Red Hot Chili Peppers
Stadium Arcadium A-
RICK RUBIN AND THE CHILIS TEAM UP FOR 25 HOT NEW SONGS.
DATE MAY 9
LABEL WARNER BROS.
More than 22 years into their career, it sounds like Red Hot Chili Peppers are just getting started. Their ninth album, Stadium Arcadium, is a double disc that ranges from quirky pop to undulating white boy funk, with dizzying stopovers in the lands of hard rock, classic rock, psychedelia and electric blues. With the help of producer extraordinaire Rick Rubin, the Chili Peppers have created a rare thing-25 killer songs that are inventive without being self-indulgent.
The Chili Peppers’ not-so-secret weapon is prolific guitarist John Frusciante, who wrote and released five solo albums in 2004 before diving into Arcadium. A former junkie, Frusciante is now obsessively hooked on his art, expressing a spectrum of moods and emotions with every track.
“Dani California” starts as a whimsical pop number reminiscent of Blur’s “Country House,” then blasts into a raucous refrain that swoops and buzzes like a swarm of locusts.
“Turn It Again” builds with slinky funk lines that could have come from a 1970s porno before igniting in a riff as familiar as the Stones’ “Sympathy For The Devil.” “Hey” is a slow burn lit by sedated vocals, a shuffling beat and lead guitar worthy of Eric Clapton, and “Slow Cheetah” is folksy and organic, with harmonies redolent of Crosby, Stills and Nash.
Most of Stadium is about ladies won and lost, but singer Anthony Kiedis sounds neither cocky nor despondent. Though some of his lyrics are deep as a puddle, they’re playfully entertaining: “The cave within your mountainside is deeper than it will be wide” (“C’mon Girl”), “Down in the south seas, give me your mouth please” (“She Looks To Me”). The Chili Peppers have always been carefree, sexy and easy to understand. They still are, but underneath the radio-ready hits are hidden textures, experimental sounds and abrupt rhythmic shifts that take the band to a new musical level. To quote Kiedis in “Hard To Concentrate,” the album’s final track: “Finally you have found something perfect/ Finally you have found yourself.”
RICK RUBIN’S GREATEST HITS
Our five favorite albums from music’s most sought-after mastermind.
Slayer: Reign In Blood
Beaste Boys : Licensed to Ill
Johnny Cash: Unchained
System Of A Down: Toxicity
Red Hot Chili Peppers Blood Sugar Sex Magik
Kudos to Rubin for harnessing the band’s raging libidos and turning them from punk-funk troubadours into sexy hit makers. For “Give It Away,” Rubin pushes the Chilis into a rock testosterone pool, while “Under The Bridge” sees the band create one of the best ballads of the 1990s.
“The Power Of Equality”
“Under The Bridge”