As most you know I am huge Red Hot Chili Peppers Fan. Fans like myself have been anticipating a new album for since the release of 2016’s The Getaway. It seems that the normal pattern of releases for RHCP has been every 3-5 years or so. It started with Californiacation (1999), Bye The Way (2002), Stadium Arcadium (2006), I’m With You (2011), and ending with The Getaway (2016). So you can imagine the hype around the latest release of Unlimited Love on April 1st, 2022.
Anticipation of the new album was fueled even more on December 15, 2001, when it was announced that guitarist Josh Klinghoffer would be leaving the band and fan favorite John Frusciante would be rejoining the band after 10 years of being away. Now before we get to the Frusciante return, I feel it is only right to give my thoughts on Josh. There seems to be a mix of emotions with Josh. Some either love or hate him (usually comparing him to John). I personally think Josh was a nice addition to the band. Were the albums near By The Way or Stadium Arcadium level? No, but they were trying to find a different sound and pair that without working with Rick Rubin in 2016, it seems the Peppers were trying to find a different identity. It should be noted that Josh and the band had written songs for this album, but they were eventually discarded when John came back. (I would love to hear what they laid down)
John coming back seemed to fuel the RHCP. Drummer Chad Smith said Frusciante “wanted to reconnect with the band that he fell in love with”, and Kiedis said the exercise was about getting “back to basics” and playing together without expectations. (The Guardian) Along with Frusciante, the band was reunited with legendary producer Rick Rubin. Rubin is so influential to the RHCP and I firmly believe the RHCP we have today would not be here without Rick Rubin. Rubin said seeing their first rehearsal after Frusciante’s return made him cry: “It was so thrilling to see that group of people back together because they made such great music for so long and it really hit me in an emotional way.” (NME)
So enough with the backstory, lets get to what Svo would call, “The Meat and Potatoes!” One thing I have been reading and I can completely agree with is this album feels like its an ode to coming home. Frusciante is back and has patented guitar solos and riffs in songs like, “Whatchu Thinking”, “One Way Traffic”, and “Black Summer.” The album seems to bring back some touches of the past in terms of sound that are familiar however they are layered with things to make them fresh and new. One Song that sticks out to me is “One Way Traffic”, it reminds me of older songs such as “Jungle Man” or “We Believe.”
Anthony Kiedis also returns to his roots of rap rock, but with beautiful melodies like in the song “Aquatic Mouth Dance” or “Poster Child.” Flea and John click like peanut butter and jelly in their melancholic riffs in their signature style of funk rock. The chef’s kiss is Chad Smith who’s rhythm and beats perfectly fit with the soft sung melodies.
Unlimited Love is not the best RHCP album in my opinion, but it does show them on this continuous path to reach new heights and new sound without forgetting the old. I have listened to the album at least 15 times all the way through and am still finding new things that I like about it. Learning that Frusciante and the crew wrote enough songs to be on 2 albums shows that they are not slowing down. Also with the hint the next release will be earlier confirms that. RHCP may not be for everyone, but you can’t deny the impact they had on the industry. I recommend you check this one out.