Tuesday, May 29, 2007

REVIEW: Stadium Arcadium

Stadium Arcadium: Jupiter - The Red Hot Chili Peppers - Rick Rubin - 2006 - 10/10
Stadium Arcadium: Mars - The Red Hot Chili Peppers - Rick Rubin - 2006 - 10/10

RHCP continues moving to where they were headed after 2002's "By the Way," except a difference is clearly evident. "By the Way" marked the beginning of a trend towards a more mature RHCP - from their music to their performances and Stadium Arcadium continues that trend, finishing as a well polished, modern rock album. While the Peppers are at the top of their game, some credit has to go to Rubin who has the Peppers turning in a sharply clean, clear sound. From the first single, "Dani California," the album hits the ground running, and it runs for a long time, as the double album features fourteen tracks on each disk, with each song averaging over four minutes. The confidence the Peppers are playing at seaps through their music and its easy to tell that they have a new level of comfort with their band mates as Frusciante plays with them for a third album with the Peppers. The songwriting moves in a new direction too, sure there are some classic Peppers lines of somewhat lewd descriptions of foreplay, but for the most part, each band member contributes some of their lives to these tracks as Anthony Kiedis sings about marriage, love, loss, family, and more, but generally more mature themes. Makes some sense too, as the Peppers, and a good deal of their audience, are getting older. Have no fear die hard fans, you have at least one song in the vein of true Peppers classics on each disc - "Hump De Bump" on Jupiter and "Readymade" on Mars. But any changes or growth in the Peppers shouldn't frieghten fans - they simply are playing better, their rifts are sharper, more catchy, and the lyrics and production follow to produce one of their best albums. They still name check more states and places than any other band, throw in their odd bit of churlish humor we all love and rub their own style into it all.

I'll admit, when I first heard that they were going to put out a double album, shortly after they had released a Greatest Hits album, I thought for sure they were done, or at least on their last legs. I could not have been more wrong. Both of these discs are simply AMAZING. When I first got this album I listened to both discs AT LEAST once a day, sometimes more. That's how good it is. Personally, my favorite tracks are "Snow (Hey Oh)" on Jupiter and "Hard to Concentrate" on Mars. "Snow" features a powerful guittar intro in the vein of "Californication," except lighter, and poppier with a catchy chorus and interesting lyrics to think about that uses a similar tempo and pace as "By the Way's" "I Could Die For You" except a little faster. "Hard to Concentrate" has the power and lyrics of "Californication," including the sort of laid back guittar chorus, but the pace and tempo of "By the Way's" "The Zephyr Song." Those are just my absolute favorites, if I had to choose with a gun to my head, but really, it's hard to pick just one. I was lucky enough to see some of these songs live - as they played "Snow," "Dani California," "Hump De Bump," "Readymade" and "Tell Me Baby" at 2006's Lollapalooza. They were great there too - as the Peppers kept up their energy and heart all the way through, playing those five new songs, five songs from "By the Way" and five of their older songs - thought not "Under the Bridge."

When it comes down to it, this shouldnt even be a question of buying this album or not, it should be whether you're going to listen to it two or three times a day.

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