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Song of the Week: Red Hot Chili Peppers Welcome Us To a “Black Summer”

Lights, Nova Twins, Wallows and more also dropped essential tracks

red hot chili peppers black summer
Red Hot Chili Peppers, photo by Gus Van San
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    Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, the Red Hot Chili Peppers signal the arrival of their new era with the triumphant “Black Summer.”


    From the first warm tones of the guitar, two things are clear: Red Hot Chili Peppers are back, and John Frusciante has rejoined the legendary rockers. “Black Summer” marks the Chili Peppers’ first single since 2016’s lackluster The Gateway, and with Frusciante back, they sound renewed and refreshed.

    His signature guitar sound is heavily highlighted on “Black Summer,” linking perfectly with Flea’s energetic bass work and stepping out for multiple solos. And not only that, Frusciante’s anthemic backup vocals have returned, amplifying the song’s chorus to create a wide screen, stadium worthy effect.

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    There’s a careful consideration of dynamics in “Black Summer,” starting small and then fully unleashing towards the middle and end. But it also points to an ease with which the band can create songs that feel timeless, inspired, and authentic — even though Anthony Kiedis laments the darkness and approaches the song with unease and longing, there’s still a trace of the odd from the frontman, and his enthusiastic vocals during the chorus of “Black Summer” are powerful.

    It’s been over 15 years since we heard a new Chili Peppers song featuring Frusciante in the lineup, and so far, it’s a resounding success in 2022.

    — Paolo Ragusa


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