Black Summer

Album: Unlimited Love (2022)
Charted: 43 78
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Songfacts®:

  • The Black Summer Australian bushfire season of 2019–2020 burned around 72,000 square miles (186,000 square kilometers). It destroyed over 5,900 buildings (including 2,779 homes) and resulted in the deaths of over 450 Australians, either directly by the fires or from the toxic air. Over three billion animals were killed or displaced.

    The Black Summer forest fires showed the extreme effects of climate change in Australia. Here, Red Hot Chili Peppers paint a picture of severe drought and declining platypus numbers to highlight the environmental crisis.
  • The wistful chorus finds the Chili Peppers giving another definition of the titular Black Summer.

    Been a long time since I made a new friend
    Waitin' on another black summer to end
    It's been a long time and you never know when


    The long period of COVID-19 lockdowns and social distancing put a complete block on the band's social lives.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers recorded the song for their Unlimited Love album. The Californian Woolsey Fire of November 8, 2018, delayed the recording of the record, highlighting to the band the catastrophic nature of forest fires. Bassist Flea is Australian, and a frequent visitor to his homeland, so The Black Summer bushfires must have hit him hard.
  • Unlimited Love marks the reappearance of John Frusciante on a Red Hot Chili Peppers record after two previous stints. The guitarist previously featured on 2006's Stadium Arcadium album.

    "It was going slowly and without a real definitive drive to it. It was just sort of meandering," vocalist Anthony Kiedis told NME about Fruscante's return. "And then both Flea and I had a zeitgeist of a feeling inside of ourselves independently which was: 'It would be really nice to involve John somehow in this process.' It had been a long time and he was making himself known in our circles again after having been in his very own circle."
  • Unlimited Love also finds Rick Rubin returning to the Chili Pepper producer's chair after previously working on Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991), Californication (1999), By The Way (2002) and Stadium Arcadium.
  • According to Flea's track by track interview with I Like Your Old Stuff, shortly after Frusciante returned to the band, he told them he had a song idea. The guitarist also mentioned he hadn't written a rock number in a long time. That song became "Black Summer."
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers played "Black Summer" at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards, where it won for Best Rock and the group received the Global Icons award, complete with an introduction by the stoner team of Cheech & Chong.

Comments: 2

  • Darren Linnell from CanadaJarrett Jace , I think you’re bang on! There’s other references in the song that allude to that: “China’s on the dark side of the moon” whether the origin of the virus came from China or not, it’s an interesting lyric. And we all probably haven’t made any meaningful connections with one another because we’re divided. “ I’ve been waiting...waiting” perhaps for a summer where we aren’t prisoners to mandates?
  • Jarrett Jace from Longview TxPersonally, i dont think "black summer" is about climate change at all. In fact, hearing a 2019 interview on "as it lays", anthony talks about how he "hasnt made any new friends in a while", but how he watches his son make friends like its nothing, because he has the mind of a child and doesnt worry about what the other kids want from him or any of the reasons we as adults choose to think about when were meeting someone. I think this song is about how he hasnt had a genuine interaction with anyone since the entire world decided to sell their soul to the social media industry just so we could get more and more immediate attention for things that dont matter at all anyway. Its been a long time since we as human beings have had any meaningful interaction with each other because we live our entire lives digitally.
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