Release Date: May 9, 2006
Record label: Warner Bros.
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative
Rubin may be able to create the right atmosphere for Flea and John Frusciante to run wild creatively -- an opportunity that they seize here, which is indeed a pleasure to hear -- but he does nothing to encourage them to brighten the finished recording up with some different textures, or even a greater variety of guitar tones. As such, the bare-bone production combined with the relentless march of songs gives Stadium Arcadium the undeniable feel of wading through the demos for a promising project instead of a sprawling statement of purpose; there's not enough purpose here for it to be a statement. That fault is down to the band not forming the raw material into something palatable for the listener, but there's also the problem that as a lyricist Anthony Kiedis just isn't that deep or clever enough to provide cohesive themes for an album of this length; he tackles no new themes here, nor does he provide new insight to familiar topics.
Two years ago, when asked about current music, Nick Cave focused his ire on one band in particular. "I'm forever near a stereo saying, 'What the fuck is this GARBAGE?'" he fumed. "And the answer is always the Red Hot Chili Peppers." Cave's puzzlement is understandable. How did a band with such a motley past and so few undeniably classic songs become, in terms of stature and longevity, America's answer to U2? The true measure of their success is not the three sold-out Hyde Park dates in summer 2004 - the highest grossing single-venue rock event ever - nor the 25m sales of their last two records, but the fact that a two-hour album with a title that would embarrass a sci-fi novel has inspired not a single titter.