Stadium Arcadium (2CD)
Audio CD | 2CD
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Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers calls the band's first new album in four years, Stadium Arcadium, the most-anticipated album of the spring, "the best thing that we've ever done....There's this weird kind of sublime, subliminal undercurrent that is suggestive, in a spirited way, of our earliest records." Exuding all the passion, energy, and funked-up rock that have made the Red Hot Chili Peppers one of the most popular bands in history, the 2-CD Stadium Arcadium, simply put, will knock your socks off.
Four-year career hiatuses followed by sprawling double-albums could spell trouble for a band of the Chili Peppers' stature: consider they'd originally recorded enough for three discs. The restless, trouble-plagued outfit that helped break alternative rock into the mainstream with a potent fusion of punk 'n' funk in the '80s finds itself two decades on almost completely devoid of the former's energetic abandon, while the latter's effusive rhythms are considerably subdued over the course of this two-hour, 28-track collection. It's not so much that the Peppers have lost their muscular, often uber-macho edge as they have willfully tamed it in service of mature reinvention here. The mellower, often introspective, if no less potent pop ethos that characterized the crossover hit "Under the Bridge" blossoms fully here on tracks like disc one's "Snow," "Wet Sand," and the jazz-cool of "Hey."
The title track, "Desecration Smile," and "She Looks To Me" finds them venturing further into laid back pop ballad territory, while the tricky rhythms of "Dani California," "Charlie," and "So Much I" eventually kick into familiar top gear on the pop-savvy "Tell Me Baby" and hip-hop seasoned "Storm in a Teacup." It's not that there's a paucity of musical adventure here ("If" and "Animal Bar" finds them wafting into Floydish neo-psychedelia while "Make You Feel Better" seems to channel no less than Joe Jackson) but that it's delivered with a subtlety--and dare we say it?--tasteful musical restraint that's a stark contrast to the band's early, overly overt nature. There's perhaps too much mid-tempo simmering and reflection going on; like most double-albums it could be focused into a much more compelling single disc. But that seems largely beside the Peppers' hooks-over-histrionics point here: an unlikely record to kick back to, and one that both challenges assumptions and eases the band into middle age with an oft languorous, if undeniably savory groove. --Jerry McCulley
Top Customer Reviews
The awesome thing about this album is that it is big. It is a two CD set, and interestingly enough, they named the two CDs "Jupiter" and "Mars." The two CDs are purple/silver and red/silver so you can easily tell them apart. There are 28 songs in total on this album, so buying the whole album is really good value!
This album has all of the stuff that The Chili peppers do well. The distinctive, emotional singing voice of Anthony Kiedis is excellent, and definitely has the voice that is rough enough that you believe him when he sings about sadness and hardships. There are definitely the funk mixed with pop sounds that are liked by many Chili Peppers fans.
Probably the most popular song on this album is Dani California. This song is certainly excellent, and it has much of the same musical style that everyone liked so well in Californication and By The Way, but I'm sure some people are a little tired of it by now, as it go a tremendous amount of radio play time when it came out. For those of you looking to find other nice songs on this album that were perhaps not as widely played and obsessed about by the general populace, check out the following (in no particular order):
Especially in Michigan - showcases some really good singing, spacey guitar riffs with a lot of different pedal settings, and beautiful lyrical moments
Snow (Hey Oh) - a romantic song that might be appropriate for wedding or party slow dances
Hump de Bump - sounds like older Chili Peppers material from their albums before Californication
It is entirely possible that other listeners would like other songs than I have. The awesome thing about the Chili Peppers is that their albums feature very few songs that are duds. They seem to put their efforts into the whole album. There is interesting guitar riffs, unusual spacey lyrics, and funky guitar sounds on just about every song.
First let me preface that I was born in the 80's so I was not hip to the original sound of The Red Hots. That being said once thing album hit me I learned the entire album on guitar and went out and bought their earlier albums. Does that say something about this album?
BTW this is me and a humble cover of "Slow Cheetah" and "Torture Me." One of these days I will put up videos of the entire album which takes about 2 hours. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=leLCpWjYE24
Without 'Further' ado, let me tell you how it all began.
A friend of a friend of mine whom I did not know too well at the time (we hung out a couple of times always with good tunes) invited me to a festival. When it comes to road trippin' to a festi, somehow my car is always the one that gets vvolunteered. Shows u how much i love these things...
...so in preparation for this adventure my spider senses were tingling. I felt it was time to 'turn the page' with a fresh start musically so I wandered over to the local public library perusing the meager music collection available for borrow. Pretty much bare bones except for one hidden gem that neatly ambushed me as I gently spun the CD rack.
What is this? The Red Hit Chili Peppers in my towns local library? And the album Stadium Arcadium that I've never even heard about before.
Well let me tell you that I grew up watching music videos on MTV in the 80's and even though I did not have any albums by the Chili Peppers, I always like listening and watching their videos for Soul to Squeeze Under the Bridge and one of my favorite videos ever "Aeroplane. " I also like video games and arcades and what the heck not only will this double album fill a good chunk of time on the road but the font of the letters the title and the artwork were really drawing me in. Let's just say that I may have judged this album by its cover. I like the cut of its jib so I literally checked it out for 2 weeks.
Now...any driver worth their weight in salt will have an excellent range of good music to make the ride enjoyable for their passenger whoever they might be. Driver and Disc Jockey might as well be interchangeable professions.
So...that's why I wanted to give Stadium Arcadium a little test drive the week before. You know, make sure it was presentable to these backwater country folk in the mountains. Music might as well be paint. And let me tell you that when you step outside the vehicle after a long trip you might as well be painted with the colors of the music you have been listening to. With our tents chairs sleeping bags cooler full of provisions and of course Max Clover the Siberian Husky taking up the entire back seat (he was my festival friend's dog who could not take care of him anymore so I rescued him) we had no more room left for shields nor armor should the natives become agitated by the sonic booms coming from my stock stereo.
Oddly enough, I had a difficult time homing in on the music during those first few days. Fir whatever reason my memory could not draw a bead on recognizing the songs. Maybe I was not driving long enough to catch more than just fragments of lyrics drums guitars and wait, I thought I heard a trumpet in there somewhere...it might also have been the fact that it's a double album. For some reason the lyrics 'Like a Kane and Able' did jump out at me. Whatever the reason I initially had a difficult time wrapping my mind around it. Which is strange because there's nothing out of the ordinary in terms of instrumentation. RHCP are basically a power trio with a vocalist, like like Led Zeppelin or Queen or Ozzy Osborne or Van Halen. And the album was mixed on the hotter side of the peak.
Well long story short the three of us (Max ' s masters and the dog...Max Clover with his head out the window) listened to the entire album Stadium Arcadium for like 8 hours on our way to the festival (alternating Jupiter and Mars). I let my buddy drive and I had my head out the window just like my (new dog) with the stereo blasting. It was an incredible feeling, that feeling like we were running on adrenaline, the vanguard racing towards the edge of the earth.
This album Stadium Arcadium by the late and very talented band of musicians The Red Hot Chili Peppers is deep. If you are a guitar player like me, and want to analyze Mr. John Frusciante' s style you are in for a rainbow plethora of different techniques. Power chords (5ths), single note lines, double stops, arpeggios, tritones, fingerpicking, 7th chords, 9th chords, hammer ons, 6ths, double picking, use of the blues scale, right handed hammer ons (tapping), pedal tones, counterpoint, and chock full of bending. We are talking Skittles baby, taste the rainbow of techniques. I am always amazed by the rapid pace of the guitar part in "Snow (hey oh)" with a half time back beat on the guitar. This is not easy to play smooth for an extended duration. John must have some incredible stamina to be able to sustain that kind of tempo for the entire song. "Give me your wrist..."
And Fleas bass lines are so funky. These guys truly understand the art of counterpoint. I love "Charlie" and "Turn It Again" in particular. I'm not a drummer but I do know that everyone's parts fit well together, with Chad Smith solid on the skins. No one seems to ever overplay, and the songs are so imaginative so different emtionally. Those Chili Peppers are team players in it for the music: The Song.
Like I said this was the first album I ever bought (for all of my relatives too; makes a great Christmas present) but since first hearing this in the spring if 2009 I did buy The first few albums including Freaky Stylee Mother's Milk and of course Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Anybody can learn how to play an instrument. Hell, you don't even need to be able to hear if you learn just the mechanical finger movements. This album 'Stadium Arcadium' proves that The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Flea, John Frusciante, Anthony Kiedis, and Chad Smith are more than just players, they are musicians. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are Jedi Knights. They have opened up and spilled their guts "My heart is hurting when I share..." but they have used their ears to create music for the song. There's no question that this album was written with a more mature and experienced point of view "Slow down the road to my back 40..." so if you're skull was not obliterated and heart shattered into a million pieces when this meteor of an album finally hit you like it did to me, I just pulled out my iPod plugged in my guitar and ran through it 2 hours yesterday first time in a couple of months) I urge you to go back and meditate on these songs. Stadium Arcadium is IMHO a masterpiece if the likes seldom seen or heard by musicians in the last 20 years.
So go and may the force be with you and pick up another fellow 'musician' Guitar Slash's Apocalyptic Love featuring Miles Kennedy and the Conspirators (2012). Another album masterpiece and favorite of mine: Joy!
P.S. oh and 'Kentucky' if you happen to be reading this please do give Anthony a call ;)
P.P.S. There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Frusciante will rejoin the Red Hots again sometime in (hopefully near) future when the time is right. If I helped create the music of Jupiter and Mars I think I too would bust the knob off while it was stuck on '10.'
For the record, the songs are split into two CD's labeled "Mars" and "Jupiter," and come in a foldable case with a booklet.
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