Let’s face it; “By The Way" wasn’t the best that the Red Hot Chili Peppers could dish out. Sure, some songs were like weed, but others were just plain filler. So when it is announced that the bands next album would be a double album I was both excited and scared. Excited that I would be listening to two whole CD’s worth of new Chili Pepper material and scared that this could easily become a disaster. “Dani California"
acts well as a single, but is mixed at being a fitting representation of the album. While for the most part it’s what one should expect of Stadium Arcadium, the chorus is pretty like nothing you’ll find on either disc. Sure, Anthony’s voice is catchy from time to time, but not in the way he is on there. His singing for the whole album is smooth and melodic, a vast improvement over any of the other Red Hot Chili Pepper records. The best part about the single is that John Frusciante plays a sweet solo in it. I wasn’t sure if he would play like that for the rest of the album, but most songs on each disc contain a solo with each being grand. With over four years time to write material I was sure expecting something big. I was first met with disappointment, but satisfaction soon found me.
The first disc of the album is really the second best. “Jupiter" has a lot of good songs, but the flow of the album is extremely static. On a number of the slower boredom ensues almost immediately. “Slow Cheetah"
and “Strip My Mind"
drag on relentlessly and would definitely not be on here if the record were a single disc. In fact, it would be safe to say over half of “Jupiter" wouldn’t have a chance of making it on to a single disc release. That is not to say there aren’t absolutely any entertaining songs. “Charlie"
shows the funky and blues side to Red Hot Chili Peppers and even though it is slow, it does not become weary to listen to. When the title track of “Stadium Arcadium" began I was scared that Daron Malakian had joined the Peppers because the first second sounds like the introduction to the terrible “Lonely Day"
. Thankfully, this is not the case and what happens during the song is the opposite of terrible.
may in fact be one of the Red Hot Chili Peppers most relaxing songs. Anthony Kiedis clearly shows he can sing a lot better than he could before. In fact, he has actually become a truly superior singer. “Torture Me"
is the best song of “Jupiter". Flea plays an intense bass lick for a while before every instrument comes in abrasively hostile. Kiedis comes in frantically with, “Because I’m happy to be sad I want it all I want it bad. Oh-oh-it’s what I know."
It seems that this will be one of the few songs that have sensible lyrics before Kiedis adds, “It’s a vintage year for pop I hear"
, which is something he would say. While “Torture Me"
may be frantic it is also very smooth. Thus it would work great as a single showing the blues and funk influence combined with bits of heavy and slow segments. “Jupiter" does end on a boring note that lasts for more than just one song and all hope seems lost for “Stadium Arcadium", but “Mars" comes from behind and whacks the ears with sensational songwriting and flows excellently.
Of the two discs, “Mars" is the one that is most worthwhile. The consistency is so strong that it could almost support itself as a single Red Hot Chili Pepper album. As soon I started listening to this disc I was completely enwrapped and enthralled with it. Even the quiet songs are much stronger than they are on “Jupiter". “Desecration Smile"
epically opens up this superb second disc with an acoustic guitar and bass intertwined together with the drums providing a steady beat. Anthony continues to show he has infinitely enhanced his singing by sounding completely unlike his former self. A ballad seems a strange way to open the disc, but it works wonders. The funky songs are much better too. “Storm In A Teacup"
could quite possibly be one of the greatest Red Hot Chili Pepper songs ever. Each instrument makes itself known (plus extra instruments) at one point or another. Anthony varies from talking, melodic singing, and rapping. The guitar has a catchy lick that fits the old Chili Pepper style well and the solo Frusciante plays is amazing. John manages to express the various influences he uses all throughout the album in this one song. The structure of the song shows how much the band has evolved as a band and separate musicians, but it can also be determined that they may still be trying to find their niche. Whatever the case, this is the best “Stadium Arcadium" song.
will most likely become a single just because of the simple, but frighteningly catchy chorus where Anthony and a dozen others sing, “We believe"
, repeatedly. At one point a guitar line seems almost Pink Floyd inspired, which is amazing, yet not surprising. Other than this though, “We Believe"
does not offer much else. “Made You Feel Better"
is Blink-182 with funk influences. Mark could have easily replaced Anthony and fit in with the music still. Even the lyrics have the substance of something Blink would offer. “She’s the one she’s the only one. She’s got ripped back light, gonna make me cum"
is a funk track where John and Flea have never worked better together. They fuse together playing the same thing, but both are audible. Of all songs this is one that shows how long the Red Hot Chili Peppers have been together because it’s so tight and everything mingles together for an incredibly flawless song. “Death of a Martian"
ends the two-hour double album and everything feels appropriate. Starting out slowly and seeming almost boring, but then gaining in tempo and becoming a great song is actually almost perfect in the description of “Stadium Arcadium". It may not be one of the greatest songs, heck, it probably wouldn’t even have been kept were “Stadium Arcadium" one disc, but oddly, it feels an appropriate ending to this great album.
It almost seems silly to compare “Jupiter" and “Mars" together, but the important thing is, do they work together as a team? Frankly as one album together they do. And that is only because “Jupiter" comes up first before “Mars". If it were the other way around then the case would be that the quality would go down as it went on, but in this case it is the opposite. “Jupiter" starts out fantastic for the first five songs and then hits a couple bumps along the way, but as soon as “Mars" takes the spotlight there is no looking back. Together “Jupiter" and “Mars" make for one hell of an album, but those bumps really can’t be overlooked. Also, with double albums, it would be expected that there should be at least some experimentation somewhere, but there isn’t anything at all. What you’ll hear here, you’ve heard before from the Chili Peppers. Still, this is one double album that even though it isn’t original, is still fun to listen to completely through and worth every penny.
+ Superior songwriting
+ Anthony Kiedis’ singing has never been better
+ “Mars" flows extremely well and contains the best songs
- “Jupiter" is a grower and doesn’t flow as well as “Mars"
- Too many slow songs
What happened to the multiple bonus tracks
- “Storm In A Teacup"
- “Torture Me"
- “Stadium Arcadium"
- “Tell Me Baby"