For the first time since 1989, the Red Hot Chili Peppers find themselves without the assistance of Rick Rubin. With Danger Mouse taking the role of production instead, The Getaway packs a slightly different punch in comparison to their regular fare, still featuring the same vibe and style but offering a different take on the niche. If you’re of the opinion that they were becoming stale under Rubin’s care, then The Getaway is definitely what you’ve been waiting for; perhaps not their best work ever, but still a remarkable change of pace.
All of the important elements of the Chili Peppers’ music remain. Anthony Kiedis’ vocals are as distinctive and defining as ever, and a focus on funky bass riffs is still apparent across the album. Their new style shows itself in different ways, with the title track The Getaway mixing the funk atmosphere with a clear, reverb coated guitar and backing vocals that give the song a more serious twist. A new, increased sense of lush instrumentation is found on songs like the amazing lead single Dark Necessities and ballad-style tracks like Encore, who use strings to enhance the drama in the chorus and give the song a more fragile, defining presence without relying on heavy percussion, respectively.
Of course, the album still features its fair share of more general-style funk rock tracks, and they’re as enjoyable as ever. Go Robot pulses with light electronics alongside the prominent bass, creating a synth-driven rock track that feels coherent in the context of the album while still standing out as an especially strong track. Sick Love also features electronics, but uses them similarly to how songs like Encore use strings, setting a dramatic mood rather than using them to give the song an electronic edge, which contrasts well with the simpler verses and gives the chorus the extra punch it needs. The album does contain a few downer moments, with the second half threatening to be too much of a slow burner at times and the closing track Dreams of a Samurai extending itself in its own indulgent psychedelia to the point that it borders on too much, but it manages to keep these moments from dragging the rest of the album down with them.
Even if it isn’t their best work, the touch of Danger Mouse gives the album a fresh sense of style that makes for a more enjoyable experience than the Red Hot Chili Peppers have offered for a number of years now. It still feels unequivocally like a RHCP album, using the new elements in a way that adds to their music rather than changing it, and there’s a nice mixture of tracks that only really suffer during the sluggish backend. If nothing else, The Getaway is at the very least a refreshing and much needed change of pace.