All artists age, and with age, music evolves. The Californian band Red Hot Chili Peppers is no exception to this rule. With the return of John Frusciante as guitarist, their new album Unlimited Love nods at their past successes and combines the wisdom of the modern Red Hot Chili Peppers with the energy of the old Red Hot Chili Peppers.
At just over 70 minutes, Unlimited Love’s sound ranges from the funky bass-dominated tone of older albums to the more melodic and blended sounds of more recent ones. Bassist Flea’s tone and moving riffs both juxtapose and blend with Fruistiante’s grungy but meticulous sound. With the tight backbeats of Chad Smith’s drumming, the rhythm section of this album is powerful and innovative.
It is almost as if the Red Hot Chili Peppers wish to make up for the 10+ years of Fruistiante’s absence in this album.
On first listen, some listeners might find the vast variety of genres disconcerting and strange, with the soft ballads of “Tangelo” contrasting the harsh punk rock of “The Heavy Wing.” But I believe that this is an era of experimentation for the Red Hot Chili Peppers as they explore old and new routes in their musical space. The familiar rap-rock sound found in “Aquatic Mouth Dance” takes inspiration from older albums like Blood Sugar Sex Magik, while the smoother and melodic surf-rock of “White Braids & Pillow Chair” references the success of Californication. It is almost as if the Red Hot Chili Peppers wish to make up for the 10+ years of Fruistiante’s absence in this album.
The commercial success of Unlimited Love is no mistake. The Red Hot Chili Peppers once again reproduced the controlled chaos that makes a successful rock album.
Its release symbolizes no ordinary creation: a rebirth of the connections between four band members.