May 25, 2006

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Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stadium Arcadium
Warner Bros. 2006

On the double-disc set Stadium Arcadium, the Chilis do what the Foo Fighters did last year: a side of the more usual fare you would expect (“Jupiter”), and a side of stripped-down cuts (“Mars”). As on the Foo’s release, the second disc is much more interesting. These guys haven’t had to prove they can play to anyone for years and their last several studio efforts are evidence they really didn’t try to. On Stadium, they stretch out some. Sure, there’s some big guitar riffing in “Dani California” (what is it with Cali having to be mentioned in nearly every song with this band?) and Flea’s funk-bass is always perfect but these guys are every bit as good when they go low-key, as on the cuts “Desecration Smile” and “If.” Anthony Kiedis’s voice sounds better than ever on these songs, and the harmonies are gorgeous. Still, with more than two hours of music, there’s plenty of filler here. Producer-God Rick Rubin has done his usual ultra-loud, ultra-processed sound job, and that can get grating after all that time. It’s best to pick and choose your snacks on this opus. Program the CD player or just load your favorites. C

— Rick Ganley


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