Death of a Martian — 6 years ago
Red Hot Chilli Peppers-Stadium Arcadium
“If you don’t like this record, you don’t like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Period.”
Okay, lets get this out in the open right here and now. This album is two discs, two shiny compacts discs, zwei,två, dos disks. Oh sod it! Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a double album. There I’ve said it! They’ve even named each disk, Jupiter and Mars ,god forbid. If your already running for the hills thinking that the Chilli Peppers have dropped a double disk epic space funk opera on us then settle back down, the space theme starts and ends with the titles of each disk. As for the whole double album issue, are you really going to write off a whole album solely on the basis that it spans two discs? Are you going moan at a band for giving you 28 songs?Even if you buy into the idea that only half of them are any cop, that still gives you 14 decent Red Hot Chilli b-sides doesn’t it? Well worth your hard earned 13 quid!
Not matter if you’re a hardcore Red Hot Chilli Peppers fan or a recent convert with “By the Way” there’s something here for everybody. The fantastic first single ‘Dani California’ where John Frusciante’s guitar just sings in the solo or the enchanting and beautifully melodic “Slow Cheetah”, with Kedis singing “Slow cheetah comin’ for my forest/Looks like its on today/Slow cheetah comin’ so euphoric/No matter what they say”. It’s just one of the more laid back tracks like the albums namesake, the delicate and deeply epic sounding “stadium arcadium” just before the mars disc kicks back into full on funk with the cheeky and instantly likeable “hump de bump”. Sounding like the twin brother of “Subway to Venus” from Mothers Milk, with it’s playful and silly lyrics “Hump de bump,Do body,Bump bump” before Kedis declares “It must have been a hundred miles/Or any of a hundred styles/Its not about the smile you wear but/The way we make out” and “Warlocks” sounding like it’s just stepped straight onto “Jupiter” from “blood sugar sex magic”. Anyone who thinks the chillis are loosing their funky edge should be pointed in the direction of these songs which shows Kedis and company ditching the new found maturity they found on “By the Way” and kicking back with some old style funk and very single song bursting with the best lyrics Kedis has knocked out since “Californication”.
It’s not perfect. The second disk looses momentum in the middle, and at first glance the whole album looks like a huge sprawling mess, but what a beautiful enthralling and ambitious mess it is! You have to respect the chillis for throwing out such an odd and confusing gem of an album as this one, in an age of slick and sales driven albums full of 13 clone-a-like singles just begging to be made into ringtones. For making the album that they wanted to hear and having some god damn fun! Yet, there’s more cohesion on “Stadium Arcadium” then last years Foo Fighters double album effort “In your honour” which saw the band splitting there songs onto two discs. One with the heavy and one not so heavy which gave the album a split personality and robbed it of the heavy and soft dynamic flow that makes The Foo’s other albums such a joy to listen too. As if the band were trying to pull themselves in two different directions, or needed an outlet for Dave’s acoustic output giving them an album which could have benefited from the Chilli peppers seemingly slap hazard jumbled up approach to their double disker.
Despite their commercial success it seems they’ve made another “marmite” album that fans will either love or hate, possibly dividing opinion as much as 1995’s quirky and mostly unloved “One Hot Minute”.