Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium Album Review

Review of Stadium Arcadium Album by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers Stadium Arcadium Album

Stadium Arcadium


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. "

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

Review 2

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" 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" 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 er….. Disco Stu, or someone like that.

Ben Davis

Review 3

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Stadium Arcadium

Album Review


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.

Rating 5/10

Mike Rea

Site -


More Red Hot Chili Peppers

Isle of Wight Festival 2014 Review

If there's something to take away from this year's Isle of Wight Festival, it's probably sunburn. Unlike the mud bath of two years ago, 2014...

Isle Of Wight Festival Set To Be A Scorcher [Pictures]

The Isle of Wight Festival 2014 is underway and it’s looking like it’s set to be a scorcher of a weekend! The Met Office has...

Your Guide To The Isle of Wight Festival 2014

The annual Isle of Wight Festival kicks off tomorrow (June 12th), beginning a British summertime so filled with awesome music events you might even forget...

Isle of Wight Festival 2014 Preview

With just hours until thousands of people flock to Portsmouth and Southampton for their annual ferry trip to the Isle of Wight Festival, it's time...


Lookalikes Will Ferrell and Chad Smith Settle The Score With An Epic 'Tonight Show' Drum Off

The drum battle of the century has finally happened as Will Ferrell took on the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith during Thursday’s ‘Tonight Show...

Red Hot Chili Peppers And 8 Of The Funniest Lip-Syncs, Ever

The Red Hot Chili Peppers' performance alongside Bruno Mars at Sunday’s Superbowl put the practice of ‘miming’ or ‘lip-syncing’ back into the public consciousness. Though...

Cordless Rockers Red Hot Chilli Peppers Caught Out with Super Bowl Set

“Hang on a minute, their guitars aren’t plugged in to anything” an eagle-eyed Super Bowl viewer probably said somewhere in America. And he/she was right:...

Why Did The Red Hot Chili Peppers Play Air Guitar At The Superbowl? Bassist Flea Explains

Red Hot Chili Pepper’s bassist Flea has tried to end the controversy over the band miming their insturments during their Superbowl performance with Bruno Mars...



rhcpgirl's picture


i think you guys have nothing better to do than criticize great musicians like the chili peppers who have been doing music for over 20 years, in this new album they combined their old funk with new stuff and i think it's a great album! don't mean to be rude but i don't think it's nice that you go off criticizing them

8 years 5 months ago
View Comments

catholic school girl's picture

catholic school girl

As a music reviewer myself I understand that opinion makes up 75% of a review as one only has his own judgement on which to base his review. Fair play. However, the purpose of a review is to try and examine the album and give the reader an overall impression of what to expect, and include criticism as necessary. I cannot understand why Mike Rea would try and pass off the above comments as a review. I agree that there are a few fillers and that the Chilis could have compacted their new songs into one, perfect CD, but for a band spanning 20 odd years and nine albums I think they have a right to show off all that they are proud of don't you? Their best it mayn't be, but is it really worth comparing every album a band make to their past successes/failures? Personally I think this new album is a treat and demonstrates a tantalising mixture of old and very new. Rock the funk on!

8 years 4 months ago
View Comments

ladyday's picture


Criticize all you like but what you have to realise is that these men have grown up. Through all the trials and tribulations that life throws at us humans it is fitting that we grow and transform. This is what has happened and is happening to these four musicians who grace the musical stage. They have mixed up the music but all the time retaining their intention of musical honesty. The double album as a modern day product is hard to take, as society today finds the process of concentrating and being involved in an art form too taxing. I love this album and play it constantly and am already eager for the next release.

8 years 3 months ago
View Comments

Red Hot Chili Peppers Newsletter

Subscribe to this news alert service to receive news and reviews on Red Hot Chili Peppers

Unsubscribe | Unsubscribe All