Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Unlimited Love” Is Easy to Love

It's a bit odd realizing that the Red Hot Chili Peppers (RHCP) are getting close to their 40th anniversary this year. We know that they've been in the music scene since the ‘80s. But how could Give It Away have been released 31 years ago? How could the band members be 52 to 60? If there was a band that could appear to be immune to age, this would be the most enduring Los Angeles party band. But here they are, and they have a brand new record. It's a good thing as Unlimited Love amply demonstrates that while the originators and the undisputed kings of funk are growing older, they're refusing to become old.

Unlimited Love sees the core members of the group–singer Anthony Kiedis, bassist extraordinaire Flea as well as drummer Chad Smith–reunited with guitarist John Frusciante for the first time since 2009. Frusciante was a key component in the Chili Peppers' sound when they began to explode in the 1990s and at the close of the decade when the group reunited after facing personal struggles. While Josh Klinghoffer firmly held down the guitar spot for nearly 10 years and released two great records (2011's I'm With You and 2016’s The Getaway), there was always a desire among the fanbase for Frusciante’s return. And now he has, in fact, returned.

Unlimited Love‘s overall tenor sounds comfortable and melodic without falling into a state of musical slumber. However, while retaining its basic and unadorned style, Frusciante's music has incorporated at the very least Klinghoffer's love of colors and textures, which gives the songs a hue and style that's similar to the ones from his predecessor's album. And Flea is much more focused on playing the right notes in the correct way rather than just slapping the listener to submission. This, in conjunction with Smith's percussion and pounding drums, creates the RHCP magic of blending melody with body-moving groove.

The album is full of fun, most prominently on “Poster Child,” with its obvious love for early ‘70s music that evokes funk.

This is a band that has been able to reach the Social Security age without morphing into a weak imitation of the band. It is a rare thing to be able to say that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are indeed a group. Unlimited Love is able to pull off the trick of being both fun and calming. In a world that is spinning off its axis, an album like this offers a pleasant escape into a world in which nobody is too old to enjoy a wave or take a stroll in the sun.

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