The Getaway is an interesting experiment in the Chili Peppers’ 33 year long career. Beginning production for their follow-up to 2011’s I’m With You in 2014, the project was delayed for eight months due to their bassist, Flea, who suffered from a broken arm sustained while snowboarding. “We re-thought everything,” said Kiedis, “and when all the dust settled Danger Mouse emerged and said, ‘let’s make a record.'” After 25 years and six records with producer Rick Rubin, the Red Hot Chili Peppers decided that “if this is going to work,” with producer Danger Mouse at the helm, “we just have to throw ourselves off the cliff and see what happens.”
And jump they did, as it’s pretty obvious right off the bat that Danger Mouse is here instead of Rubin. The production is way more glossy, clean, and the drums are almost muted let alone even real sounding on the opener, “The Getaway.” Unlike classic RHCP hits like “Under the Bridge,” “Dani California,” “Hey,” “Scar Tissue,” and “Otherside,” this record sounds partly unenthused at the beginning. There are some tracks here on The Getaway, like “The Longest Wave,” that sound more like a dad band performing at Chili’s Bar & Grill on a Wednesday night than they do the wild and Super Bowl Half-time level famous Red Hot Chili Peppers.
There are some great tracks here though like “Goodbye Angels,” Feasting on the Flowers,” and “Dark Necessities,” even though the bass line sounds almost exactly the same as the guitar line from one of their previous hits, “Can’t Stop,” but I can’t contribute what I don’t like about The Getaway purely to my disagreements with Danger Mouse about the sound and production on here. Most of the downfall of this record actually stems from songwriting and lyrics.
They can still kill it here and there, like on Flea’s bass solo/outro to “Goodbye Angels,” but with tracks like “We Turn Red” sounding like Chad’s smashing trashcans and everyone’s playing a different song at the same time, the band sounds lost at some moments, like they’re writing the songs as they go. I mean, one of the tracks, “Go Robot,” is just ridiculous sounding, with these cheesy double hand-clap’s and a synth solo. I laugh every time he says “Robot,” like he had just heard the word and doesn’t know how to pronounce it yet.
Even the possible good tracks, like “Sick Love,” sound like the production and presentation are the only thing holding it back from potentially being a great song. It makes me question if the band ditching Rubin and Frusciante is what I hold most at fault here, or the addition of Danger Mouse and Kiedis’ odd lyrics and unappealing melodies. There’s not a lot to love here on The Getaway, but even for disappointed Red Hot Chili Peppers fans, there’s still a couple of decent tracks.