Weekly survey: Are Red Hot Chili Peppers albums too long?

Unlimited Love, the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album, is long. Again. This is a trend that goes back to Blood Sugar Sex Magick back in 1991 when they managed to pack 73 minutes and 52 seconds of music onto a single CD. That left just 8 seconds of unused space on the CDs of the era, which had a standard length of 74 minutes.

Things were tight by comparison with One Hot Minute (61:14) and Californication (56.24). Things crept up again with By the Way (68:27) and then exploded with Stadium Arcadium (a double album running 1:22:19). A 2011 promo-only CD, Road Trippin’ Through Time, took advantage of CDs that had a slightly greater capacity (around 80 minutes) and packed in 78 minutes and nine seconds. Then came I’m With You and its runtime of 59:15. That seemed more manageable.

But when the singles/outtake collection, I’m With You Sessions, appeared in 2013, it contained 72:51 worth of music. The Getaway, issued in 2016, was a Ramones-like 53:41. But with Unlimited Love, they’re back to offering 73:04 on a single CD.

Some fans love this, considering this to be great value from their favourite band. Others–also fans–might wish that the group be a little more critical with their final selections and should pair things down to just the 12 or so best songs. And then there are those who consider these long albums self-indulgent and bloated.

Where do you stand?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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