Wednesday 31st May 2006
By Philip Ellwood
'Stadium Arcadium' is the Red Hot Chili Pepper's attempt at an epic. Many artists over the years have attempted to display their creative genius with an epic album but few have succeeded. 'Stadium Arcadium' a collection of 28 songs spread over two discs, 'Jupiter' and 'Mars'respectively. The Chili's claim they recorded 30 songs for the album with a view to weeding the weaker tracks out to make a 12 track album but after recording finished they had fallen in love with the collection and decided to whittle it down to 28.
Before listening to 'Stadium Arcadium' the sceptic in me was sure I was about to listen to 2 hours of self-indulgence. I wasn't convinced that any band could carry off a 28 song album without a lapse in quality somewhere along the line. To my surprise 'Stadium Arcadium' works. There isn't a bad song on the album and the quality never falters. The album
opens with current single 'Dani California', which is probably the most familiar sounding Chili's song on the collection. Highlights include the acoustic-driven 'Slow Cheetah', the funky 'Storm In A Teacup' (a song which harks back to the Chili's 'Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik' era) and the title track 'Stadium Arcadium'.
The Chili's sound as good on 'Stadium Arcadium' as they ever have. Lead singer Antony Kiedis effortlessly switches between his signature rap style delivery and singing. His voice gets a full workout over the album's 28 songs. 'Tell Me Baby' is a perfect example of Kiedis' vocal ability. He can sound gentle, forceful and energetic in the same sentence. His voice blends perfectly with the funky bassline and guitar licks.
The only problem with 'Stadium Arcadium' is the length of the album. The album runs for approximately two hours and in a time when most albums struggle to reach the 45 minute mark you have to wonder whether the record will be given the time it deserves.
'Stadium Arcadium' is certain to divide Chili's fans. Hardcore fans will feel like Christmas has come early but the collection may fail to win over a casual listener or new fan. 'Stadium Arcadium' is a brave move for the band and juding by its success around the world it looks as if it's paid off. The album sees the band at a creative high and almost back to the peak achieved early on in their career. For me it's better than previous album 'By The Way' by a long-shot. Whatever your stance on the Chili's approach 'Stadium Arcadium' with fresh ears. You may find you're pleasantly surprised by the expertly crafted collection. There truly is something for everyone amongst the 28 tracks.