"Stadium Arcadium" (Warner Bros; 2006)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

When I went to my local diner and asked for a saucer of Red Hot Chili Peppers, the waiter gave me two plates. This is the first Dual Disc released from Anthony Kiedis and the boys. It has 28 tracks and two hours of music. The discs are labeled like this: Jupiter for Disc One and Mars for Disc Two. The music offered here is in no consistent order but that was the point of these CDs. They want you to make your own play list; you know, mix and match, rip and burn.

I put it on and just and let it go. Some publications praised the creative outlet by each member in the band and that’s why this disc has so many tracks. Some other reviewers called the project loose and discombobulated. This reviewer says that this effort is one of their best. There are a few weird tracks in between solid hits but did you really want normal music from The Peppers? This was originally planned as a trilogy of discs released six months apart. I’m glad they just loaded up both barrels and simply satisfied fans.

The guitar on this disc is incredible. John Frusciante rips solos out of his brain that I’m sure have been clouded by previous efforts. There is a soul element here too; sometimes it’s found in the background vocals, sometimes in the guitar. Then, there’s the funk element as well ... but I think I heard more soul than funk.

If you don’t want to wade through the multiple tracks (your loss) then the best songs are: [Disc 1 – Jupiter] “Dani California,” “Snow ((Hey Oh)),” “Charlie,” “Hump de Bump,” and “She’s Only 18”; [Disc 2 - Mars] “Desecration Smile,” “Tell Me Baby,” “21st Century,” “She Looks To Me,” “Readymade,” “Storm In A Teacup,” and “Death Of A Martian.”

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Anthony, John, Chad and Flea.

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"By the Way" (Warner Bros; 2002)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Talking with fans of the Red Hot Chili Peppers brand of funk-pop I discovered that this CD wasn't one of their faves. Mostly, those I spoke with wanted to throw this back at me like a Ninja star when I told them how much I liked it. The reason it sounded better to me was because of the guitar. The style they had used for such a long time was now more refined. The melodies and harmonies were plentiful and I'll admit that, the first time I heard it, I was taken aback. But, after a few listens, it started to sound so good, even after you peel a few layers back trying to find out what they wanted to achieve.

John Frusciante wrote a majority of the music on this CD. His earlier guitar work is exceptional and he should be proud of this accomplishment, too. If you listen to this CD with an open mind don't let the word "mainstream" sneak in there. The Peppers never tried to substitute their original sound for the one captured here. Kiedes and Frusciante collaborated for days on end together and mastered a sound that proves that talent can be uncovered if the soul is clean as well as the body.

The lyrics still deal with issues of drug use and love and most of the time you wouldn't get the message unless you dealt with it personally. But, since the Peppers slow things down, you get a real feel for their hatred of toxic addiction. Thankfully, their addiction to music and making it. It brings to mind a saying I remember: "When life squeezes you, are you going to crumble, or become a diamond?"

A few songs here do move back to their traditional sound and, when they do, you get a slight reminder of what they sounded like before, and will again. Just give them a little time to reflect. There's a time in music when a pause is needed and this is one of them.

Songs you will like: "By The Way," "This Is The Place," "Dosed," "The Zephyr Song," "Don't Stop," "Midnight."

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Anthony Kiedes - lead vocals; John Frusciante - guitar, backup vocals; Flea - bass, backup vocals; Chad Smith - drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Revised: 03 Jun 2024 13:03:50 -0400.