Sound — 5
Dani California was an encouraging first single off of Stadium Arcadium. Catchy, and with the first decent solo Frusciante has thrown out in years, I was very optimistic about getting the album. But when I began to listen to it, I was extremely disappointed. The Chili's new interest in slow songs (since the Dave Navarro era) shows up a lot on this album. Very little funk is to be found, and for people searching for some of the essence of the '80s/'90s Chilis will have to look elsewhere. The most disappointing aspect of this album is the virtual non-existence of Flea as a bass player. Not to put the man down or anything, he is possibly the greatest bass player to ever grace the earth, but there's very little showcasing of his talent here, which in most cases is what made the Chili Peppers who they were years and years ago. Frusciante and Kiedis seem to be running the show these days. No wonder Flea has been wanting to quit since Californication. Frusciante has improved notably, but is still nowhere near the guitarist he could be. There are some great guitar lines and solos in here, but they're just thrown out the window when you hear the riff to "Hump De Bump". Two notes, how imaginative. But for the most part, the guitar is functional, but far from brilliantly genius. Flea's bass playin is very basic, usually just playing the root of the chord. His highlights are limited to "Tell Me Baby." Chad is Mr. Reliable, nothing spectacular, but it fits neatly in.
Lyrics — 4
Kiedis' lyrics are at points appalling, but usually they're quite good. In "Hump De Bump" (hmm there's that song again) the words make little decipherable sense. These ramblings are an attempt at a punky, funky song, but it's embarrassing. However, "Slow Cheetah"offers some reprieve, probably the best lyrical display on the album. Overall, the lyrics are pretty so-so. They have a lot more meaning than they used to (Hard To Concentrate written about Flea proposing to his wife), but they lack creativity.
Overall Impression — 3
This is probably the Chili Peppers weakest offering to date, excluding One Hot Minute. Disc Two of this album is absolute tripe, sounding like a compilation of B-sides. The best songs on the album(overall)are "Snow(Hey Oh)", "She's Only 18", "Charlie", "Slow Cheetah", and "Storm In A Teacup". If this album was ten tracks long, it would have scored much higher. The fact is, it drowns in it's own longevity, and repetitiveness. There's no creative genius here to keep a true Chili Pepper fan happy, but for those who only caught on since By The Way, it's perfect for them. Truly a tragedy that R.H.C.P have declined to this.