With the decline of album sales, and, more specifically cd sales, the decision to release a series of b sides and unused songs from the I’m With You album as nine pairs of singles, available only as digital download or 7’’ vinyl seems like a logical one for the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Without the big publicity and album hype to promote 9 different sets of singles over the next 4-6 months, the jury is out as to how much people will notice that the Chili Peppers have some new music.
It is certainly a voyage into the unknown. Several bands, including Muse and Radiohead have discussed the possibility of just releasing a series of digital singles but the Chili Peppers here are one of the first to actually try it out.
The first pairing kicks off with the laid back funk charm of Strange Man. Whilst not as out and out catchy as most of the Chili Pepper’s back catalogue, new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer’s guitars sound nicely to the fore, something the I’m With You album lacked as a whole. The song channels the spirit of some of the Stadium Arcadium songs but unfortunately does feel like a B-side and not a stand-alone single in its own right.
Second track Long Progression has more of a groove to it, and is arguably better than some of the songs included on I’m With You. Bursting with the kind of energy most younger bands can only aspire to, the song is one where live outings should go down a storm.
It’s difficult to view these songs as singles when they so clearly sound like they came from the I’m With You sessions, and with other songs on the way, time will tell if these tracks should have been released or left in the vaults. They are essentially still a product of Klinghoffer’s settling in period, and purists will scream that he’s no John Frusciante. Where the true test lies for the band is in their next full length album…