Red Hot Chili Pépères?

Let’s give them a chance. In the name of the good old days, of Sex Magik Blood Sugar and what they represented for thousands of teenagers between the beginning of the 90s and the middle of the 2000s. In the name, too, of the return of John Frusciante on the guitar, poet accursed heir to Jimi Hendrix. For all these reasons, let’s try not to look at this twelfth album of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Unlimited lovelike a record intended to pay the tax arrears and the hip prostheses of Californian ex-punks who have become multimillionaires.

We are aware of being taken in, of being a good apple sensitive to the fate of a group rekindling the light after two deliquescent albums, on which the “Red Hot” proved that they were not much without Frusciante . Yes, there is something touching in this illustration of the notion of “alchemy” in a group, the musical equivalent of “because it was him, because it was me”. You may hate them, find them dated or bloated, but the “Red Hot” sound and style does exist. Unlimited love is a new example. Having their own artistic identity is not given to everyone, and we will therefore be more careful than Release before placing this disc, with the contempt that is necessary for any musician who has had the misfortune to perform in front of more than a thousand people, in the category of ” mediocre premium “.

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To blame the Red Hot Chili Peppers for being on autopilot is to be lazy yourself. This amounts to applying to the discography of the quartet a reading grid similar to that which one would use to analyze that of David Bowie or Radiohead. But the group is the product of a context, of a fusion that is more accidental than intentional. It was innovative, without being part of an avant-garde. From the outset, the band’s potential lay not in its ability to subvert musical codes, but in the immense playing field offered by the instrumental talent of its members. The Red Hot are wrong to “only” know how to play together. If they wanted to reinvent themselves, they probably couldn’t.

Too Gourmand

So that there is nothing astonishing to find in Unlimited love – which could very well be the third part of the double Stadium Arcadium – the qualities and the defects of the three previous discs stamped Frusciante. The technical ingredients do not change: double stops and triads on the guitar, contrast between “slapped” bass parts and more melodic sections for Flea, rapped lyrics, ghost notes galore on Chad Smith’s snare drum and hi-hat accented every other hit… It remains to be seen where to place this twelfth disc in the “continuum” Red Hot Chili Peppers.

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Less spicy – ​​the ardor of the great hours is far away – the Chili sauce takes all the same. Unlimited love contains its share of pearls: the groove ofAquatic Mouth Dance and Watchu thinkin’the sublime guitar solo ofIt’s only natural And the one of let them crythe muscular flights of These are the pathshyphen between the Who and grunge… So much proof that something can still happen when these four are in the same room.

It’s true, we sometimes want to open the windows, so much the “Red Hot” only sound like themselves and seem sealed off from any outside influence. Effective, the single black summer would have benefited from being a little more than a hybridization of Dani California and Californication. Speedwell and smash the girl, The great apes and So I : all this comes from the same canvas and the dotted lines connecting one album to another are not very difficult to fill. But that’s not where the weaknesses of the album lie, the main fault of which is to be much too talkative. Of the 17 songs, five could easily be just B-Sides (we help you: Not the only one, bastards of light, she’s a lover…).

Another producer than seasoned Rick Rubin, renowned for not pushing artists to their limits and for whom working with the Red Hot Chili Peppers is a routine, could perhaps have cut into the fat (six rounds of chorus in The heavy wing !) and focus the energy of the group. Instead, it sometimes feels like we’re watching endless jams. The very linear Child poster would be a good song if it lasted three minutes instead of five. Even a success like It’s only natural suffers from this obesity: everything was said after 3 minutes 30, but the piece still spins in a vacuum two more minutes. Anthony Kiedis (the singer with the mustache) may be a fan of the “healthy” life and gyms, Unlimited love is very (and often too) greedy. A guilty pleasure, in short.

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