Music Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m With You

Red Hot Chili Peppers
I’m With You
Warner Bros.
Produced by Rick Rubin
U.S.: CD | MP3
UK: CD | MP3
Release date: August 29, 2011

A lot has happened to the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the last 5 years. Since the release of their last album, 2006’s Stadium Arcadium, drummer Chad Smith joined Chickenfoot, bassist Flea went to school, singer Anthony Kiedis grew a moustache, and guitarist John Frusciante left due to “˜musical differences’ (why won’t bands just tell the truth and put out a statement that reads – to paraphrase Friends – “˜it’s just…we hate that guy’?). Now with Josh Klinghoffer on guitar duty, the Chili’s have released album number 10, I’m With You.

As I opened the case I kept repeating to myself, “don’t let me down, don’t let me down…”

Someone heard me. Loud and clear.

Stadium Arcadium had, apart from a small selection of songs including “Dani California” and “Hump de Bump,” had very little to revisit. At 28 tracks long, it was too much and a little self-indulgent. I’m With You includes half its predecessor’s number of tracks and twice the quality.

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Music Review: Metallica – Death Magnetic

Metallica – Death Magnetic
Produced by Rick Rubin
Warner Bros.
Release date: September 12, 2008

I wished Metallica would have walked away (or done the decent rock band thing and imploded in a cloud of drugs and lawsuits) after And Justice For All. The Black Album at the most. Since then their output has been pretty awful. Let’s face it: St Anger was a catastrophe. The album was shrouded in turmoil and embarrassment. Welcoming ex-Ozzy bassist Rob Trujillo into a mixture that was ready to explode, the band released St Anger, which displayed their ability to perform generic riffs to a very high standard. Gone was the boundless energy and, most interestingly, guitar solos. The documentary Some Kind Of Monster demonstrated how fragile Metallica had become thanks to, well, almost everything and as such it seemed their creativity and tolerance for each other and love for the music had vanished.

But now five years after their last studio album, Metallica is back to metal up your ass with Death Magnetic. I was very apprehensive about pushing “˜play’ on my CD player when I put this in. But one thought kept pulsing through my head: “It’s Metallica!” Whether I liked it or not, whether I was ready or not, Metallica had returned.

And what a return it is.

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Will Rick Rubin Save Metallica’s ‘Death Magnetic’?
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It’s been five years since Metallica‘s last studio album, St. Anger, and nearly two decades since the band’s original fans have been satisfied with Metallica’s musical offerings.

With their upcoming ninth studio effort, Death Magnetic, due out September 12, 2008, the Bay Area original masters of metal will seek to recapture the magic of their 1986 multi-platinum Master of Puppets.

To help them with this endeavor, Metallica ditched long-time producer Bob Rock in favor of Rick Rubin, the mastermind behind Jay Z’s hit single “99 Problems,” The Dixie Chicks’ Taking the Long Way and its controversial award-winning “Not Ready To Make Nice,” and Johnny Cash’s American IV: The Man Comes Around, which contained the popular cover of Nine Inch Nail’s “Hurt.” Rubin was also the one who came up with the idea in 1986 for Run DMC and Aerosmith to do a rap/rock hybrid of the latter artist’s classic rock tune, “Walk This Way,” which topped the charts and helped propel rap music into the mainstream.

That small sample of Rubin’s 33-year career in music producing should tell you that the man has the Midas Touch. But will Rubin’s golden touch shine through on Metallica’s Death Magnetic?

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