Itching to jam for a few minutes, so I’m gonna try something a little unconventional. I want to talk about album that’s been out for over a year and a half: Stadium Arcadium, by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This double album will always be the soundtrack to my life story’s 2006 and 2007 chapters.
People who don’t even have the album have at least heard a handful of the songs on the radio, so Arcadium’s nothing really new to anybody at this point. After all, it won the Grammy for Best Album of 2006. I suppose posting an album review as we live out our final days of 2007 may seem a bit moot.
Stadium Arcadium’s an extraordinary piece of work that, while you may have something to say about it after hearing it for a day or a few weeks, I don’t think you can really get until you listen to it over an extended period of time. You need to live with it. It spans across the whole emotional spectrum; emotions that can only be experienced in real time with the transition of seasons. It’s not until one journeys through the extremities of the seasons that Arcadium really begins to click. And have I ever gone through some seasons this past year and a half.
I could break things down song by song and review elements of production and what not, but those types of reviews were done last year. Let me just say that there’s a sharp juxtaposed quality to Arcadium that cuts you into pieces and puts you back together again. It’s dark and reflective, while being hopeful and ultimately triumphant at the same time.
As for the guys, you know the story. Chad and Flea need no introduction. John’s what I consider the Renaissance artist of our time, one of the best guitar players around, and arguably one of the best songwriters ever. And he’s living in his prime right before our eyes.
Anthony’s writing has blossomed into something spectacular. This ain’t the parodic nineties funk and roll MTV Tarzan schtick anymore; it’s clear that these poems have been written by a soul who’s intimately familiar with the experience of being human, and has effectively put much of it into words as he kicks down the door to middle age:
- “I hope I get what you deserve.”
- “Lost in the valley without my horses.”
- “Finally you have found something perfect; finally you have found yourself. With me.”
That is some damn good writing. And how about “Slow Cheetah” for a title? Tells a complete story in two words. I love metaphorical wordplay, and Kiedis has apparently become a master of the craft.
Stadium Arcadium. One for the ages. Get it if you haven’t yet. It’s about as good as it gets.
“Pushing a broom out into space, and this is where I find a way.”
— Stadium Arcadium