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Saturday, February 5, 2022

Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eels, Mitski, Colin Hay, Mellencamp & Springsteen in the New Music bin

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Black Summer

The Peppers 12th LP, Unlimited Love, is on its way, billed as the first to include guitarist John Frusciante since 2006 and producer Rick Rubin since 2011. The title of this first single seems to refer to the devastating 2019-2020 forest fires in Australia (where bassist Flea hails from), perhaps metaphorically extended to represent other ongoing ecological and social crises, as we're all "Waitin' on another black summer to end." The band says: "We yearn to shine a light in the world, to uplift, connect, and bring people together. Each of the songs on our new album is a facet of us, reflecting our view of the universe."

Eels: Good Night on Earth

This track from Extreme Witchcraft floated out a while ago, but with the release of the full album we're popping it into the New Music bin. AllMusic writes that on the new album, Mark Oliver Everett "actually sounds like he's enjoying himself much of the time; he's still working out his demons, but his musical therapy agrees with him and he reveals an energy and spark that verges on playful." The theme of this song is that life is trouble but you might as well make the best of it. "Doing what you gotta do is all you got ... but look, my friend, it's a good night on earth."

Mitski: Love Me More

The Japan-born and globally raised singer-songwriter's new LP, Laurel Hell, employs "slick '80s pop surfaces ... its shimmering synths, electric piano, and business-like drums often seeming like a false front given the deeply brooding nature of the album's lyrics," writes AllMusic. We've been spinning the single "The Only Heartbreaker," and now we're adding this song that sounds like a demand on a lover, but that Paste suggests is about stardom and toxic fandom - a performer's need for adulation.

Colin Hay: A Man Without a Name

The former frontman of Australia's Men at Work has spent the decades since as a Los Angeles-based solo artist. His latest album, Now and the Evermore, is due next month, and the title track (with a guest appearance by Ringo Starr) spun out a couple of weeks ago. But we're happy to bring you another number that features an upbeat, swinging mixture of keyboards, sax, Latin-flavored percussion, electric and acoustic guitar.  

John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen: Did You Say Such a Thing

This jaunty tune about nasty gossip ("Word in the papers / You've been talkin' smack about me") is one of four tracks on Mellencamp's new album where he's joined by Springsteen, and their time-roughened voices and guitar styles blend seamlessly. On the whole, Mellencamp's self-produced 25th LP, Strictly a One-Eyed Jack, takes a rather jaundiced view of the world, with lines like "We watch our lives just fade away" and "Worries occupy my brain." Rolling Stone writes that the music is "a rough yet refined version of the Americana rusticity that’s been a hallmark of his sound" since the 1980s, delivered in the "rugged croak of his voice, which now approaches Bob Dylan and Tom Waits territory in its rangy, weathered gravitas."

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