‘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.

50 Years since Please Please Me… And I’m still waiting for the next Beatles.

WARNING: Essay-like post alert. This post is long. Sorry. I guess I’m in a chatty mood!

Hopefully this title isn’t misleading, because I’m not actually 50 years old. But today does mark 50 years exactly since the Beatles’ debut album, Please Please Me, was released. Listening to it today, it doesn’t really sound dated at all, because to me, the idea of the Beatles as a young rock band singing these songs is still exciting.
This got me thinking that the Beatles have been a part of the music world for half of a century, with no signs of their popularity waning. Right now, I know a lot of people my age who love the Beatles and I see people wearing Beatle shirts everywhere I go. They’re still a part of pop culture over 40 years after their breakup. It’s astounding to me that in the last 50 years, no one has replicated their popularity, songwriting proficiency, or musical influence. I firmly believe that the musical revolution they were a part of in the 60s will never be recreated in any form. The Beatles were truly one of a kind and innovators in every aspect of culture, from clothing and hairstyles to movies, and of course had a massive impact on the music industry. I don’t think that there will ever be another Beatles because by definition, they were one of a kind.

So why am I going on and on about how amazing the Beatles were and how no one will ever replace them? Well, as readers of this blog know, I generally prefer to listen to music from 30-40 years ago as opposed to what is on the radio now, and that’s not because I’m a 15 year old stick-in-the-mud who belongs in the 60s and thinks that the Beatles are the only musicians worth listening to. I actually do enjoy music from a number of artists from this generation, mostly from the folk-rock or alternative genres, including Foster the People, thenewno2, Phillip Phillips, Adele, and Maroon 5. I choose to be interested in music today because you never know what might come on the radio. There could be a song you hear that introduces you to artists that you didn’t even know existed, but that you now love because you gave them a chance. Although I primarily listen to older artists, I think that those who only listen to classic rock could miss out on some new exciting band that grabs their attention. I’m always thrilled by the possibility that there will be another Beatles to come around in my lifetime, but with the direction that most modern music is heading, I don’t think it will ever happen.

The fact of the matter is, for every song that I hear on the Top 40 stations today, there are usually 10-15 songs that I don’t like. I’m hardly ever possessed to download a song that I hear on the radio, and that’s because nothing about modern music excites me. Most of the songs on the pop stations follow the exact same formula, and I can predict exactly how each song will go before I hear the whole thing. Now, that’s not to say that pop songs of the early 60s didn’t go by a formula, because I’m fully aware that many early 60s songs sound pretty alike.

However, what made the Beatles so special was that they found a way to break this formula and be true originals, and I just don’t see that potential from most of today’s artists. I’m not a fan of the idea that almost all pop songs today have to be about partying, drinking, or some other risque activity. That doesn’t excite me, make me happy, or make me feel good about life. It actually depresses me, which is not what I think music is supposed to do. Music, to me, should make you smile and want to dance, and just because a song has a dance beat fit for a club doesn’t make it happy and danceable in my mind. Whenever I hear the Beatles, I smile and feel better about life, just because they existed, and I really can’t say that about most modern artists.

Also, I wonder what has happened to showcasing actual talent on stage. I see performances on awards shows of artists with more back up dancers that I can count, lip-syncing to a song that is not that good, and I just think, “Can they sing? Can they sing and play an instrument at the same time?” That, to me, is real talent, not being able to wear a catsuit on stage or rap lyrics that are filled with curses and insulting, derogatory remarks. I also can’t stand that 90% of singers sound exactly like someone else, or everyone else, in the industry. I identify strongly with a unique voice singing a song, not just a good voice.

Finally, the lyrics to most songs today have no real depth or poetry to them and are basically interchangable with most other songs. Lyrics to a lot of rock songs from the 60s and 70s, and also into the 80s and 90s, are actually interesting and the song is worth hearing just for the words. Sometimes when I listen to my favorite Beatles albums like Rubber Soul and Revolver, or one of George’s albums like All Things Must Pass, I just listen for the lyrics and how beautiful they are. That type of lyrical creativity is not very present among most popular songs of today.

So, the message of this post is, if you really want to hear music that is cool, exciting, and makes you happy and feeling good about life, look no further than the Beatles. Other than Foster the People and thenewno2, both of whom I feel actually make an attempt to sound new and interesting, most music today is fairly generic and formulaic. Yawn. I’d rather listen to the Beatles harmonizing beautifully on “This Boy” eight days a week than hear “What Makes You Beautiful” for the thousandth freaking time.

To FINALLY conclude this post, which I’m 100% sure is twice as long as anyone is willing to read, if you somehow make it to the bottom, here’s your reward for reading the whole post. This might be my #1 favorite live performance of the Beatles. I guarantee that no artist today could pull off what they do here: singing 3 part harmony flawlessly on live TV, on an amazing song that they wrote themselves, while playing instruments and standing within an inch of each other. Not to mention that they’re the best looking band ever! 🙂