Disc Review: Stadium Arcadium

The Red Hot Chili Peppers' new album is an ambitious affair.

stadium arcadium 88 (photo credit: )
stadium arcadium 88
(photo credit: )
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS Stadium Arcadium (Hed Arzi/Warner Bros.) No other band today personifies Californian culture more than the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And their sound is one of the most identifiable styles out there. Their new studio opus, Stadium Arcadium, a double album of 28 songs comprising over two hours of music, is an ambitious affair. The album almost sounds like a career retrospective, with an ample helping of melody, weird wordplay, introspective balladry and the Peppers' signature California rock funk sound. The album is presented as two discs, Jupiter and Mars. Jupiter is filled with radio gems, each track poppier and more infectious than the next. Stadium Arcadium's first single and lead track, "Dani California," is an instant reminder of lead singer Anthony Kiedis's inherent gift for melody, and the musical talents of guitar virtuoso John Frusciante, bassist Flea and drummer Chad Smith. The pop nuggets keep coming and rarely let up. They hit the mark on tracks such as "Snow (Hey Oh)," revisit their old funk'n punk styles on "Charlie" and "Hump De Bump" and slow things down a la "Under the Bridge" on "Slow Cheetah." On "Mars," the Peppers are a bit more experimental and rocking. Frusciante lets loose, filling up every empty space with his signature guitar riffs and skilled, methodical noodling. He has apparently never met a guitar effect he didn't like. Following his recovery from drug addiction, Frusciante made a triumphant return on the Peppers' previous two albums, Californication and By the Way, and has cemented his sound as one of the most recognizable guitarists around. In 2004, he released six albums in a six-month period, and his experimental sound can be heard all over Stadium Arcadium. That said, the album never gets too experimental - it's nearly all guitar pop and almost every track has chart-topping possibilities. Undoubtedly, the radio will be having an affair with this album for a long time to come. This album almost makes me forgive the band for canceling its concert here back in 2001.