The Peppers have a love/hate relationship with critics and fans. They can often come across as comical and goofy, especially with their early material, and when they decide to put on their serious faces it comes in the form of flabby, long concept albums like Stadium Arcadium or their most recent album, I’m With You, of which I can’t remember any of the singles. ‘Dark Necessities’ is unfortunately very similar to that last album, in that the Peppers have gone bland again, if you can believe that. They fall back onto their comfort blanket of funk-rock at the beginning, which is actually quite interesting and danceable, before a forgettable chorus comes along, even though Anthony Kiedis’ lyrics ‘You don’t know my kind / Dark necessities are part of my design’ steers clear the awkward lyrics of the verses: ‘We got many moons than a deeper place / So I keep an eye on the shadow’s smile / To see what it has to say’.
At this point, Flea’s bass is unmatched, but when they insert it at the beginning of the track – popping out all over the place – it feels more like fan service than actually expressing a funky new bassline to offer. To give them credit, it’s the funkiest they’ve been in a while and Kiedis actually singing and totally rapping serves him well. People are still going to be sour about Josh Klinghoffer as guitarist and not John Frusciante, but he’s not a bad guitarist by any means and his work outside the Peppers in Warpaint and Cate Le Bon’s band has only provided more experience and refinement for the replacement guitarist. Not bad by any means, but completely colourless.