But it certainly is charming, and sometimes, that’s all that matters. 🙂

We all know that George was very involved with Monty Python, but when I was watching an episode recently, I had no idea that Ringo would be in it! Needless to say, it was a pleasant surprise.

This video mostly features Elton John (I haven’t done an Elton post in forever… That must change!) and Marc Bolan, but in case you’re wondering, that is in fact Ringo dressed as a clown holding a camera in the beginning. He also drums fantastically in this song. What a great group of musicians all in one room.

I just discovered this. It is by far Ringo’s best moment ever. That is all.

Well, once again, happy birthday Ringo!!!!! I wish I was seeing him on his current All Starr Band tour, but hopefully I will see him one day. Then, I will have seen not one, but TWO Beatles in person! My life would essentially be complete. 🙂

My favorite covers of Beatles songs

I know it’s not just me saying this, but the Beatles are probably the most popular band of all time. So it’s no wonder that they are also by far the most covered band of all time, with Yesterday and Something as their most covered songs. I enjoy listening to a good Beatle cover because it’s interesting to see how different artists interpret Beatles songs, so today I’ll post some of my favorite Beatle covers. Some strip the song down to just vocals and an acoustic guitar and some add so much orchestration that it barely resembles the original song, but both methods of covering are equally valid and equally meaningful. I hope you enjoy!

Gavin Degraw- And I Love Her

I’ve just recently started listening to Gavin Degraw, and I think it’s safe to say that I’m in completely love with him and his beautiful, heartfelt, authentic music. I might do a post about him in the near future, so I’ll say more then, but here I’ll just say that his voice on this cover and in general makes me melt inside. 🙂

Elton John- Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

This is one of the more famous Beatle covers out there, and it’s also the only one to ever hit #1 on the charts. In typically fabulous Elton John fashion, he took an already brilliant Beatles song and added layers of vocals and orchestration to turn it into something completely different. I still prefer the original song, but I will admit that this cover is ALMOST as good as the original.

Green Day- Working Class Hero

So technically this is a John Lennon solo song and not a Beatles song, but I love this cover so much that I had to include it in this list. Green Day rocks, and this cover is just brilliant. It’s hard to top John Lennon on one of his own songs, but I think they almost do it here.

Gregg Allman- Rain

I first heard this version on Breakfast with the Beatles one Sunday, and I could not believe my ears. This sounds almost nothing like the original Beatles song, but it’s so soulful and beautiful that I can’t help but sway and nod my head whenever I hear it. Gregg Allman’s voice perfectly epitomizes rock, gospel, and soul combined.

Emmylou Harris- Here, There, and Everywhere

This cover is absolutely stunning. I love how minimal the instrumentation is because it really helps showcase the amazing song and her beautiful voice.

Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton- Something

It’s kind of hard to call this a cover because Something is technically a Beatles song, and Paul was technically a Beatle. But, since George wrote it and the original song has neither a ukulele intro nor an Eric Clapton, I’m including it here. My favorite part of this is the bridge starting at 3:12. The harmonies there are just outstanding! Two rock gods at their finest, while paying tribute to another.

I hope you check out one, a few, or all of these covers because they’re all worthwhile versions done by worthwhile musicians. Next week, I’ll get off the Beatle train for a bit to review Foster the People’s new album (their first in 3 years!!!), which comes out on Tuesday. Other than that, I’m not quite sure what else I’ll be posting over the next few weeks, so stick around and it may show. 🙂
Have a wonderful week!

2013: I’m looking through you, where did you go???

Oh my gosh, this is so adorable! I love them so much!!!

Oh my gosh, this is so adorable! I love them so much!!!

Wow. I can’t believe I’ve actually been running this blog for a whole year now. This year absolutely flew by, and I can’t believe I have been fortunate enough to see both Paul McCartney and Elton John live in the last 6 months. I definitely did not see that coming last January! I hope that this blog has brought some people entertainment and smiles, because that’s what the Beatles bring to me! 🙂

What I think is so wonderful about having a blog related to something you love is that it gives you the opportunity to express that love to the world however you want, whenever you want. It’s a wonderful thing to have this pastime, and I truly have enjoyed every second I’ve spent blogging. If anyone is hesitating about starting a blog, I would highly recommend that they go ahead and do it. I’ve found that blogging is very therapeutic and relaxing for me, and I’m sure the same goes for others as well. As I said when I started this, I wasn’t sure whether I’d have enough to write about the Beatles to carry a whole blog, but clearly that hasn’t been a problem because I’m still going. And my obsession with Elton John has helped that out a bit as well… Thanks Elton for providing additional blogging material. Not that you’re actually reading this. 🙂

If this is at all possible, I love the Beatles an infinite amount of times more now than I did even a year ago, and I was a pretty big fan back then already. While writing about them, I’ve found that my love for them is so much deeper than just enjoying their music and fawning over their good looks from 50 years ago. There’s something deeper with the Beatles and their music that makes them so timeless, and I think it’s that they showed a genuine understanding of what music is all about: putting abstract thoughts and feelings into songs that people will listen to again and again.

Perhaps this is why after the umpteenth time listening to Revolver or Rubber Soul, I always find something new to think about, because I interpret each song differently every time. There’s so much depth to the Beatles in the character and personality of each band member that gets translated into their music, and I greatly admire their work ethic and drive to push themselves musically. They are a perfect example of how people should always look to improve themselves and their work, no matter how great they think they are.

I also think that there is a certain pure beauty in the Beatles’ music that I find applies to most of the artists I like. Not everything is perfectly executed in every song, but there is always an intent behind each one to create something beautiful and an understanding of how to do so, and I respect that their music is not just slickly produced noise, it’s genuine, honest art.

I feel like I’ve rambled a lot, so now I’d like to share a cover the Beatles did on Live at the BBC that I’m currently listening to while I type this. It’s so beautiful, and they didn’t even write it, but they perform it so amazingly that I just have to share it here. I just love how John, Paul, and George’s voices sound together on this one, with John singing so tenderly on lead vocal and George and Paul providing some gorgeous backing harmonies. There’s so much heart and soul put into this that always makes me emotional, and if you listen to it, I think you’ll understand why.

I’ve tried to vary the content and format of my blog posts by switching things up and not always starting each post with a pretty picture of George Harrison, though I always want to, but if you have any suggestions on something I could do better, I’d appreciate any feedback. I think I might start doing a “Beatles Song of the Week” or something like that, but other than that I don’t have too many ideas. I will definitely continue blogging as regularly as I can this year, and I greatly appreciate each and every one of the over 7,000 views I’ve received. Is that a lot? Not really. But does that discourage me from trying to reach more people? NO! 🙂

I’ve very excited for this upcoming month, because there will be a couple of televised tributes to the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in America about which I will surely be blogging. I hope that everyone who reads this blog has grown to love the Beatles, or just life in general, a little more because of it.
Have a great first full week in 2014!

Christmas Time Is Here Again! Part 2

Stay warm this holiday season everyone!

Stay warm this holiday season everyone!

Hello again! Today I will continue my post from a couple of days ago and post some more cheerful, festive, rocking Christmas songs for you all to enjoy! Even if you don’t actually celebrate Christmas, these songs are fantastic songs in their own right, and anyone can enjoy them. So, without further ado, here are some more awesome rock Christmas songs!

Elton John- Step Into Christmas

I am kind of obsessed with this video, because Elton is just so silly and goofy throughout. He always makes me smile! And this might be the only place where you can see Elton “playing” a guitar. It’s pretty funny. And the song itself is wonderful! It’s so cheery and happy, which is what Christmas should always be like!

Elton John- Ho! Ho! Ho! (Who’d Be A Turkey At Christmas)

This song is kind of strange, but it’s also hilarious. What exactly is a “bearded weird” anyway? I have no clue. But enjoy!

The Fab Four- Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Yes, I do know that obviously they didn’t write this song, but I am in love with their fun, Beatley cover of it! The whole Hark album is like this, all traditional Christmas carols done with a Beatley twist. And once again, in this video, Gavin Pring is an absolute dead wringer for George Harrison. My love. 🙂

George Harrison- Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)

So I guess this isn’t actually a Christmas song, but it does remind me of what I think the holidays are all about: showing your family and friends how much you love and care about them. Plus, the phrase “peace on earth” is often used in a Christmas setting. So there you have it! A bonafide George Harrison Christmas song!

The Who- Christmas

Again, this wasn’t really written as a Christmas song because it’s from the Tommy album, which was written as a rock opera. But it’s called “Christmas,” so I had to include it here! What a great album!

Tom Petty- Christmas All Over Again

This is an absolutely wonderful song, written by the awesome Tom Petty! This song is basically what I imagine Christmas in California is like; everyone hanging out by the beach, jamming with guitars. Of course, that’s probably an inaccurate assumption, but whatever.

So I think that’s enough songs for now, but I will leave you with a final, Beatley Christmas message. Enjoy the holidays everybody!

Better late than never… The Elton John concert!!!!

Don't worry, I didn't forget about this awesome concert I went to!!!

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about this awesome concert I went to!!!

Well, after all of my excitement leading up the Elton John concert I attended last week, I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about it! I’m sorry for the delay, and I will now proceed to describe the event in great detail! But in short, it was AMAZING!!!!!!

Having never been to a concert at Madison Square Garden before, I was not quite sure what to expect, but as soon as my mom and I sat in our seats, observed the massive stage below us, and heard tracks from The Diving Board being played over the speaker system, I knew we were in for a great show. Unlike at the Paul McCartney concert, there actually was an opening act for this show, but it was a group comprised of two of Elton’s cello players called 2CELLOS. They were fantastic, but my heart truly started pounding with excitement once the opening chords to “Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” began blaring throughout the arena. Hearing that in near darkness was truly a magical way to start the concert, and once Elton strode onstage in his fabulous “Madman Across The Water” jacket and started playing piano and singing, I was in mid-70s musical heaven.

There were so many memorable moments from the show, but the one thing that stands out most in my mind is the fact that Elton exceeded my expectations in all respects. Even after constant touring and performing this fall, he sounded absolutely fantastic, with no missed notes in any of the songs. His piano playing was even more masterful than I expected, and I can say with complete certainty that my mouth dropped more than once in awe at his melodic improvisations. Elton John is just awesome in every way!

So what song was I most excited to hear him play? Bennie and the Jets definitely rocked, and hearing my #1 favorite Elton song Someone Saved My Life Tonight was wonderful. However, I think I would have to give the “favorite song” title a tie between Rocket Man, All The Girls Love Alice, I’m Still Standing, Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters, and The One. But I think my #1 favorite moment of the concert was when he was introducing his band members and commented on how cute the 2CELLOS cello players were. That had the audience in stiches!

Here’s a video I found of Elton performing The One from December 4th, but the video doesn’t really do him justice. This was an absolute showstopper live. It was so quiet in the audience that you could have heard a pin drop.

And here’s Elton performing everyone’s perennial favorite, Your Song! I just recently learned how to play this on the piano, and I thought I was doing okay, but this is clearly how the song is meant to be performed.

How would I compare my experience at the Elton John concert versus my experience at the Paul McCartney concert? The actual quality of the musical performances was about the same for both shows, which I expected because obviously Paul and Elton are complete masters at what they do. I would probably give the edge in the “fun” factor to the Paul McCartney concert, only because I was sitting a lot closer to the stage for that concert and was basically dancing the whole time. At the Elton concert, where we were higher up, practically nobody was dancing at all in my section. Not even during the encore, Crocodile Rock! By the time Elton started playing The Bitch Is Back, I honestly stopped caring what people around me thought and stood up for a bit.
Also, I think Paul has the edge because he did tell me he loved me during the concert. That was a lovely moment that can never be recreated by anyone else. 🙂

But in the grand scheme of things, seeing Elton John in concert is an amazing experience that should be on everyone’s bucket list and that just about equals anything else I’ve done. If you enjoy live performances, you will love seeing him live!!! Elton John, after all this time, is definitely STILL the Rocket Man!!!

In my life… I love John more.

An inspiring picture of an inspiring man

An inspiring picture of an inspiring man

So, although it’s a bit late in the day, I figured that it’s not too late to do a short tribute to John Lennon in honor of the 33rd anniversary of his death. Today, 33 years ago, John was shot in front of the Dakota in NYC by Mark David Chapman, a deranged fan. It was an unjustified act of pure insanity. The world mourned then, and today, the world still mourns the loss of John.

Here are a few fantastic tribute songs to John by three of my favorite artists: George Harrison, Elton John, and Paul McCartney. They are all different, but each one is a moving tribute in its own right. Enjoy!

George Harrison- All Those Years Ago

This is a rather upbeat tribute song for John, and I like that. Typical of George to make light of a sad situation with a wistful, nostalgic, yet happy song.

Elton John- Empty Garden (Hey, Hey, Johnny)

This is so incredibly sad, with such beautiful lyrics, that I can’t help but cry a little when I hear it. Well done Elton and Bernie.

Paul McCartney- Here Today

This is possibly the most poignant tribute of them all. It always brings a tear to my eye, especially when I saw Paul perform it live.

I said a lot about John on my birthday post for him a couple of months ago, so I won’t say too much more, but I hope you take a moment today if you have not yet done so to think about what effect John Lennon has had on your life. I’m sure he means something different to everyone, but he is definitely an inspiration to us all. RIP John. All you were saying was to give peace a chance, and though all the people aren’t yet living life in peace, we’re getting closer every day because of you. I love you. 🙂