Intricacies of explored perpetualness
California-based band Red Hot Chili Peppers have fired up the airwaves once again with the release of their 12th studio album Unlimited Love. A band that loves to jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers is known for experimenting with alternative, punk, funk and psychedelic rock. These blazing eager-eyed rockers never shy away from prying through the thorns of rock to find the sweet spot. A jarring return from Guitarist John Frusciante on Unlimited Love adds to the draw factor of the album. Red Hot Chili Peppers have truly upped the stakes on this one. So be ready to reel, stomp and headbang because this album is deliciously unpredictable in a crème de la crème kind of way.
Opening track “Black Summer” is a song referencing the sign of the times. The symbolism that war is raging on, and that there is a very real potential for irreversible damage caused by climate change. It is further supported by the melancholy of the weeping guitar riffs, and the ironic rhymes of the lyrics. Anthony Kiedis sings with perfect clarity “Crack the flaming whip, A-sailing on a censorship.” The rhyming lyrics implore the listener to seek the glaring truth. “Black Summer” is an eye-opening number that raises a bigger question.
“Here Ever After” starts with a drilling drum solo that carries throughout the whole track: a recitation. This track is a surreal fever dream, as the drums pounding away lead into the magic guitar work of Frusciante. “Here Ever After” is a number that is lecherous and coarse, ballistic and brash. Red Hot Chili Peppers scrape through the grime with this lyric “My thing is blacked out loco, smoke and tears, now take my photo.” It probably has to be the most creative portrayal of a lucid and shuttering psyche.
“Aquatic Mouth Dance” is a funkier, upbeat track that incorporations funky horn lines throughout the chorus. These songs make innuendos towards their earlier days coming up as musicians, and the struggles and fears behind that. A strike at blood, sweat and tears, aspiration with telling verses such as “Dirty skies never worked so hard, better step to the Angels Flight.” This is a reflective and telling track.
“It’s Only Natural” rises and falls with the chilling warbles of the melodic basslines. This is a great progression in the timeline from “Aquarius Mouth Dance” when moving through the album. The perfect storm between thunder and lightning is represented by its lyrics and tune. A strong depiction of standing steady in the face of praise or adversity. Red Hot Chili Peppers trot with this line “And people will show you how to take it down, in spite of the love, steady up.”
Similar enough, “She’s A Lover” starts with an intro that sounds as sneaky and mischievous as a Tom & Jerry chase. Leading quickly into a funkier freestyle jam. Red Hot Chili Peppers throw in an interesting mention to late poet Virginia Woolf in this verse with the lyrics “Outside the world within ya, bend to the Woolf Virginia.” Yet another unexpected bridge from this band. However, it holds a more beastly take on the deprivation of affection and love.
Mixing it up is the snarling glitter funk rock piece “Bastards Of Light.” This track holds an increasingly wide dynamic. It could also be considered one of the more loosely regarded songs in terms of context, with hints at that crimson taste, brawls, shattering bones and good times on a Saturday night. This depiction carries hints at the band’s appreciation for Fight Club and MMA. A clear aim at the entertainment at the expense of the referenced ruddy bastards.
A big refresher is the number “One Way Traffic.” Red Hot Chili Peppers once again show their California lovin’ in this track. With references to packing up the bags to head west in time to drive along PCH, the group catches the golden sunset and sets wind to their sails. An intentional surf rock sound to the entire track helps to paint the image of fighting through the bustling and smoggy highways of L.A. to get that “life-changing rendezvous.”
On the opposite side of the spectrum. “The Heavy Wing” slows things down with a take on freedom. With an unbearable weight to it, this track is both invigorating with explorations yet inexplicably loaded. Followed by an immediate downtempo, rusty guitar piece that caresses the fine points in the actualization of being free.
The album wraps up with “Tangelo,” a number that has a complementary background that sounds like a harmonic choir of angels. Incorporating the utmost care with strategic guitar strokes to create impromptu bliss. Red Hot Chili Peppers touch on feeling, having a touchstone and the figurative smells of halos. Fittingly, this closer fades out with the lyrics “Let’s pray.”
Unlimited Love is one of the testiest and unique albums to date from Red Hot Chili Peppers. It stays unfailingly true to their roots while simultaneously branching out to enhance what has already been solidified. This album leaves a big question of “What’s Next” for the group. There is an addicting hook to this album that leaves a thirst factor to want Red Hot Chili Peppers to release a follow-up, just for the sake of giving the listeners more. This album does not disappoint and leaves hope of the future for this iconic band.