Posted on: October 19, 2022 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Photo by Clara Balzary

The iconic rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers has been playing since 1983 and has yet to put out a dull or overdone album. Their latest release is no exception.

After dropping their 12th studio album, “Unlimited Love,” in February, they wasted no time with another release, “Return of the Dream Canteen,” which came out Oct. 14. While “Unlimited Love” barely provided listeners any satiation, with “Return of the Dream Canteen,” we finally see a return to RHCP’s authentic musical sound.

Lily Ligeska

Features Editor

★★★★☆

We get to hear a passion in frontman Anthony Kiedis’ voice that hasn’t been heard in years, alongside superb execution by bassist Flea and drummer Chad Smith. Guitarist John Frusciante described this album as being “made with the blood of our hearts,” and it definitely shows.

The first teaser single, “Tippa My Tongue,” takes the listener on a psychedelic love journey. The track maintains their signature sound while featuring funky rap tunes, which makes for a kaleidoscopic auditory experience. Opening this song is Flea’s iconic fat, heavy bass line, followed by a higher tempo snare roll.

What truly makes this song unique compared with hundreds of other Chili Pepper songs is the use of vocals in the intro. By using echoes and noises instead of lyrics, they engage the audience and lead smoothly into the rap/rock combo often utilized by Kiedis.

A common theme of RHCP is to introduce characters into their songs and to focus on the story of one person. An example is on their iconic “Dani California” from their album “Stadium Arcadium.” “Return of the Dream Canteen” continues the narrative approach. RHCP also tends to showcase their love for California (“Californication” is their most streamed album).

On “Bella,” RHCP kill two birds with one stone. It’s a song about a girl who wants to live in L.A. The lyrics “And now we’re walkin’ Melrose down to Vine / Well, I was askin’ her to live on my farm / And she was tellin’ me ‘No, not today'” symbolize their sheer love of California.

“Tippa My Tongue,” the first release from “Return of the Dream Canteen,” features funky rap tunes.

Kiedis also opens up about his past homelessness on this track. He sings about growing up in Michigan in the “sticks.” California, to RHCP, is a success symbol or a status cue. Kiedis went from having nothing to needing nothing, and he loves it.

The chorus of “Bella” is one of the most harmonic on the album and reminds listeners why we come back for more after all these years. The melody puts a decadent hip swaying groove into your ears and before you know it, you’re dancing.

The almost ironic techno tune “My Cigarette” feels like an unimaginable dream. Much of this song is comparable to elevated elevator music, which might have been the point of closing the track with alto sax. Seriously questioning if I was still listening to the correct band, I checked my phone mid-drive to be sure I had not accidentally switched audios. It seemed unimaginable for jazz and rock to co-exist in their music.

“Afterlife” is a foxtrot, an upbeat tune starting with an eerie, maniacal, Halloween laugh. One of the more classically adventurous songs featured, it goes as far as featuring scat singing. The lyrics in this song revolve around love and appreciation of Earth’s beauty. “The young grow old with his buffalo spring” is a reference to Kiedis and his bandmates’ spiritual connections with animals.

On a Joe Rogan podcast, Kiedis shared his respect for animals, talking about the beauty of alligators, surfing with orcas, and camping next to brown bears. Kiedis even named his son “Everly Bear Kiedis” 15 years ago, his reasoning being that “it’s nice to have a little Earth in your name.”

One thing’s for sure: No matter how old these guys get, they will forever be revolutionizing music. They constantly find ways to open metaphorical doors and windows, experimenting with new concepts. And nowhere is that more clear than on “Return of the Dream Canteen.” Pretty good for a bunch of Peps.