Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium Album Review
Red Hot Chili Peppers Stadium Arcadium 8/05/06 Warner Brothers Album Review
The stonewall funk rockers bid to keep their colourful story building with this 28 track epic of funk rock with a smooth edge that is split into two CDs, 'Jupiter' and 'Mars'. Fuzzy bass solos, Anthony Kleidis' commanding and trouble laden vocals and an orbiting instrumental lift combines to exude defiance and soul. This is only the first track 'Dani California' covered, as it appears that in the nigh on four years hiatus since 'By The Way', the Chilis have been delving deeper than body exhumers to provide another display of their song writing and building prowess. The pensive marathon of the title track shows that it has been a time of stock-taking for the stadium rockers in the run to this album, but their frivolous buoyancy returns temporarily in 'Hump de Bump' that sees them re-visiting their 'Mother's Milk' sound. The slow burning 'Strip My Mind' puts the atmospheric contemplation in a nutshell with help from deft, pulsing percussion.
'Desecration Smile' starts the second CD off in a pensive and rambling style, as Kleidis uses a weaving acoustic element and soulful vocal backing to portray feelings of emptiness and bemusement. This sees the Chili's taking a step forward and letting the power of the words take over from their usually hard-hitting instrumental release. This is a general theme on 'Mars' and it does build more of a tempo than the first CD, with the insightful, funk fuelled '21st Century' demonstrating that Flea's biting bass-lines have lost none of their sting, but are more sparingly used these days and this helps to add to their impact. Flea, who in the band's interlude between albums has vociferously spoken out against Bush and his military policies, seems content to mainly lay in the wings cushioning the sound, as oppose to toeing it along, like in the past.
The raw provocation that has epitomised the Chilis over time returns in the epic 'Animal Bar', seeing masculinity gush back into the vocals and a sliding guitar solo gives it a frolicking feel. The momentum builds wickedly into a bold and freewheeling rock foray 'So Much I', with the coup de grace being snappy lyrical bite;
"Rip it out now shake your hips, backing off the apocalypse. I gotta losen up, I gotta losen up to get my grip. "
I gotta losen up, I gotta losen up to get my grip. "
Those who still hug 'Give It Away' as though they never want it to go away will embrace 'Storm In A Teacup' with passion. This number resurrects the spirit of the aforementioned classic and shows that despite wandering off in a more expansive direction they are still at one with their roots. 'Stadium Arcadium' is certainly going to test the concentration of the two minute rock fan base that the 4 strong LA troupe holds a lion share of. There will be moments when even the most attentive wander off. However, this prolonged collection will always lure you back into the foraging mindset of a band that is slowly climbing the rope to iconic status.
Rating 7/10 David Adair
Red Hot Chili Peppers Stadium Arcadium Album Review
Double albums are a thorny prospect, often self-indulgent and/or experimental, and always held up to the benchmark that is The White Album. A record that does, to be fair, contain a few instances of cocking around and a couple of regrettable moments. (There was NEVER any need for Honey Pie, Wild or otherwise.) Now, the latest band to add their names to that list of double-sided luminaries are the kings of (sometimes quite literally) cocking around, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Many people probably recoiled in horror at the thought of Anthony Kiedis and his gang of sock-wearing funk rockers putting out two solid hours of music at once, but actually, Stadium Arcadium is not all that bad. There are some decent tracks on here, "Torture Me"
Many people probably recoiled in horror at the thought of Anthony Kiedis and his gang of sock-wearing funk rockers putting out two solid hours of music at once, but actually, Stadium Arcadium is not all that bad. There are some decent tracks on here, "Torture Me"is a wonderfully intense piece of all out rock 'n' roll, and the title track is a nice slow-burning strum augmented by shimmering keyboards. The problem is, though, these special moments are all too rare.
Too often they slip into that tired old funk-rock formula, to either dull ("21st Century"), silly ("Hump de Bump"), or just plain embarrassing effects (The line "I put my lovin' in your oven" from "She's Only 18" is particularly shudder inducing.) If moments like this were omitted, then we could be left with a stellar single album, but, with them in, we have an unnecessarily long and rather dull double record.
On sitting through this entire album, the one thing you will probably notice is that it feels more like John Frusciante's record than any other Chili Peppers album. That's not to say that it is comparable to any of his solo work, it's just that it is the sound of a guitarist with a point to prove. In the months leading up to the release of Stadium Arcadium, Frusciante often talked about their last album, 2002's By The Way, being seen as too mellow, and this record certainly sees him trying to regain ground in the rock guitar stakes. Nigh on every track features a Frusciante trademark virtuoso guitar solo. His overdriven bluesy efforts on "Strip My Mind"
seen as too mellow, and this record certainly sees him trying to regain ground in the rock guitar stakes. Nigh on every track features a Frusciante trademark virtuoso guitar solo. His overdriven bluesy efforts on "Strip My Mind"catch him sounding pissed off and heartbroken, and dotted all through the record is some inspired guitar playing. Also, he seems to have taken his backing vocals to another level, contributing well placed "oohs" and "aahs" and saving many tracks from complete mediocrity, (see side two opener "Desecration Smile")
The trouble is though, it becomes a bit too much after a while. By the second disc, you will probably tire of the constant shredding, which at times sounds like Frusciante is just going through his effects pedals and trying to use them all, and at times, the songs would be better without a solo, and so it feels incongruous and bolted on. "Hey" is the best example of this, an all too garish axe-licking sesh marring what would otherwise be a pleasant strum.
There is no denying that they are a tight band. The rhythm section of Flea and Chad Smith is as brilliantly fluid as ever, it's just that with not enough musical and lyrical ideas to fill a double album, some tracks sound like nothing more than showcases for exemplary musicianship. So, to enjoy this album to the full, burn the best tracks onto a single disc, and leave the patchy funk-rock for someone who would appreciate it, like erâ¦.. Disco Stu, or someone like that.
Red Hot Chili Peppers Stadium Arcadium Album Review Wea
When bands say 'we couldn't throw away any of the songs, and had to release this as a double album,' those words should strike fear into the hearts of all right-thinking listeners. Unfortunately, it is true of Stadium Arcadium. The flabby choice of music, and rote playing, suggest that it's the standards that have dropped, rather than the Chilis finding any new songwriting level. There are good songs scattered about, such as the single Dani California, or Slow Cheetah, but the band strike out often, such as when they try to rediscover the funk rock feel of Blood Sugar Sex Magik on Hump De Bump, or when they aim at slow balladry. Their ninth album is a long way from their best, even if you iPod it and select your own 12 favourite tracks.
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