After over twenty years together, thousands of shows played and hundreds of socks worn over their private parts, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have returned yet again. After some tough times in the ‘80s and mid ‘90s, the Chili Peppers have enjoyed a calm period of outstanding creativity ever since the release of 1999’s Californication. 2006 marks the return of the band with the new double disc Stadium Arcadium after a near four year gap in between albums. While double albums can sometimes turn out to be disastrous for bands, Stadium Arcadium for the most part demonstrates that the Chili Peppers are as vibrant and inspired as ever.

The album is divided between two fourteen track discs, the first one titled Jupiter and the second titled Mars. While both discs contain an assortment of great songs, Jupiter is slightly more entertaining and it flows somewhat better. Jupiter is also a bit funkier and aggressive as evidenced by tracks such as “Charlie,” “Hump De Bump,” “She’s Only 18,” and Stadium Arcadium’s lead single “Dani California.” The disc also contains some excellent melodic material, including the very “Californication” sounding title track, the very original sounding “Slow Cheetah,” and perhaps the best song on the disc “Snow (Hey Oh).” From tracks one through ten, there isn’t really a bad song on Jupiter, but the quality drops off a bit through the last four songs, something to be expected on an album that contains twenty eight songs.

Although disc two, Mars, isn’t quite as good as the first disc, it’s slightly more experimental and still contains a number of awesome and catchy songs. At first, the disc is not as easily accessible as Jupiter and it takes more time to get into, but after a few listens I found myself really enjoying it. The disc starts off with three of Stadium Arcadium’s more soft and beautiful songs, “Desecration Smile,” “Tell Me Baby,” and “Hard to Concentrate,” an odd but effective way of starting the disc. Besides these three songs, Mars also includes some very funky and aggressive songs such as “21st Century,” “Readymade,” and one of the top five tracks on the whole album “Storm in a Teacup.” Like the first disc, Mars is a little too bloated with a few songs that I could have maybe done without which mostly come towards the end.

Overall, Stadium Arcadium is a real triumph for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Before listening to the album, I was a bit worried that it would suffer from a lot of excess and bloat since it contains nearly thirty songs, but for the most part, the band is at the top of its game. Flea’s bass playing is as funky as ever and John Frusciante’s guitar playing is original and outstanding at the same time. The only thing that might make this album better is shaving off two to three songs. Twenty eight songs is a lot even for a double disc and the two discs might flow a little better with one or two less tracks. It’s quite remarkable, but the band seems to only be getting better with age as Stadium Arcadium is all in all an excellent album.  [ END ]

Track Listing:

DISC 1
01. Dani California
02. Snow (Hey Oh)
03. Charlie
04. Stadium Arcadium
05. Hump De Bump
06. She’s Only 18
07. Slow Cheetah
08. Torture Me
09. Strip My Mind
10. Especially In Michigan
11. Warlocks
12. C’mon Girl
13. Wet Sand
14. Hey

Run Time: 1:02:29