Stadium Arcadium review by Red Hot Chili Peppers

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  • Released: May 9, 2006
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.3 (2,359 votes)
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Stadium Arcadium

Sound — 9
This album is different to their previous records in many ways. This album has songs that could be classed into so many genres, such as rock, funk and even jazz and chillout. The album consists of 2 discs; 1 called 'Jupiter' and the other called 'Mars'. Here's a review of each track individually. Jupiter 01. Dani California - this is probably the 'heaviest' song on the album and probably one of the best. Anthony goes on singing about girls (Dani California mainly) and states in USA. The chorus consists of only 4 simple power-chords and sounds quite like a typical rock-anthem, but sounds like nothing they've done in a while. The middle section is the only bit that has John Frusciante's wonderful backing vocals in, although, they are not very effective because Anthony is singing the exact same thing as John. At the end there is a great solo from John, backed up only by Flea's powerful bass, but needless to say, it doesn't sound empty. 02. Snow ((Hey Oh)) - the song starts off with John playing what sounds pretty simple, but extremely hard to play broken chords and then the drums and bass come in and start playing and after that Anthony's vocals come in. It is a simple, but great song except for the parts where the chord progression is different and the end part, where the vocals are not as good as they could have been and the guitars at the end are less than interesting. Anyway, apart from that it is a pretty good song. 03. Charlie - this is one of my favourites on this album. The bass is great and the vocals are some of the best on the album and the guitars are amazing especially in the solos and also it has a great chorus that's easy to sing along to. Also the backing vocals go very well with the lead vocals. And once again there is an amazing solo with no chords to back it up and still it sounds great. My favourite part is probably the riff that comes in towards the end of the song. Simple but great. 04. Stadium Arcadium - the title track of this album. Unfortunately it does not sound like an amazing title you would expect. However it's a pretty good song and has got some guitars in parts and sometimes you find some good vocals in it. The best part of this song is the middle where the bass and drums play some really good music. Also there is quite a good guitar solo in it. 05. Hump De Bump - the guitar and bass in the verse in this song sound a lot like what is in the verse of 'Around the World' (on the 'Californication' album). The vocals are very good on this record and the use of additional percussion in the song is great. They have also made good use of trumpets in this as well. This would be classed as funk genre-wise. 06. She's Only 18: This is a great song. It has great guitars, drums and bass in the verse and classic vocals. I recognise the chorus from some other song, but I'm not quite sure what it is, but it was very familiar. The chorus however, is very powerful and strong. I like the solo a lot, and it blends in well with the chorus. 7. Slow Cheetah - the acoustic guitar in this is very good and sounds a bit like 'Road Trippin' from 'Californication' in a major key. It has a good strong chorus with good backing vocals. This is a very good song. I like the middle section a lot with the quiet vocals and guitar. The electric guitar comes in towards the end and compliments the chorus very well. 08. Torture Me - finally you hear a decent bass part in this album, which there has been a lack of good bass in this album so far. After that, it explodes into a huge-rocking chord progression, and strong vocals going into the chorus. After the chorus, horns come in for a bit, adding to the explosiveness of the song. After another verse, a guitar solo is played and then another chorus, which eventually slows down to end the song. 09. Strip My Mind - first the song starts out with simple single strums of chords, and then strange vocals come in (at first I thought it was Dan Adriano from Alkaline Trio, but then I thought otherwise). After that, strong vocals that have appeared on the album quite a lot start in the verse. After that a great gentle chorus appears. On this song, there is very good use of guitars and effects on it. Eventually when the solo arrives, it's one of the best on the album. 10. Especially In Michigan - this is a great song, with a good guitar part in the intro and the verse. Once again, Anthony Kiedis' vocals are great and there are good backing vocals. This time I think it's Anthony singing them. I really like the guitar solo in this one. It really shows off John's guitar skills. The guitars are especially good in the outro as well. 11. Warlocks - this song also sounds a bit like 'Around the World' on 'Californication'. This song has a pretty good bass part on it as well. Needless to say, the vocals are perfect. However, as the album moves on, there are less appearances of backing vocals in the songs. This song is a perfect example of how Flea and John can synchronise their guitars to sound amazing. The solo in this song starts out strong and then kind of disappoints a bit. 12. C'mon Girl - this song has a great bass line in it and it sounds a lot like the bass line in 'Right On Time' on 'Californication'. The guitars and drums in it go extremely well together and the lyrics are perfect. The heavier chorus goes very well with the rest of the song. 13. Wet Sand - the guitar sounds pretty good at the start of the song. The chorus is pretty good as well. It's a pretty average song until the phenomenal ending. The extra guitar or something similar part is great and the solo, although not a great one makes it even better. 14. Hey - this is a smooth, jazzy song with jazzy bass, guitars, drums and vocals in it. It's a great end to the first disc. This is probably the type of song that the Chilis have never done before, however there was a song on 'Californication' called 'Porcelain' that had a jazzy sound to it, but it kind of sounded like 'If' on the second disc of this album. Mars 01. Desecration Smile - this song is a brilliant start to the second disc. This is quite different to the rest of the album. The acoustic guitar sounds brilliant in the intro, verse and chorus. The electric guitar that comes in the verse sounds phenomenal and adds a great feeling to that verse. Although the solo isn't great, it does go well with the acoustic guitar chords and the effect of the note rising higher and higher at the end of the solo is great. This is probably one of the best songs on the album. 02. Tell Me Baby - The extremely soft, quiet start gives you the idea that is going to stay that way, until that thumping bass line comes in and the great guitar line comes in. It stays that way until the chorus where the sound of the intro comes back except louder. The bass and drums make that extremely simple guitar part sound a lot more complicated that it really is. If you listen to the guitar riff in the verse, you can hear there are about 4 different effects being used throughout the song. The guitar solo sounds a lot better than the previous solos in the album, purely because of the effects. This and 'Desecration Smile' sound like the only possible singles on the album. This one did become a single. 03. Hard To Concentrate - the start of this song sounds a bit like an African song because of the sound of the bass and the rhythm of the drums. This isn't a great a song, in fact it's pretty boring. It stays that way for pretty much the rest of the song. However, the guitar part is pretty good, but it doesn't make much difference until the end of the song. 04. 21st Century - this song demonstrates how good the band really sound together. The song has a great verse and chorus and shows they haven't lost their funky sound of the past. Particularly Flea and Chad who still create the irresistible rhythmic sound that they rarely fail to deliver. Finally, John comes up with a great solo that again sounds great with everything else and is more complicated that the previous solos on the album. 05. She Looks To Me - yet another great song, this one reminds me of something of 'By The Way' because of the chords. The change of key between the chorus and the verse is very good and the change of key at the end of the song is even better. There's lots of John' signature fills in this number which doesn't make it any worse. 06. Readymade - this is one of the highlights of Mars I think. it's got a great rocking riff and a good chorus. The Chili Peppers don't do more mainstream rock'n'roll type of songs that often, but this is a really good one. It sounds a bit like a slowed down version of a song on their 'Mother's Milk' album that has a similar sound. Then we come onto the solo. This is pretty breathtaking, because John doesn't usually feel the need to break out into a really fast blistering solo, but here he does is perfectly. Brilliant song overall. 07. If - a very slow song, a bit like 'Hard to Concentrate'. There's a weird drone that starts at the start of the song. Not sure what it's played on, sounds like bagpipes to me! it's quite boring, with hardly any drums, just a note played every 2 beats or bar or something on guitar, but a quite good bass part that quite hard to hear. So not the most impressive song on the record. 08. Make You Feel Better - once again a great song. Quite different to their past material. It has a good drum rhythm in the verse and pretty good clean guitar tone, that I haven't heard John use that much before. Anthony's vocals in the verse and especially in the 3rd verse where there is a second vocal part is dubbed over the first. At the end, there is another simple solo, but it doesn't make the song any better or worse. 09. Animal Bar - this one is another quite different, with a good beat to it, and quite an interest bass line and a good chorus. The highlight of this song is probably the bridge which is quite different to the rest of the song and also has a good bass part. There is a lot of interesting effects on the guitars and backing vocals as well. At the end John finally puts some of his magic into the song with quite a nice solo to finish it off. 10. So Much I - I love this song, it really shows off that they've still got that crazy element to their music, with a great bass intro then John comes in with only one note and sets fire to the song. The song calms down for the pre-chorus and then fires back up for the chorus with just some simple power chords that sound just great. The song then repeats itself again with a simple solo that sounds great, but if you listen carefully you can hear the chords in the solo are a little out of time. Great song anyway. 11. Storm In A Teacup - the Chilis carry on with their 'crazy' theme with this song with a good guitar riff and somebody going mad in the background. Anthony refuses to keep his vocals normal in this song and it's great. The chorus is hard and simple which suits the song very well. Flea isn't taking a break from his awesome bass playing in this either, he just wont stop bringing those great bass lines. It finishes like many other songs on the album with a solo. 12. We Believe - this is a less energetic song, but it is one of my favourites. It wont suit every Chili Pepper fan's taste, but it's great. I haven't mentioned Chad's drumming in this review much, but I think I should now. He provides a weird and wonderful rhythm in this one and it sounds great. He hasn't done much drumming like this before. Also adding to the strangeness of the song, in the choruses towards the end of the song, it sounds like there are aliens singing in the background, which sounds great and then finally John adds some of his magic with a few notes which makes it even better. 13. Turn It Again - the Chili Peppers return to their funky form in this song with a good riff complemented with a good bass line as well. The chorus features no guitar chords, but another riff which sounds great. The bridge sees the return of horns to the album from the start of the album. In the last verse, Anthony has dubbed another vocal track, sung the same, but an octave lower. It sound brilliant when he does this, he should do it a lot more. The song ends with a 2-minute long that is just the chorus riff with different harmonies added. Then a minute into the solo it breaks away from the riff and John does a Readymade solo-like solo and then returns to what he was doing first for the final quarter of the solo. 14. Death Of A Martian - this is the final track on the album, and the only song that I think would a better final track would be 'Turn It Again'. In an interview with Flea and Anthony, they said this song is about Flea's giant dog, named 'Martian' who sadly died. The guitar part in the verse is quite different to anything else on the album and the almost syncopated bass line is great. The chorus isn't bad either. At the end, Anthony is reciting a poem, which ends the record amazingly and when he ends it with the word 'away' it almost suggests that he is saying 'we will be back', and not because of the lyrics in a strange way.

Lyrics — 7
The lyrics are definitely up to scratch on this album, but I think the lyrics on their previous album 'By The Way' where better than this. I can't quite figure out what the lyrics are about on most of the songs. Overall they are decent lyrics, but they could be a bit better.

Overall Impression — 9
This album is definitely worth buying for any existing Chili Peppers fan or new Chili Peppers fan. You may not like it at first, but it definitely grows on you (I think it's the sam for most RHCP albums). There is a batch of songs on here that are all different from everything else and then there are a batch of songs that all soung very similar. I would give it a 10 if not all of the songs had really simple solos all at the end, but nevertheless it's a great album.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    kurdt82 wrote: sk8terdude9390 wrote: Simply put, some of AK's worst lyrics ever. if anthony kiedis had lyrics that made sense, then it just wouldn't be red hot chili peppers anymore. i love that he is random as hell. if you would actually look into the lyrics you would find they arnt random at all. in fact all of his lyrics are as meaningful as hell and i believe he is one of the most in touch poets of the present day.
    Yer he has some random moments otherwise hes just GREATT ! & yer the randomness does make the chilis who they r
    This album is boring, a disapointment, nothing like the rest, I listened to it a couple times and haven't picked it up since.
    I am so friggin sick of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. A guy I know played this album over and over and over and over and over an I got sick of it. ...