Review Summary: Can there really be too much of a good thing!?
Admittedly, I am most likely significantly biased in favour of any album by the Chili Peppers; I grew up listening to them and for that reason have a nostalgic affection for them. However, despite acknowledging my own vested interest, I still find it almost impossible to comprehend why this album has been on the receiving end of so much critique.
It seems to me that the majority of the criticism towards this album was for the album length (it's a double album, clocking in at over two hours) and the amount of "filler" songs. I can completely understand and appreciate that to review an album, it's important to view it as a whole expression and not just as a group of individual songs but what I cannot grasp, is which songs on "Stadium Arcadium" are on it purely to fluff out the content and fill up the disc space.
While I wouldn't rate this album as their best, it's a substantial amount better than it's given credit for. The ninth studio album released by the funky monks has more than its fair share of typically funky hits; Dani California, Tell Me Baby, Charlie, Hump De Bump, Torture Me and Storm In a Teacup to name but a few. However, I couldn't just list 'Snow (Hey Oh)' as a "typically funky hit" from the album: Snow is the 'Cornerstone' of Arctic Monkeys' 'Humbug'(another horrendously underrated album).
Much Like Cornerstone, 'Snow' is the tastiest grape of a particularly sumptuous bunch. The intro is a handpicked riff deliciously fed to the listener by Frusciante and complimented by the creamy cheeseboard that is an unusually simplistic bass line by Flea. My poor attempt at a metaphor aside, Snow is a delightful blend of all the band members participating to the best of their abilities. Its isn't just the foursome simply contributing their most intricate skills but a result of an unbelievable amount of chemistry (which is bound to be in place after all they've been through!). The song is less brutal and in your face than other typical RHCP classics but the beautiful interplay between band members and the notional guitar riff makes it one of the best ever by the Chili Peppers.
One of the biggest evolutions from their previous release, is the adaptation of Anthony Kiedis' vocals. In "By The Way" the words are tunefully delivered deep from the voicebox but here the lyrics are almost whispered and suit the relaxing tone of songs such as "Wet Sand" and "Slow Cheetah" to really caress the ear drum.
In my humble opinion, on the contrary to popular belief, Stadium Arcadium is not at all full of watery songs that plump up the chicken. It's maturely compiled with groovy bass lines, exquisite guitar, alluring vocals and meticulous drumbeats. Stadium Arcadium is inconceivably unappreciated and undervalued and I can't help thinking that if 'Jupiter' and 'Mars' had been released as single albums, they'd be widely recognised as classics and remembered for generations to come.