Red Hot Chili Peppers – Unlimited Love: Formulaic, bland, appalling

Tenth album from the Californian giants is about as welcome as nuclear endgame

Unlimited Love
    
Artist: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Genre: Alternative
Label: Warner Music

"I'm forever near a stereo saying, 'What the fuck is this garbage?' " Nick Cave once said. "And the answer is always the Red Hot Chili Peppers." If the world enters nuclear endgame, rest assured the Chili Peppers will survive like the multimillion selling cockroaches they are. Anthony Kiedis will croon Californication while the planet is vaporised. What a time to be alive.

Unlimited Love is the 10th studio album from the band who are officially the most successful (so-called) alternative rock outfit in the world with more than 100 million records sold worldwide. To most discerning music fans, they are about as welcome as Putin or Covid.

The album opens inoffensively enough with Black Summer, a passable song as long as you ignore the mediocrity of the lyrics, which make Bono's much maligned Paddy's Day poem look as profound as TS Eliot's The Wasteland. "The night is dressed like noon," Kiedis sings. "A sailor spoke too soon. And China is on the dark side of the moon."

It gets worse. Much worse. Aquatic Mouth Dance is especially appalling, even by their standards. Every funk-rock cliche is thrown into an over-seasoned gloopy sonic soup. Mercifully, it is relatively rare to hear a band this formulaic and bland.


They will still pack out Marlay Park in June. Flea will perform his customary toe-curling rendition of Amhrán na bhFiann. They’ll probably play the half-time slot at the Super Bowl and receive a bunch of Grammys for their troubles. The cockroaches will inherit what’s left of the earth.

Éamon Sweeney

Éamon Sweeney, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about music and culture