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Andrew’s Judgmental Album Reviews: Red Hot Chili Peppers – Unlimited Love (2022)

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So the last few years have been good for bands to have time to work on material and get thoughts on paper. Red Hot Chili Peppers mentioned they were adding John Frusciante back into the band at the end of 2019, and then the world shut down. So with what consider the “best” lineup back together on an album since 2006 Stadium Arcadium. Do they still have the blood, sex, sugar, magic…or is it just really stoned Dad Rock at this point in time?

This shouldn’t be necessary, but fine, RHCP are: Anthony Kiedas (vocals), Flea (bass), John Frusciante (guitar), Chad Smith (drums).

  • Artist: Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Album: Unlimited Love (2022)
  • Label: Warner
  • Total Track Time: 73:04

Black Summer was the lead single for the album, and it definitely took me a few listens to get over weird enunciation in certain verses, but it does have the Californication kind of sound. So at least it sounds like the band, it’s just definitely a song that grows on you. As for lyrically, it goes for some odd metaphors at times, but starting off with the skies refusing to cry and a line about platypus and Roo, one can figure out it’s most likely about the Australian bushfires from 2019-2020. Obviously the metaphors elsewhere could lend you to go on your own ride for meaning, but it seems pretty clear. Here Ever After eases you in with some audible reverb, then a groovy bassline and a very 90s vibe to the song. “She’s the kinda girl that’ll make you wanna go faster now, She’s the kinda girl that’ll make you steal your child, She’s the kinda girl, she’s in her here ever after now, There’s a cry for help and I don’t deny“, well this chorus definitely gets the point across. It’s very easy to sing-a-long to, the groove is cool, and if you still can’t figure out; yes it’s a song about a fun girl but toxic influence. Aquatic Mouth Dance harks back to a more funky style, but still staying very much in their more tame range. The song is littered with references to some of their music or 80s classics like Rapper’s Delight. It’s just a cool funky jam that might have something to do with singing metaphorically, but it’s really just something to bop along to without over thinking it.

Not the One lyrically it strikes you very honestly with this message of not feeling worthy of someone’s love. Musically it’s very reserved and almost sounds like a jazz club band with the guitar sounding more like sonar. The desire to become a better person to match the other person’s perspective, is something that could be fairly relatable. It is definitely dialed back to nearly elevator music on tempo, but it works for serious feeling of the song. There is a small solo where the sonar/whale song guitar tone actually makes perfect sense now. That idea of searching for something, so the pings are going out through the song is pretty damn deep. Poster Child now this was dropped as a promotional single about a month ago and this is just very fun and funky. Tons of nostalgia references for the 70s and 80s throughout all the choruses. Not sure if it’s intended to be a nostalgia trip about a bunch of stuff people grew up on, but it’s cool and part of the fun in multiple listens is trying to hear everything they fit in to the song. The Great Apes now this is…okay I don’t know what this is. Lyrically it feels a little all over the place as it comes to the chorus, “All of my love and half my kisses, Superstar don’t do the dishes, I just want the great apes to be free, Come on now, you lazy cowboy, Heads or tails, but not right now, boy, I just want the great apes to be free“. Taking the lyrics at face value this feels like an awfully long distance to run just to punctuate things with not caring about a bunch of stuff and just wanting great apes to be free. It’s probably too early and I’m not stoned enough, but at least musically it’s catchy. It has that radio rock rhythm you can’t really hate and lyrics that are inoffensive if not inane, so no real qualms…just…questions.

It’s Only Natural so immediately this sounds like a British equivalent to Jack & Diane by John Mellencamp or Don’t Stop Believin’  by Journey. I don’t mean musically, I mean that the song’s premise seems to be the star crossed lovers from two different classes or parts of town kind of thing. So you never know, drunk white people everywhere may add this to their karaoke lists like the other two in the future. Dismissive tone aside, it’s a fine song, it really could end up as a karaoke staple in the future. Laid back, groovy and easy to follow lyrically. She’s a Lover kicks off pretty early with a Virginia Woolf reference, and now I’m just kind of wondering how much of this is a reference to her. Again, the chorus is catchy, the instrumentation is funky, and the way it’s arranged is very easy and sing-a-long. I just wasn’t expecting a Virginia Woolf reference. These Are the Ways is surprisingly heavy compared to how the rest of the album has been so far. “Lost in a dream, Please step down from your bully machine, Can we all back it up?“, gives us an early indication on how the song will play out. The rest of the song goes into other “American” things and seems to be getting across an overarching concept of ‘Americans are opinionated, so engage instead of dismissing’. Which makes sense enough given the sheer degradation of communication over the last few years. Not a bad little song, but is somewhat forgettable and probably won’t see much airplay because of the implications the lyrics could stir up.

Whatchu Thinkin’ we are starting to see the finish line of the album (yes there are 17 songs). Now even though the song is about how Native Americans are still treated poorly even so many years after people have been “working to fix that”. The way Anthony sings the bridge just reminds me of Chocolate Rain and then I couldn’t unhear that. I’m not fully sure if that was supposed to be done to get people to latch onto the earworm meme, or if he literally didn’t notice…but jury is out on if I like that or not. Bastards of Light it starts off like the Doogie Howser, M.D. theme, and then the chorus is this weird Bruce Spingsteen/Meat Loaf kind of vibe. “And it feels so good upon a Saturday night, When the bastards come to fight, And it won’t be long before they carry me home, I’m the bastard of your light“, the chorus is kind of amusing, while they do the same thing as a few previous songs where the bridge kind of changes up tempo and gets a little heavier, before they go back to the almost country composition of the chorus. It’s a little all over the place, but generally sounds like elevator music. So take that for what you will. White Braids & Pillow Chair now okay this seems to be a bit of a love song, but I’m not a big enough Hippie to really get into the imagery in this song. From what I can gather its somewhat sweet, there’s even a Bobby Darin mention which explains the 50s guitar tone through most of the song. An okay song without thinking too hard about it.

One Way Traffic thankfully a simple song without a ton of stoner thought level metaphors. This is a fun little song depicting a road trip to go surfing. Tons of California references, just a nice road trip kind of groove song. Simple and clean understanding, I appreciate it on occasion. Veronica this is probably the most fitting song given the name of the album is Unlimited Love. Each verse takes the perspective on one or two people and their interpretation of love. So in the context of this album, it’s definitely a neat addition. On the general merits of if this song will ever be listened to outside of the album, doubtful. It’s fine just a bit boring and is swinging me to sleep. Let ‘Em Cry opens with funky bass and open ended wah chords for a deliberate yet free sonic vibe. That funky and free feeling continues through the song. It’s seemingly a light song that is just fun to sit back and vibe to. If this isn’t an eventual single for the album, I’ll be shocked.

The Heavy Wing not gonna lie, the song is alright if not too similar to some former songs, but this feels more self-indulgent than the other songs. The lyrics say nothing, or at least nothing that hasn’t been touched on even in the same album, and even with Frusciante singing the entire chorus himself, I still am so bored with this song I would’ve skipped it by now if it weren’t for having to write about it. Tangelo is a metaphor possibly for lost love using citrus as the way to convey the loss. It’s somber, it’s sweet enough, if not a little listless. Since the album ends on this song and it just fades out after barely getting there with the light instrumentation, it doesn’t really punctuate things well.


Now this album I will say, is very much what to expect from the Chili Peppers in the last 20 years or so. Be that good or bad, is up for you to decide. As for me, I’ll say listening to it again helped me appreciate some aspects more, but this is middling with some high points to put it nicely. Firstly, 17 songs (18 for the Japanese bonus track edition), is too damn much. I remember buying Stadium Arcadium and only really listened to the Jupiter disc, I literally had to Google what was on Mars just to confirm those songs were unknown to me. If you’re going to have an album over an hour, don’t end with a wet fart. You need to keep the energy up and end on a high note, and the fact that the last two songs are just really lacking, slow or kinda bad…is an awful way for people to walk away from the record.

It’s not a trash album, but it does go on too long, and some of the cool parts drag it up a little from mediocre. But this is like 6 songs worth listening to and the rest are skippable unless you love the Chili Peppers. 6 good songs…6 sounds like a good number to rest at.

Final Judgment: 6/10


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Musical Chairs S4: E2- Randy Newman & The Doors [071624]

Musical Chairs returns for Episode 2 of Season 4. This week, the guys cover Randy Newman and The Doors!

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Musical Chairs returns for another excellent installment as we take a look at two more tremendous acts from the annals of music history. This week, Patrick chose Randy Newman. Equal parts songwriter and performer Randy Newman is one of the most celebrated songwriters of this, or any other, generation. In the later part of his career, he composed no less than nine Disney-Pixar films, and he has been nominated for 22 Academy Awards! Dave, meanwhile, chose one of the most iconic and controversial bands of all time…The Doors. Led by one of rock’s all-time great frontmen, Jim Morrison, The Doors redefined music in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Despite being under constant scrutiny…. including being banned in many parts of the nation… The Doors became legends and their music continues to be extremely popular even today.  Tune in this week and learn a few things about two hugely important fixtures of musical history!

Today’s hosts: Dave Ungar (@AttitudeAgg) and Patrick O’Dowd (@WrestlngRealist)

  • Episode 2 of Season 4 of Musical Chairs focuses on Randy Newman & The Doors

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About the Chairshot Radio Network

Created in 2017, the Chairshot Radio Network presents you with the best in wrestling and wrestling crossover podcasts, including POD is WAR, Women’s Wrestling Talk, Chairshot Radio daily editions, The #Miranda Show, Badlands’ Wrestling Mount Rushmores, The Outsider’s Edge, DWI Podcast, Bandwagon Nerds, the Greg DeMarco Show, 3 Man Weave, Five Rounds, Turnbuckle Talk, The Reaction and more! You can find these great shows each week at theChairshot.com and through our distribution partners, including podcasting’s most popular platforms.

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Bandwagon Nerds

Bandwagon Nerds #244: Brave New Worlds

The guys review Episode 7 of The Boys, Sason 4, check out some massive trailers for the MCU, and take an early look at D23.

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BWN returns this week to look at some world-changing things happening all across the Nerdosphere. This begins with Episode 7 of Season 4 of The Boys. The penultimate Episode for this season had a dizzying number of moving parts including a Supe virus gone wrong, a shocking death, more gruesome moments, and a cliffhanger involving one of our favorite characters. It all sets up for an unforgettable season finale and the guys break it all down for you. Speaking of favorite shows, the fellas take a look at the latest trailer for the final season of The Umbrella Academy. But the MCU kind of dominated the Trailer Park this week as we got our first look at Agatha All Along and Captain America: Brave New World. Dave’s somewhat tepid reaction to the latter trailer brought Rey out of his extended vacation and we have all the details for you here on this Episode. All that plus X-Men ’97 got a new writer, a surprising casting decision for Booster Gold, and the guys look at the schedule for D23 to let you know what they have their eyes on.

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About Bandwagon Nerds

Join Patrick O’Dowd, David Ungar, PC Tunney, Rey Cash, and DPP as they keep everyone up on all things nerd, and maybe add some new nerds along the way. It’s the Bandwagon Nerds Podcast!

About the Chairshot Radio Network

Launched in 2017, the Chairshot Radio Network presents you with the best in sports, entertainment, and sports entertainment. Wrestling and wrestling crossover podcasts + the most interesting content + the most engaging hosts = the most entertaining podcasts you’ll find!

Featuring shows such as POD is WAR (sports, entertainment & sports entertainment) Bandwagon Nerds (entertainment & popular culture), The DWI Podcast (Drunk Wrestling Intellect), The Greg DeMarco Show (wrestling), The #Miranda Show (wrestling and entertainment), Hockey Talk (sports), Patrick O’Dowd’s 5×5 (pop culture), The Outsider’s Edge (wrestling), Down The Wire (Sports), Talk The Keki (Anime), The Mindless Wrestling Podcast, Attitude Of Aggression/The Big Four (wrestling), and more!


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