The Red Hot Chili Peppers (RHCP) have been busy this past year, releasing two albums. In April of 2022, RHCP brought the old band back together with John Frusciante on guitar and released the album “Unlimited Love,” which was the same name of their 2022 tour. Then, on Oct. 14, they released another new album, “Return of the Dream Canteen.” This new album features 17 new tracks and I wanted to highlight some of the best.
The first song is “Tippa My Tongue,” their introduction to the album. This upbeat song involves some creative vocal flection from Anthony Kiedis that gives the song a playful, welcoming feel. It is the perfect song to introduce the album and get listeners hyped for the rest of the journey. This is highlighted in Kiedis’ repetition of “We’ve only just begun.”
The next track worth noting is “Eddie.” The tone of Kiedis’ voice is especially notable in this song, with a slight whine that makes him sound in despair. This is seen the most as he sings the main chorus, “Please don’t remember me for what I did last night / Please don’t remember me, lord and children.”
On top of this pleading tone, the song makes way for quite the guitar solo from Frusciante. At 4:08, Frusciante begins to wail on the guitar for the remainder of the song and provides a perfect example of why everyone missed him.
A few songs after “Eddie” is “Afterlife.” With a lighthearted tone, this song stuck out to me because of the main chorus lines. Kiedis sings out, “Long after we have been gone from this song, well the / Afterlife sings one for me / Lost in the length of those warm ass horizons, the / Afterlife knows where I’ll be.”
These lines have a morbid undertone as he sings about life after death, but he keeps it upbeat by expressing that he will be enjoying his time in the horizon and waiting to hear the Afterlife’s song. He does not sing about fearing death but rather embracing the step up ahead.
Following “Afterlife” is my favorite track, “Shoot Me A Smile.” The rhythm of the song with each word increasing in pitch with each line acts to lift up the listener and incite a sense of joy. He is reminding the listener that he is loyal to them, and if we “shoot him a smile,” he will “show us the love always.” The overall tone of the song scratched a part of my brain I had no idea was itching.
Then, there is the slower track “La La La La La La La La,” and may I say, that’s quite a song title. This track slows it down compared to the others and has a calmer tone. He sings about how he is devoted to the one he loves despite his issues. An interesting thing I noted about this song is that he makes multiple references to game shows. In the first section, he mentions “Family Feud,” and at the start of the second section, he makes a reference to “Wheel of Fortune.”
The final song is “In the Snow.” This song keeps a slow pace while Kiedis tells the listener to tell him what they want and he will make it come true. It takes a unique turn with Kiedis suddenly breaking out into slam poetry. At the end of the song, he goes off on a spiel of heavy rhyming and wordplay. A sentence in the ending poem that demonstrates this is, “The summer wind, we crumble some / The rock and rumble of a tumbling bubble gum (Bubble gum).”
RHCP has been dear to me since I was a kid when I would ride in the car with my step-dad as he blasted “Stadium Arcadium.” On “Return to the Dream Canteen,” the flow of the songs was fantastic, but I found that some of the lyrics seemed to lack meaning beyond keeping up with the rhyme scheme. Overall, this album was a creative addition to the RHCP discography and works perfectly as atmospheric music when you want a good time.
Photo courtesy of Ralph PH, Wikipedia.