Red Hot Chili Peppers
Stadium Arcadium



by MasterSan USER (17 Reviews)
January 30th, 2008 | 58 replies

Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not an album. An endurance test. Painfully bland and horrible from beginning to end.

A bit of background: I'm a big RHCP fan, and I think Blood Sugar Sex Magik is the best album they've ever made... but Californication showed signs that the sex-obsessed funksters were starting to lose their touch. By The Way was an atrocity that only worsened the descent into crappy MOR balladry and limp rock.

With Stadium Arcadium, I am forced to conclude that RHCP have hit rock bottom. The album is a frustrating collection of cringe-inducing ballads, generic poppy-rock and lame pseudo-funk lacking the energy and monstrous hooks that made BSSM a classic album. And to add insult to injury, it's a double album.

Apologies for sometimes lacking description. Let the torture begin.

Dani California: the first track on this whole mess. Sure, it has a groovy drumbeat, funkyish guitar work and Anthony Kiedis raps again. But something seems to be missing. And that is the energy. When this band's made high-energy funk rock classics like "Suck My Kiss" and "Give It Away" just to name a few, a midtempo pace doesn't work well at all. While it's a relief that the horrible mastering that destroyed Californication has been dialled down, there's still some audible clipping in the anthemic chorus. Oh, and the over-processed distortion used in the chorus doesn't work for me at all. The best news: this is probably the catchiest and best song on the album. But that's the most backhanded compliment I can give.

Snow (Hey Oh) starts with some fast, technically proeficient guitars courtesy of John Frusciante. Flea joins in but doesn't perform any of his lightning-fast slapping. Instrumentally the song is a bit pleasant... but this is too little. I don't want to hear RHCP take a stab at ball-less elevator rock. It doesn't help that the song proudly... erm, "boasts" one of the most cloying, annoying refrains on the album. And the bridge seems to rip off the melody from "By The Way", of all places. This is basically all there is to it, as the track proceeds to repeat for 5 and a half minutes.

Only two tracks in, and already my patience is being tested. Hooray, this augurs very well... Charlie is more technically proeficient but boring midtempo pseudo-funk. At least Flea sped up a bit this time. With dust barely settling on my proclamation that "Snow"'s chorus is one of the worst, "Charlie" immediately brings a stupider one. I would like to make a joke here about how it's apparently about the joys of cocaine, but the badness of this album is depressing me too much. Again, the track repeats itself until the end, exhausting an ordinary listener's attention long before. You're telling me this is the same band who were disciplined enough to keep their jams just the right length in 1991" Rrrrrrrrrrrright. Moving on.

Stadium Arcadium has a nice jittery drum track laid down by Chad Smith, but that's about it. The title track is more sleep-inducing soft rock. John's guitar playing is basically okay, and there's a somewhat neat reversed guitar line in there, but the whole thing was done way better on "Give It Away". And more of the clipping pops its ugly head around the solo.

Starting to detect a pattern" The guitar melodies are vapid if technically accomplished, the tempo barely moves above a trudging middle pace, the production flattens the tracks into mush, and there's an inexcusable dearth of energy.

Hump de Bump. Eurgh. This track basically sounds like someone forced the Peppers, at gunpoint, to write something that could be vaguely described as "funky". And it's an absolute disaster, coming across as forced, professional and totally lifeless midtempo rock. John elects to contribute a stupid two-note riff throughout all the verses, and Anthony brings the worst lyrics he ever wrote, words so horrid I doubt his sobriety. Flea at some points actually bothers attempting those superfast slap-runs we all love, but they just sound affected. That's not touching on how the stupid trumpet sounds like a kazoo. The only good part in the entire track is the drum break between 2:05-2:22, a bit which should ideally be sampled and re-used in other, better tracks.

The next song is She's only 18. Double eurgh. Anthony's I-love-sex-and-girls shtick gets more strained and painfully creepy with each passing year. The track relies on a simple bass arpeggio and some ersatz-porno funk licks in the verses, only to burst into super-polished, dreadfully melodic "distorted" refrains. More of the same radio-ready pap.

Slow Cheetah's introductory rhythmic acoustic guitar hook reminds me of "Road Trippin". The problem is, "Road Trippin" was an accomplished track and a good album closer. This is alarmingly bad. John's riff, like every single ***ing one he put into this album, is so flat and colorless it just evaporates into thin air. During the song's running time. The irony of Kiedis' lyric "Everyone has so much to say/They talk their lives away" in the context of this album must be pointed out; sadly no one in the band has anything interesting to say. The song is extended with an unnecessary coda of reversed guitar, as if John listened to the Beatles' "I'm Only Sleeping" too often.

Torture Me. Ah, it's so heartwarming to know the band wrote a song about my experience listening to this dreck. Back on point. The song is the first disc's requisite quasi-"energetic" rock song. Well, Chad's drumming does possess a suitably primal edge, but John uses the most castrated distortion effect ever to kill a RHCP song. The brass band and the faux-choir added at some points are distracting, needless and tacked-on. Rick Rubin was supposed to be against superfluous bullshit. Why did he let this slide" In short, this song is terrible. Skip it.

Strip My Mind begins with clichéd power-chords, and does not get better. To my horror, the band have slowed down the pace even more, increasing the stodginess ratio so hard my brain blew a fuse. This song is faceless, and a severe drag. It's like Prince ceasing to claim that he is a Sex God and swearing to record nothing but muzak for the rest of his life. Ah, that comparison could well apply to the entire album.

Trivia: Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, of the insufferable freak-out prog-rock band The Mars Volta contributes a horrible, dissonant guitar solo for Especially in Michigan. The track is Another Brick In The Wall, literally. John is by this point so lazy he only uses two notes in the verses. Flea only mirrors the chord progression. Chad phones-in his performance on the drums, and Anthony gives us more hackneyed lyrics. Oh, the joy of hearing RHCP... Red Hot ***ing Chili Peppers, creators of the excellent BSSM, descend into trite, MOR, non-threatening soft-rock.

Trivia: Billy Preston, Beatles session keyboardist, adds some clavinet on Warlocks. Oh my God. Can it be" YES! A track that is half-decent. Don't get me wrong, it still falls way below the standard of RHCP, but it stands out as somewhat good amid the mass of every-song-sounds-the-same vapid lousiness of Stadium Arcadium. John remembers how to whack on a wah-pedal, and has some great chemistry with Billy's Stevie Wonder-ish clavinet licks. Sadly, they have another melodic, feeble chorus. DUDES, ENOUGH WITH THE MELODY AND GET THE *** BACK TO FUNK. This album is starting to make me hate melody, and making it increasingly harder for me to retain objectivity and avoid all-out rants.

Of course, it's not as if C'mon Girl makes my work easier. This song is strongly reminiscent of the boring castrated-rockers on Californication, except it's much worse. At least they had a bit of spark now and then. This is just... pitiful and embarassing. How can I describe it" It's midtempo. John contributes more stereotypical guitar work. Flea sounds like he's trying to strum faster with a crippled hand. Anthony's sedated. Chad phones it in again. Oh, and there's a dreadful spacey solo, as if they tried to do some Pink Floyd-ian stuff.

Wet Sand's beginning chords sound like the kind of spiritless shit you'd hear over the credits of some TV series or movie about highschoolers. Needless to say, the song remains on the same level of badness throughout. Overall, the song is depressing. Depressing because you fully realize how far the mighty have fallen.

Hey, the first disc is about to end! Finally. And not a moment too soon, because this final track is more of the same routine, tedious soft-rock. What the hell is there to say" It's more of the same.

So, Jupiter's tracks are all the same (spiritless, wearisome, ballsless poppy "rock" that your grandma would love), and melt into one huge puddle of liquid crap. Mars is more of the same.

Desecration Smile: a platitudinous, by-the-numbers ballad that could've been written by any band at all. This is so tiring and trite there's simply nothing else to write about it.

Tell Me Baby. Yeah, tell me what the fuck happened to you guys" You used to be cool and funky... now you've been reduced to generic riffs and sluggish tempos. This song is yet another counterfeit attempt at "funk", which would be more credible if they would quit cutting its feet off with shameful melodic choruses. So, basically the song is offensively bad, especially considering they can't even rip off BSSM right.

Hard to Concentrate is a hackneyed, hamfisted, shallow, limpid soft-rock horror. I can't even get outraged at this stuff anymore, it's too much of a bummer. Somehow the lyrics appear to be about marriage. Damn, I'd love to find whatever bitches cut the lads' balls off and torture them to death.

21st Century is sadly mistitled, these kind of stiff ska-lite rock songs could well be written any time. The refrain tries to fool us all by employing some pseudo-primal drumming from Chad, but it's all too little too late. It's one of the worst songs on the disc, skip at all costs.

She Looks to Me, and is creeped out. This song is another schmaltzy pop-rock horror, relying entirely on hollow, clichéd chord progressions. Oh, and the production gets too bombastic at times, plus Anthony sinks the lowest here lyrically. Look, I wasn't bothered by his free-associative incoherence when RHCP brought the funk. But there is none here. No, wait, scratch that, there is no fun to be had throughout this whole godforsaken album.

Readymade. How ironic, this is a by-the-numbers "rock" song. A song which relies on a stupid, stock melody from Flea, doubled by John on guitar and some more simplistic drumming from Chad. Hell, it could even be a drum machine for all I care.

If only they would've written some good songs... thank god this song is the shortest on Stadium. It's another repetitious, plebeian attempt to write some spacey rock. The vocal phrasing and melody remind me of the infinitely better "Lovin' and Touchin'" from Freaky Styley, which at least was only barely a minute. The lyrics are particularly contrived and banal.

Make You Feel Better" Only if you kill yourselves. More of the same clichéd chord progressions, lame rapping, trudging tempos. No variety whatsoever. I skipped this track, because there's nothing more to say and it particularly sucks.

Animal Bar. Argh, more spacey, fake pop rock. Look, you probably got a clue by now and realized that this whole album is fucking shit with utterly no variety, and this is more of the same. Don't bother with this one.

So Much I tries to pick up the pace, but it's too late already. John contributes some fast strumming, which suggests that someone actually slapped him on the head and shot him with andrenaline. Sigh.

Storm in a Teacup. Another heavy-handed pseudo-funk attempt. Too bad it's threadbare and worn to the bone, not even raising this close *spreads hands as widest as he can* to the level that the RHCP mastered in their heyday.

We Believe stands out on disc 2 because the background voices they added on strike me as particularly overkill. More of the same, plodding elevator rock. Skip it.

Turn It Again is another funk song put through a crapification device. Worst part: it's 6 minutes long. Now that is overkill too.

Thank ***ing WHATEVER, Death of a Martian is the last track on Mars. More plodding minor-key balladish boredom. The only thing worth mentioning is that Kiedis' spoken word part is spectacularly unsuccessful.

Final thoughts" This album is bad. Horrifyingly bad. It's the worst Chili Peppers album ever, thanks to the sheer magnitude of this turd. All of the songs are unmemorable, horrible, limpid, and the same: crappy muzak-"rock". It's single-mindedly rotten to the damn core, a monstrosity that should never be accorded anything but utter scorn and contempt. Of course, to add insult to injury, the RHCP officialized their devolution thanks to their terrible performance at the 2007 Grammys. Gaze and mourn, as the once proud wearers of socks on their penises lost their edge and their libido once they grew up, and started being stodgy, conservative shit-peddlers. This is a worse dissapointment than Metallica's entire post-1996 career. Well, at least they never released a double album of crap (S&M notwithstanding).

I wish they would just retire, instead of pissing on their legacy like this.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
January 30th 2008


Album Rating: 1.0

Okay, I just have to ask: please don't bother writing anything about how this album is actually good and I'm wrong. I'll ignore anything like that.

Just say if my review sucks or stinks.

January 30th 2008


Album Rating: 1.5

this album sucks i agree. very boring and way too long

January 30th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

This review comes off as though you're putting them to too high standards. I understand when you say the guitarwork or whatever is boring, that's not a problem (though for a few of the songs I strongly disagree). But whenever you give them the slightest compliment, you make sure to say it's still nowhere near the almighty BSSM. I find that rather annoying.

January 30th 2008


Album Rating: 2.0

Your review is kind of boring and way too long... if you go into reviewing an album under the same premise perhaps you should try to avoid a track by track. Especially on a double disc.

That said, I do agree. I saw these guys by consequence (I went to see Mars Volta open up for them) and they put on the most boring, redundant show I have ever seen. My friend even fell asleep through half of it.

January 30th 2008


Album Rating: 2.0

Funny thing is, your review is exactly the opinion you gave this album: long and boring. I got sick and tired you calling every single song not funky or a disgrace to their funk roots, and I'm SICK of hearing Pseudo in every single damn paragraph. I think that this does deserve a neg, even with opinions aside, because it's worse than JohnnyBlack's review. Much worse.

Though you are right that it's not up to RHCP standards at all. But don't expect anymore of their albums to be a BSSM.This Message Edited On 01.30.08This Message Edited On 01.30.08

January 30th 2008


I must say I have not heard this album, but your anger actually reminds me of mine a lot of the time, and hence I am going to trust your review and avoid downloading it.
I will just listen to a friends copy instead and then decide if I like it.
But from what you've said (which is believable), it sounds awful.
I have heard 4 songs, Snow, Hump de Bump, Tell Me Baby and Dani California.
And only Dani California was actually listen able in my opinion, the others were massively weighed down by the '''''melodic''''' choruses.
Decent review, even if you should have been more patient for the sake of the review.

January 30th 2008


yeah rhcp have gone through a process of lameification that is unparalleled by any another band....i agree with you, and i dont understand how the minimalism, excessive balladry, terrible rapping and even worse lyrics, and their half-heated attempts at funkiness are convincing to people.......LAME!

January 30th 2008


Good review, I'll vote. This cd is too long, but its not horrible.

January 30th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

I really like this album

January 30th 2008


Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Nah man this album sucks except for like 3 songs.

January 30th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

Bad review, it honestly comes off as a huge rant. And this isn't a 1/5 album by any means at all. You complain that the Chilis have gotten too "soft", when all they have done is attempted to change up their sound. You don't honestly expect them to keep busting out tunes like the ones from the Slovak days do you? They made the shift to a melodic approach for a reason, you can't just rip every song that isn't a funk track on this album. The fact is, their songwriting has improved in different ways, Keidis is still an interesting frontman in different ways, and the instrumentals are better than ever.

But yeah, your review deserves a neg. Its horribly written, completely devoid of any point or purpose.

January 30th 2008


Album Rating: 3.5

You shouldn't rate an album on the 5 star scale by comparing it to the band's other albums but to all music in general. Their having other better albums shouldn't hurt the rating of this album. I myself find this album quite enjoyable and the fact that they at least play their instruments decently should make it average.This Message Edited On 01.30.08

January 30th 2008


Album Rating: 3.0

This review, much like the album, fails.

A TBT is a terrible option for any album you give a "1", especially when it's as long as album as this.

Also, if your a RHCP fan, there is no way this is actually a 1. Few albums deserve a rating that low, and I doubt that you couldn't find a single thing good about this album. Frusciante's guitarwork is what pushed it up to a 3 for me.This Message Edited On 01.30.08

January 30th 2008


But yeah, your review deserves a neg. Its horribly written, completely devoid of any point or purpose.


January 30th 2008


agree. this album sucks.

good review although i didnt read it all, coz its a little long and my eyes started bleeding

January 30th 2008


This is album is boring, but a 1? Really?
Review kinda sucks. You just described all the tracks as boring, or too long, or "elevator rock".

January 30th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

"By The Way was an atrocity...." You suck.

January 30th 2008


Album Rating: 2.0

Ok album.

January 30th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

you actual do an ok job describing the songs even if u do it in a negative way. the stupid thing is you could do that with any music. This album isn't nearly as bad as you make it seem. Its a fine album. I'm sorry it doesn't sound like their previous albums. Practicaly none of their albums sound the same

January 30th 2008


Album Rating: 1.0

I agree that californication was the turning point in this band's career. they've been on a downward spiral ever since. i used to like their newer stuff when i was younger but then i realized it's just mainstream bullshit. the catchy songs get old. this album totally blows though.

about your review, it was good for a while but then i think you just wanted to get it over with. i think you would of been better off just reviewing the album as a whole.

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