Stadium Arcadium

Stadium Arcadium

4.5 35
by Red Hot Chili Peppers
     
 

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Coming 30 years into the Red Hot Chili Peppers saga, the barrier-defying double album Stadium Arcadium trades the usual sophomoric shock tactics for something truly surprising.. Here, the ultimate West Coast party band proves that the strategically placed tube socks are a thing of the past and that they deserve -- gasp! -- to be taken seriously. Thank guitarist

Overview

Coming 30 years into the Red Hot Chili Peppers saga, the barrier-defying double album Stadium Arcadium trades the usual sophomoric shock tactics for something truly surprising.. Here, the ultimate West Coast party band proves that the strategically placed tube socks are a thing of the past and that they deserve -- gasp! -- to be taken seriously. Thank guitarist John Frusciante, who's more of a presence here than usual, lacing songs like "Charlie" with dizzy, art-tastic guitar solos and pushing his fellow Peppers into heretofore unexplored territory, as on the Stereolab-on-steroids power drone "Animal Bar." There's a good bit of new ground covered here, primarily on the second disc, which is subtitled "Mars." On "21st Century," for instance, bassist Flea corrals his over-the-top funkateering, marshaling out the notes in a spare, angular style that's more reminiscent of Gang of Four than the Ohio Players. The set's first disc, a.k.a. "Jupiter," has more of a classic Chilis vibe, replete with purposefully goofy, rhythm-dominated odes to knockin' boots: Flea makes the most of the chance to grind his pelvis into the groove of "Bump Da Bump," while frontman Anthony Kiedis works his stream-of-consciousness mojo on the delirious "Especially in Michigan." The smattering of ballads here -- relatively few compared to the band's most recent studio efforts -- fall short of the emotional oomph of, say, "Under the Bridge." But when the Peppers get it right, as they do for most of Stadium Arcadium, they tickle and provoke, nudge and wink, and make it easy to tell 'em to hold on tight and don't let go.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Indulgence has long been a way of life for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, yet they resisted the siren's call of the double album until 2006's Stadium Arcadium. Sure, 1991's breakthrough Blood Sugar Sex Magik was as long as a classic double LP, but such distinctions mattered little in the era when vinyl gave way to CD, and they matter less now, as the CD gradually gives way to digital-only releases. In fact, like how Blood Sugar was the tipping point when the LPs ceded ground to CDs, Stadium Arcadium could be seen as the point when albums were seen as a collection of digital playlists. Yes, it's pressed up as a two-disc set -- including an extravagant but pointless special edition housed in a clunky box that includes a make-yer-own-spinning-top -- but this is an album that's designed for you to mix and match, create your own playlist, rip and burn on your own. It's designed for you to sequence its 28 songs in some kind of cohesive manner, since the band sure didn't take the time to do that here; it's the first major album by a major band that makes as much sense on random as it does in its proper sequencing. Well, that's not entirely true: the official 28-song album does begin with "Dani California," the clearest single here, the one thing that truly grabs attention upon first listen and worms its way into your subconscious, where it just won't let go, as so much of Anthony Kiedis' catchiest melodies do. After that, it's a long, winding path of alternately spacey and sunny pop, ballads, and the occasional funk workout that used to be the Chili Peppers' signature but now functions as a way to break up the monotony. And there needs to be something to break up the monotony, not because the music is bad but because it all exists at the same level and is given a flat, colorless production that has become the signature of Rick Rubin as of late. Rubin may be able to create the right atmosphere for Flea and John Frusciante to run wild creatively -- an opportunity that they seize here, which is indeed a pleasure to hear -- but he does nothing to encourage them to brighten the finished recording up with some different textures, or even a greater variety of guitar tones. As such, the bare-bone production combined with the relentless march of songs gives Stadium Arcadium the undeniable feel of wading through the demos for a promising project instead of a sprawling statement of purpose; there's not enough purpose here for it to be a statement. That fault is down to the band not forming the raw material into something palatable for the listener, but there's also the problem that as a lyricist Anthony Kiedis just isn't that deep or clever enough to provide cohesive themes for an album of this length; he tackles no new themes here, nor does he provide new insight to familiar topics. To his credit, he does display a greater versatility as a vocalist, cutting back on the hambone rapping that used to be his signature and crooning throughout the bulk of this album, usually on key. That said, he still has enough goofy tics to undercut his attempts at sincerity, and he tends to be a bit of a liability to the band as a whole; with a different singer, who could help shape and deliver these songs, this album might not seem as formless and gormless. But there is a fair amount of pleasures here, all down to the interplay between Flea and Frusciante. While drummer Chad Smith does prove himself quite versatile here, gracefully following the eccentric turns and meanderings of the bassist and guitarist, the string instruments are the reason to listen to Stadium Arcadium. That's always been the case to a certain extent with the Chili Peppers, but here it's especially true, as they push and pull, rave and rumble, lie back and rock out -- pretty much spit out anything they can do on their instruments over the course of 28 songs. As good as much of this is, there is a little bit of monotony here, since they're working variations on their signature themes, and they haven't found a way to make these variations either transcendent or new; they're just very good renditions on familiar themes. These tracks rarely betray their origins as studio jams -- more than ever, it's possible to hear that the track came first, then the song -- and while that can result in some good listening, it all does kind of drift together. That said, there are no bad tracks here -- it's all of a relatively high quality -- but there are no standouts either, so it takes a very dedicated fan to start sorting out the subtleties between the tracks (not the wheat from the chaff, since it's all wheat). And while those hardcore fans may certainly enjoy the make-your-own-adventure spirit of Stadium Arcadium, it's hard not to feel that it's the band's responsibility to take this very good repetitive album and mold it into something sharper and more effective. So call it the rock version of Peter Jackson's King Kong: there's something pretty great and lean buried beneath the excess, but it's so indulgent, it's a work that only a fanboy could truly love.
Rolling Stone - Brian Hiatt
The band's ninth studio album is the most ambitious work of its twenty-three-year career -- an attempt to consolidate everything that is Chili Peppers, from their earlier, funnier funk-metal stuff to soul-baring "Under the Bridge"-style balladry to Californicating vocal-harmony pop.... It's a late-career triumph that could pass for another, lesser group's greatest-hits collection.
Los Angeles Times - Josh Kun
Stadium" is big, majestic and mature. It overflows with the kind of music the Chili Peppers do best: a physical, often psychedelic mix of spastic bass-slapped funk and glistening alt-rock spiritualism. Only they've never sounded this good as musicians.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Kevin Johnson
[Grade: A-] [The Chilis] are not only at the top of their game on the CDs' 28 combined tracks (whittled down from 38), they burst through the roof.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/09/2006
Label:
Warner Bros / Wea
UPC:
0093624999621
catalogNumber:
49996
Rank:
4304

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Red Hot Chili Peppers   Primary Artist
Billy Preston   Tambourine
Lenny Castro   Percussion
Paulinho Da Costa   Percussion
Richard Dodd   Cello
Brad Warnaar   French Horn
Monique Mosee   Choir, Chorus
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez   Guitar,Soloist
Emily Kokal   Choir, Chorus
Michael Bolger   Trombone
Natalie Baber   Choir, Chorus
Mylissa Hoffman   Choir, Chorus
Alexis Izenstark   Choir, Chorus
Spencer Izenstark   Choir, Chorus
Dylan Lerner   Choir, Chorus
Kyle Lerner   Choir, Chorus
Gabrielle Mosbe   Choir, Chorus
Sophia Mosbe   Choir, Chorus
Isabella Shmelev   Choir, Chorus
Landen Starkman   Choir, Chorus
Wyatt Starkman   Choir, Chorus

Technical Credits

Red Hot Chili Peppers   Art Direction
Flea   Composer
John Frusciante   Composer
Anthony Kiedis   Composer
Rick Rubin   Producer,Audio Production
Chad Smith   Composer
Andrew Scheps   Engineer
Ryan Hewitt   Engineer
Jason Lader   Engineer
Dana Nielsen   Engineer
Jon Cohan   Drum Technician
Dave Lee   Guitar Techician
Mark Linette   Engineer
Matt Taylor   Art Direction
Chris Holmes   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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Stadium Arcadium 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The first single, Dani California, has just been released and it kicks butt! If this is any indication, this double-length CD ought to be great!
Guest More than 1 year ago
all in all are this songs like the songs from the californicatiun album. a lot of effects and second voices. it´s not enough funk on this album. the chilis said that they will bring back the funk.. where is the funk? i tooked out some songs after my first hearing, which i think they are the best and this is just my impresson after the first time i hear these parts of the songs: Dani (of course, Hump de Bump, Tell me baby, storm in a teacup, I´m disappointed from this album
Guest More than 1 year ago
theses cd s ARE RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME THIS IS THE BEST STUFF SINCE BSSM
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Red Hot Chili Peppers is basically the greatest rock band of this era, bar none. With 28 tracks, it shows the different variety of music in which they are capable to produce. From funky tracks like "Charlie", "Hump deBump" and "Warlocks", beautiful tracks such as "Slow Cheetah" and "Wet Sand", to jazzlike "Hey", no stone was left unturned. The chemistry between the three musicians can be clearly heard throughout the album. Simply one of their best albums to date.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As much as I love RHCP, I'm very disappointed by this album. Listening to past albums, Stadium Arcadium is definitely not up to par. I can tolerate some songs but overall, it's very disappointing. Perhaps if I listen to them over and over again I'm learn to like it but that isn't what music is about right?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just got the CD late last week after reading all sorts of reviews that said there are a lot of throwaway songs in this set. Perhaps those reviews lowered my expectations, but I can't find even one song that I have the urge to skip over when listening to this set. In fact, I have to say this is one of the only CDs I've ever owned that I can say that about. The sound is more sophisticated and mellow than Blood Sugar Sex Magic, so I suppose that might be disappointing to fans looking for a return to that particular sound. But this is my favorite RHCP CD ever. The guitar is exquisite, and Anthony's voice has never been richer and more gorgeous. An all-around masterpiece. I bet that come December 31 I will *still* consider this the best CD of 2006.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Personally, my favorite song is "Dani California." I love the way they blend lyrics and all the songs are unique. None of them sound excactly the same unlike other CDs.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm not a fan of double albums, but I think the RHCPs have done a great job! It's not Blood, Sugar, Sex Magik, but it is a lot of fun and they have not lost their touch or their funk. I'm looking forward to seeing them live! P.S. I just wish Anthony was single!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great album overall. So many strong songs, and yeah there are some weak ones but what do you expect on an album of this size? RHCP have truly evolved into incredible musicians. This is worth buying to hear John Frusciante's guitar work alone. It's incredible.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm more of a clasic (older)rock fan, Eric Claptan, The Who, Allman Brothers. I bought this just to hear something new. I haven't stopped listening to it. It's great!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great, as a big RHCP fan i loved every minute!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is unbelievable. Like every other album by the Chili's, it delivers amazing sound, and with John getting close to being the greatest guitarist of all time (#18) there at the top of their career. Anthony delivers with as good as ever of a voice, Flea is no question the greatest rock bassist of all time, and Chad Smith is arguably the best out there. You also need to see them live, or you will miss something fpectacular.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The music by Red Hot Chili Peppers is a lot of medium slow rock music with a lot of guitar, drums, and harmony. The songs in Stadium Arcadium are all great for many reasons. The harmonizing in voices are what makes them stick out in my mind as better than other bands. This shows true musicianship and also adds to the complexity of the music. Also the guitar solos are always a plus and pretty much every song has one in it. The lyrics are interesting as always even though not all of them make sense. These songs are great for their harmonizing, guitar solos and interesting lyrics.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is wonderful! They are even better live.
Guest More than 1 year ago
not a suprising amazing album by one of the best bands in the country
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great cd and you should defintely uby it. It still wasn't the best, because for the whole Mars edition of the cd just sounds like they were trying to fill up the cd wiht whatever they could think of. Listen to "She's only 18" on the Jupiter edition. OH YEAH TOTAL BASS SOLO!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There were no flaws at all in this album, and it is by far one of my favorite. Every song has a different story and experience; there's never a lull in a song. You'll never want to hit the fast forward, only the repeat. John Frusciante's solos are hair raising and keep you wanting more. A few of my personal favorite tracks include: "She's Only 18" and "Hey". Anthony Kiedis seems to weave his voice in and out of the song, singing out where it's needed and dimming his voice when it's time to let another shine. Flea keeps a constant bass rhythm, experimenting with arpeggios, slapping, and so much more. And who could forget the drummer keeping the beat throughout the entire album? I honestly don't know how I would categorize this Cd. It's a mixture of funk, dance, alternative, blues, pop, and everything thing else under the sun. Stadium Arcadium is a must-have for any RHCP fan, and an amazing starter for a new fan.
ClarkP More than 1 year ago
Great album, must have for any rock fan. Two thumbs up!
Guest More than 1 year ago
not enough hard funk and/or rock.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best CD's the Chili Peppers have come out with. Anthony's voice has improved greatly(not sayin he was bad before) Flea has great bass licks, and John has amazing guitar solos. The drums are amazing. Listen to this CD to hear Chad Smith at his finest.
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