“And If I saw the sun fall down / I’d pick it up and make a crown / One that was a perfect fit for you,” croons Anthony Kiedis of The Red Hot Chili Peppers in their newest double album. Could this be the same man who once urged young nubile females to “Give it away, give it away, give it away now” while gyrating naked on stage, only covered with a strategically placed tube sock? While the RHCP may be starting to get a bi sweeter as they age, they certainly haven’t lost any of their rocking prowess as they prove in Stadium Arcadium. But can two discs of RHCP really be a good thing?
There’s a number of great tracks scattered about the two discs here. “Snow (Hey Oh)” features a reflective Kiedis and a backing chorus that seems nearly transcendental at times. “Hey” is another song in an ever-increasing library of RHCP songs that creates a “chill with your friends” vibe. And “Readymade” rocks as hard as any song the RHCP ever did, with Flea and John Frusciante both holding their own. At one point Kiedis urges to “Clean it up Johnny!” as an invitation for Frusciante to rock even harder. Yet listening to the album one can’t shake the feeling that they’d been there before. It’s certainly a good album, but two discs worth? With a bit of careful editing and trimming of a few songs the Peppers could have had a stellar and sharp single disc. Two discs full of kick back songs seems bloated and unnecessary, almost as if the RHCP are attempting to stay relevant through the process of overindulgence. They do not need to. With Frusciante’s hot licks and Flea’s bumping baseline, they do not need to expand to great lengths to stay current. However even with the length it’s hard not to find yourself occasionally getting lost in the sweet sentiment of Keidis’ lyrics or the hard-hitting intensity of Chad Smith’s drums. Thus, Stadium Arcadium is an enjoyable album although at times a bit excessive.
[Brad Vargyas is currently taking bets to see how many peppers he can handle at once.]