NEW MUSIC: Red Hot Chili Peppers ‘Black Summer’

With guitarist John Frusciante back in the band, our long wait for new music from Red Hot Chili Peppers is finally over!

Plenty of musicians have left and rejoined their bands over the years. But has any artist as high-profile as RHCP seen a key member leave and return only to repeat the process a few years later? That’s the situation with Frusciante, now in his third stint with the band. The Chili Peppers’ career arc has shown this particular configuration of the band possesses a creative potency that other RHCP eras, for whatever reason, couldn’t match. Their breakthrough with Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Their resurgence with Californication and dominance of the alt-rock world that stretched through Stadium Arcadium. This isn’t to say the Dave Navarro or Josh Klinghoffer eras were bad by any means. Just that Frusciante brings something special, whatever that ‘x-factor’ might be.

Since RHCP announced Frusciante’s return in late 2019 we’ve waited very patiently for new music, and “Black Summer” revolves around his psychedelic melodies. And does frontman Anthony Kiedis sound like he’s singing in a different way to open the track? Like almost a folk delivery? Or did I hear too many sea shanties on TikTok when that was a thing? And for a mostly melacholy track with lots of angst about the environment, the chorus also manages to feel hopeful and uplifting.

“Black Summer” is the opening track from their new album Unlimited Love, out April 1.