Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 11th studio album The Getaway is full of surprises — from Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse, at the production helm instead of long-term collaborator Rick Rubin to joining forces with Elton John. The Getaway is a groundbreaking feat in the band’s music, marking a turn towards a more nuanced and laid-back sound.

‘The Getaway’ by Red Hot Chili Peppers Album Review

The choice of Danger Mouse, the mastermind behind experimental music projects like Gnarls Barkley and Broken Bells, is an intriguing one to say the least, especially considering they have parted ways with a big-name hip-hop producer such as Rubin, who has been on the production of every Red Hot Chili Peppers album in the past 25 years. Danger Mouse’s touch infuses the rock sound of The Chili Peppers with instant chill and ambiance, which turns out to be a wise direction for the band after the greatly underwhelming exploration on their previous album – the 2011’s I’m With You.

The record opens with the title track “The Getaway” – sleek-sounding, reverberating and expressive track that is noticeably more subdued that what we are used to hearing from RHCP, hinting at what’s in store later on the album. Anthony Kiedis‘ lyrics, though somewhat on the unimpressive side, romanticize a simple California living, which gets mentioned quite often on the record overall. Elsewhere the lyrics are either peculiar, nonsensical rants or superficial raps, which sound a little at odds with the depth of the music.

Lead single “Dark Necessities” is where the band is most compelling in their newfound style, sounding funkier than ever with accentuated interlacing bass and guitar harmonies. Red Hot Chili Peppers achieve a kind of intimacy with this rich sound, which may be oversaturated but also feels spacey and sullen due to guitarist Josh Klinghoffer’s style. The track touches upon funk, R&B, soul and of course rock music, delivering an intriguing medley of genres. “Sick Love” is another one of the most experimental pieces on The Getaway. With co-writing credits by Elton John, who is also on the piano for this song, and Bernie Taupin, the track carries apparent 70s pop vibes. The lyrics here are at their most earnest and intimate on the album, which paired with the pensive sound is a recipe for new appeal.

The minimalist sound we hear on The Getaway breaks new ground for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and yet they still sound like themselves. This ultimately plunges them deeper into a rich modern rock with soul influences and a nuanced, more restrained soundscape.

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