Red Hot Chili Peppers
Not many artists have careers spanning twenty-plus years.
Nor do most artists get to release nine studio albums.
Spitting in the face of convention, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have gone balls-to-the-wall with their epic ninth release, Stadium Arcadium, a delicious 28-track double-album that does the impossible: it features little filler, a feat seldom accomplished by double-discs; and it manages to encompass everything fans love about the band into a single release. Tasty.
“Dani California” brashly declares “California, rest in peace”, and is the third and last part of a loose trilogy of songs including older singles “Californication” and “By The Way”. The beauty of Stadium Arcadium though is its ease in blending all of the Chili Peppers’ sounds, from funk and punk to rap and pop balladry.
Relying on long-time collaborator and producer Rick Rubin, the music is mixed and mastered perfectly, and fans listening on headphones will especially love how Flea’s funk and jazz-inspired bass-slapping and plucking fade in and out of the left and right speakers.
he funk is alive as ever on “Hump De Bump”, with smooth transitions between varying guitar and bass melodies that builds to lead singer Anthony Kiedis’ gibberish-chorus teamed with an extra-funky horn ensemble, only to be outdone moments later by a tambourine-heavy percussion break. Just as funky is the rap “Tell Me Baby”, which has an identity crisis at each verse’s end, becoming a classic RHCP pop ballad with each chorus. Conversely, “C´mon Girl” finds Kiedis crooning over the mellow guitar riffs leading to the hard-rock choral begging of “C’mon girl, let’s get it right!”
But Arcadium succeeds most when the Peppers make introspective ballads, which reveal a new maturity that the band has been cultivating over its last two albums. The gentle “Hey” finds Kiedis struggling with a tumultuous relationship, deciding whether to stay or leave. “Hard to Concentrate” is a somewhat shocking, yet heartfelt love song, while “She Looks To Me” tells the tale of a reliable guy who his desperate and emotionally-wrecked female friend can always turn to. The standout, though, is “Snow”, which finds a melodic harmony between John Frusciante’s layered guitars and Flea’s distinctive bass riffs.
Stadium Arcadium is not without its faults, with some tracks like “Warlocks” and “Readymade” not being as exciting as their companions. But in the realm of double albums, Arcadium ranks as one of the better, and further proves that the Chili Peppers are one of the most important rock bands of the last twenty years.