Summer is officially here, and two big bands have just released new albums! How do the new records from Red Hot Chili Peppers and Blink 182 stack up?
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS – THE GETAWAY
It’s been five years since the last Chili Peppers album “I’m With You”, an album which was deemed commercially disappointing despite being pretty darn good. It was the band’s first album in a decade that didn’t include musical genius John Frusciante. I was skeptical that the band could survive without him, and on “I’m With You” they definitely leaned more on the funky rhythm section provided by Flea and Chad Smith, with guitar flourishes courtesy of new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. And Anthony Kiedis, whom I love and admire, did what he does best which is be Anthony Kiedis. It had a bunch of really great songs and was a solid effort. Five years later, we finally get the follow up and get to see if “I’m With You” was just a fluke, and thankfully it wasn’t. “The Getaway” presents a more muted Chili Peppers – they still rock but overall things are done at a pretty chill level. Flea is still the ring leader for most of the tracks, but Klinghoffer continues to prove that he’s an asset to the band. The title track is a perfect soundtrack for late night drives around the city, and the vibe continues throughout the record. And for those who say the Chilis have lost their funk edge, just listen to “Go Robot” and “Detroit” and tell me they aren’t the band you’ve always known and loved! The only downside is the vibe sometimes overshadows the songs; there’s still some great songwriting being done here but it doesn’t pop as much as stuff from the “Californication” to “Stadium Arcadium” eras. Overall, this is a fine addition to the Chili Peppers catalogue and it’s awesome to see the band in such fine form in 2016! KEY TRACKS: The Getaway, Dark Neccessities, We Turn Red, The Longest Wave, Go Robot
BLINK 182 – CALIFORNIA
Like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blink 182 are also now operating without a key member: in this case it’s guitarist-vocalist Tom DeLonge. Blink returned to the scene like the Peppers in 2011, having taken the latter half of the 2000’s off to pursue other projects (+44, Angels and Airwaves). Their 2011 return “Neighbourhoods” has been unfairly criticized in the music press and is actually a really good album. I wouldn’t even call myself a die hard Blink fan, but that record and it’s follow up EP “Dogs Eating Dogs” really impressed me. I was excited to see where the band was headed, so like a lot of Blink fans I was disappointed when Tom announced his departure from the band. I always a bigger fan of the songs he contributed than the ones done by Mark Hoppus; Tom’s songs had a bit more of that alternative rock edge that I love, whereas Mark was still doing songs similar to the sound of the band’s late 90’s hey day. “California” is more classic Blink 182 than new age Blink 182, and that’s not a bad thing! The band picked up Alkaline Trio vocalist Matt Skiba and haven’t skipped a beat. The songs are still catchy as hell and Hoppus and Skiba mesh really well vocally. Some of the tunes may be silly and pop punk may not be super cool in 2016 but this is a really fun summer record, and if it’s been a while since you listened to a Blink 182 record it’s worth giving them another shot! KEY TRACKS: Bored To Death, She’s Out of Her Mind, Los Angeles, No Future, Rabbit Hole