Let’s be real for a minute: the Chilis haven’t made anything approaching great, musically speaking, since sometime back in 1999 when they released Californication. 2002’s By The Way and 2006’s overblown double-album Stadium Arcadium had their moments, but they just weren’t up to snuff. 2011’s I’m With You and 22016’s The Getaway – recorded with replacement guitarist Josh Klinghoffer – were forgettable. Going back to Californication, that’s a 23 year dry spell.
Unlimited Love is a marked improvement on the Klinghoffer records, but it isn’t in the same league as the trio of albums that saw the Chilis ascend to rock greatness in the nineties. It’s nice to have Frusciante back on the strings, and the best songs here – especially in the early going with openers “Black Summer” and “Here Ever After” – are pretty good, at their best maybe the groups best in two decades.
And it’s so long. Unlimited Love should have been titled Unlimited Runtime, clocking in at almost 75 minutes, and you feel every single one.
The high points here are few and far between; once you leave “Here Ever After” behind, its the middle of the album before you hit anything that good again in “She’s A Lover” and heavier “These Are The Ways”. Later, “One Way Traffic” is another highlight. But those are just five songs out of 17 total. It isn’t enough to push this album toward greatness. Or even goodness. Colour me disappointed.
CLTM (Chris Listens To Music) is my attempt to listen to a new album every day; you can follow my efforts on Instagram here (and send recommendations), and if you like what I’m doing, support my efforts by shouting me a cuppa at Buy Me A Coffee.