“Black Summer” was a natural anthem that breathed July winds


Guitar World

A scene from the music video of “Black Summer” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Having a mom who cringes at “Can’t Stop” and a dad who sings “Give it Away” every time he selects it, it was pretty up in the air about what my opinion of the Red Hot Chili Peppers would be. I must say, their old music floats my boat a bit more, but I do enjoy most of their songs and will seek them out once in a while.

However, prior to their most recent single, “Black Summer,” RHCP hadn’t released a new album since The Getaway. The band had begun to fade from my memory until recently, when my friend messaged me in a tizzy, insisting that I, a fellow fan, go listen to RHCP’s newest single. A precursor to the album Unlimited Love that is to be released in April, “Black Summer” was a long-awaited release for many fans of RHCP.

When I was finally able to listen to the track, I was slightly revolted—the way the music video started was a little too “in your face” for my taste. Despite this, I was able to acknowledge that this is a common theme in the genre that RHCP works in, so I clicked away from the tab and just let the music play.

In contrast to the odd music video, the music was absolutely impeccable. If I had one grievance towards RHCP, it would be that lead singer Anthony Kiedis’ voice drones in a nasally, sonorous way after listening to too many similar songs by the band. I was taken aback by “Black Summer” initially, due to the total lack of the less-likable aspects of Kiedis’ voice. His voice sounded older, yet crisper, and I could barely recognize it. I was refreshed by this change-up, and I did not miss a lot of the repetition the band’s previous songs presented. 

In all honesty, I had a paradox of feelings regarding the title of “Black Summer”—it sounded like an overly-edgy attempt at the name, but at the same time, it gave off a dark and cool aura. After hearing the single, I settled on the latter. There was an unexpected environment the song created that shattered all walls and found me lying in the grass underneath the summer stars. It was very appealing to me in a sensory way—despite the lack of unusual instruments, my imagination ran wild. Truly, the song felt like a “Black Summer” with its shadowy but laid-back theme laced with ribbons of fluctuating emotions.

This seemed like valleys away from the normal style of RHCP, but it somehow, underneath, still carried the spirit of the band.

Another warm wind that “Black Summer” blew was a western aesthetic that personified the Rocky Mountains. This seemed like valleys away from the normal style of RHCP, but it somehow, underneath, still carried the spirit of the band. Instead of dragging along in a slow and sleepy manner, which has its own pros and cons, “Black Summer” definitely moved along with a pace that kept me awake and rejuvenated my excitement surrounding RHCP.

Although some older fans of the band might feel jolted out of their comfort zone with this new single, I think that this was the ideal song to light the fires of enthusiasm and curiosity among those who may have had the band begin to fade from their memory. This certainly was the case for me, and I am looking forward to seeing what Unlimited Love holds after the success of “Black Summer.”