The Getaway

The Getaway

Befitting its title, 2016’s The Getaway marks the biggest departure for the Red Hot Chili Peppers in more than a decade. After a lengthy hitmaking streak with collaborator Rick Rubin, the group began looking for a new creative approach, which led them to producer Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton. He insisted the band members throw out the majority of their pre-written music and instead construct their songs in the studio. With his layered, lustrous production—and five co-songwriting credits—Burton mutated the Peppers into a completely different animal. The 13 tracks that make up The Getaway have a cosmopolitan, genre-crossing gleam. The Peppers channel trip-hop on the radio hit “Dark Necessities,” while “We Turn Red” finds drummer Chad Smith sounding like the human version of a Led Zeppelin break. “Go Robot,” meanwhile, is shiny soft-funk inspired by Prince’s New Wave era, polished up to resemble the sheen of a Daft Punk track. And throughout The Getaway, string arrangements from Daniele Luppi trade the dry and intimate feel of the Rubin Peppers albums for something more muted and more atmospheric. Still, even though Burton pushed the band into new territories on The Getaway, the Peppers clearly hadn’t lost their knack for poignant heartbreakers. “The Hunter” uses a Portishead lilt while Kiedis—a new father—reflects on his relationship with his own dad: “Even though you raised me I will never be your father... Even though you’re crazy you will never be a bother.” “Sick Love” is a yacht-glam crooner with similar chords as “Bennie and the Jets” (the band even invited Elton John to guest on piano). And as the band pulsates with loping grooves, Kiedis contemplates the end of a two-year relationship on “Goodbye Angels” and “Dreams of a Samurai.” There’d be more breakups along the way: After The Getaway and its subsequent tour, guitar whiz Josh Klinghoffer was replaced by the Peppers’ on-and-off guitarist John Frusciante, and the band would reunite with Rick Rubin on 2022’s back-to-back releases Unlimited Love and Return of the Dream Canteen. But The Getaway remains an electric detour full of luminous productions and naked emotion, proving there’s still new and exciting ways to rewire the most successful funk-rock franchise of all time.

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