The Red Hot Chili Peppers Unlimited Love album review was one of my most anticipated albums so far for 2022. With the gang all back together, this is the first album welcoming back guitarist John Frusciante and reuniting with Rick Rubin for production, there is a lot that could go right.
Read on to see our thoughts on the album and if you should pick it up for your collection.
About the Red Hot Chili Peppers
Founded in 1983 in Los Angeles, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are a rock band from the United States. Alternate rock, Funk, Punk, and Psychedelic rock are all influences on their music style. Anthony Kiedis (lead vocals), Flea (bass), Chad Smith (drums), and John Frusciante (guitar) are all members of the band.
Kiedis, Flea, guitarist Hillel Slovak, and drummer Jack Irons got together in Los Angeles to form the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Slovak and Irons were unable to play on the band’s 1984 self-titled debut album, which featured guitarist Jack Sherman and drummer Cliff Martinez, due to their obligations with other bands. Their second album, Freaky Styley (1985), saw Slovak rejoin, while Irons returned to the band for their third, The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1986). (1987). It was in June of 1988 that Slovak died of a heroin overdose.
Mother’s Milk (1989) and Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1990) were released by the Red Hot Chili Peppers with the addition of new members Frusciante and Smith (1991). Frusciante was dissatisfied with their newfound fame and unexpectedly left on their 1992 tour. Dave Navarro, who appeared on the band’s sixth album, One Hot Minute, replaced him after a string of short-term guitarists (1995). Despite its commercial success, the album did not receive the same level of critical acclaim as Blood Sugar Sex Magik. In the 1990s, Frusciante and Kiedis both grappled with drug abuse.
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When John Navarro left the band in 1998, John Frusciante re-joined the group. In 1999, Californication became the band’s most successful album, selling 16 million copies worldwide. They also had success with By the Way (2002) and Stadium Arcadium (2006), which was their first album to top the Billboard 200 chart. To focus on his solo career, Frusciante left the band again in 2009 and was replaced by Josh Klinghoffer, who performed on I’m with You (2011) and The Getaway (2016), before Frusciante rejoined in 2019. Unlimited Love, their 12th studio album, was released in 2022. With 13 number-one singles, 85 consecutive weeks at number one, and 25 Billboard Alternative Songs top tens, they are the most successful band in the history of alternative music.  Since their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, they have earned six Grammy Awards, and in 2022 they will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as well.
Red Hot Chili Peppers Unlimited Love Album Review
Continue reading below for thoughts on the album and if you should pick it up for your collection.
Unlimited Love Album Overview
Unlimited Love was released on 04/01/2022 on Warner Records. The album features a reunion with guitarist John Frusciante who left in 2009. In addition, producer Rick Rubin is back, he previously worked with the Chili Peppers starting with the 1991 classic Blood Sugar Sex Magik.
The band will be touring to promote the album with the tour kicking off in in Seville, Spain. You can get all dates and ticket information on their site.
Lyrical Themes Song and Music
Always an interesting topic as Kiedis is known for some odd lyrics. On the tracks lead single, “Black Summer,” it has a Californication-esque vibe and features Kiedis doing his best Irish pirate accent. The lyrics revolve around and address underlying social climate along with anxiety about the Earth.
One of the highlight tracks for me was “Aquatic Mouth Dance.” Flea slaps the bass as Kiedis spits a combination of odd references and serious desire, which feels like an homage to their funk-rap past. As the song progresses, an unexpected and beautiful element of horns comes into play.
Even without taking into account any lyrics, the combination of John and Flea playing is more than enough to warrant the price of admission for any Chili Pepper’s fan. The addition of John on some of the backing vocals was also a nice addition.
But the climax, oh the climax. The song “She’s A Lover” is one of the band’s best in the last two decades. With no genuine rock twist other than the guitar solo, Flea’s unique bass skills are shown while still delivering an obvious hook. “Unlimited love again” is screamed throughout one of the pre-choruses. For a band that’s been around for over 40 years, it feels both fresh and familiar at the same time.
Packaging and Sound Quality
As to be expected the sound quality is top notch as with most Rick Rubin produced albums. A lot of the work was completed at Rubin’s Shangri-La studio in Malibu and having Frusciante back in the mix was like adding a missing piece to a puzzle.
Probably the standout for me was Flea. His bass has never sounded so in-front of you and natural. Ampeg SVTs were Flea’s replacement for his beloved Gallien-Kruegers, he confessed earlier in the year to Bass Player magazine. He has always had an amazing tone and I thought the Ampeg SVTs worked great on this album. He plans to take this setup during their tour so excited to hear it live.
The Unlimited Love album is available on digital, CD and vinyl. I picked up the vinyl when I seen the album coming up from our new vinyl release page. The 17 tracks are spread across the double vinyl album. The packaging is great and has a gatefold jacket with nice artwork along with a poster. I went for the black vinyl and the disc is quiet and dead flat so no complaints from me on the pressing quality. There is also a clear vinyl version you can pickup from Deep Discount.
Verdict for Red Hot Chili Peppers Unlimited Love Album Review
A nice homecoming record for the Chili Pepper’s that gives us a glimpse back at what type of magic when these four unite. In the end, with a few exceptions, it will most likely disappoint casual fans of the band as the songs do not have the hooks they are used to. I would recommend the album to hardcore fans of the band as it has a nice collection of songs and feel it will continue to get better with more spins.