Sunday, August 14, 2011

Review: Stadium Arcadium by Red Hot Chili Peppers

One of the problems I sometimes have with popular music today is the lack of consideration for the whole album. The digital revolution brings about benefits, but the biggest problem is the emphasis on the single instead of the album, so when the album turns into just a collection of singles, often attention is paid just to three or four "radio-friendly" songs and the rest is practically garbage. The funny thing about double albums is that once one considers making it, one considers the album entirely. The irony sets in when you realize that you've created a larger degree of songs that are really quite well-made, instead of just three or four songs worthy of radio play. That degree seems to expand even more when the case of a double album is considered. I'm not really sure what it is about double albums, but when I listen to one, there are so many more great songs, like one for every two instead of one for every four. Take, for instance, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness by Smashing Pumpkins. That album contains 28 songs and well over half are incredible, where the others, though not as good, are still very enjoyable. Also consider Embryonic by the Flaming Lips. If you can get past the extremely avant-garde noise, you'll find about half the songs are excellent.

 Then, when one considers Stadium Arcadium by Red Hot Chili Peppers, more irony sets in when you realize this album is practically tailor-made for the digital generation. It is a double album, and it is also more a collection of songs that the listener can play in whatever order he or she wants. The two most obvious singles, "Dani California" and "Snow ((Hey Oh))," come at the top of the album, while everything else is sort of randomly ordered afterward. For most of my listening experience I considered what order I would have played the songs. I didn't make a list, but my biggest thoughts were that the list should start with "Dani California" to get the listener's attention, "Warlocks" should be followed by "C'mon Girl" because they are so similar, and the last three tracks should be "If," "Stadium Arcadium," and "Snow ((Hey Oh))" in that order, probably with another slow song leading into them (like "Strip My Mind"), because "Snow ((Hey Oh))" has this quality about it that almost nothing can possibly follow it, so it should be last.

Sadly, this album does drop off a bit in quality compared to other double albums. Fewer songs are really memorable, but good news comes in the fact that the rest are still quite good. It would be hard to go wrong with just about anything on this album, but of course, some songs are better than others. I don't really know how RHCP handles B-sides on their albums, that is, how good they are in comparison to the A-sides, but they pull them along with everything else really well.

In the interest of spotlighting a song that is not already very well known, I'm going to rule out "Dani California" and "Snow ((Hey Oh))" from the favorite song selection. My favorite was definitely the title song, "Stadium Arcadium." There's something haunting about the distant instrumentation, accompanied by enchanting vocals that grow with the song. It even surpasses the singles in many ways and I'm surprised it isn't just as popular as them.

Overall, if you can make it through two hours of one album, I recommend listening to this from start to finish, while thinking about the order you would put the songs. Comment with your orders. As an album, there's a hell of a lot of quality material in this 28-track epic. With a new RHCP album out in days, you can really get ready by picking up an album like this.

 If you want to suggest something for me to review, comment or email me with your suggestion and I will consider it.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

No comments:

Post a Comment