“Stadium Arcadium” might very well be my favorite album of all time, and it’s no surprise that it’s the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ most awarded album in their almost 40 years of existence as a band. Real albums like this are made for the purest of music lovers, and “Stadium Arcadium” is certainly no exception. Released as a double disk album with 14 songs on both the “Jupiter” and “Mars” discs, for a total of 28 songs, “Stadium Arcadium” is a little over two hours worth of pure enjoyment.
The entire album is filled with both simple and complex lyrical brilliance. “Dani California”, the album’s first song, is a ballad of a made-up girl the band has referenced for years. The song is very much a story, as is basically every song on the album. This song in particular is about the dreamers looking to make it in the band’s hometown of Los Angeles. “Who knew the other side of you?/Who knew what others died to prove?/Too true to say goodbye to you.”
Atmosphere-consuming lead vocalist and lyricist Anthony Kiedis has said that the hit single “Snow (Hey Oh)” is a song about starting over and being given a blank slate, like a canvas of snow. Kiedis has also said that many of the albums songs are about the personal lives of band members, such as pregnancy, marriage, love and relationship struggles.
The song “Hard to Concentrate” touches on these themes, as it was written by Kiedis for the bass god and fellow bandmate Flea, as a wedding proposal for him and his new wife. “Do you want me to show up for duty and/Serve this woman and honor her beauty and/Finally you have found something perfect and/Finally you have found/Yourself/ With me, will you, agree, to take/This man, into your world/And now, we are as one.” Obviously the lyrics are beautiful, but the music accompanying it is both soft and soothing, without losing that lively RHCP bounce.
“If” is just another priceless gem in this treasure chest of an album. While it might be the slowest song on the album, it’s lullaby, ambiance-like tone and deeply insightful lyrics tell yet another great love story. “And if I had a clue, I’d know/Exactly what to do/If I were the wiser of the two.”
The whole album is full of songs to dance and groove to, or just relax, depending on your mood. Songs like “Storm in Your Teacup” and “Warlocks” are everything that makes RHCP the arena rock icons they are. The breakdown in “Readymade” is both smooth and wild in flow. The use of horn instruments in songs like “Hump De Bump” and “Torture Me” will make any funk or jazz fan smile.
The whole album is a masterful flow of generous ear candy. It feeds my soul every time, and if I listen to one song from the album, I always end up listening to the whole thing, and I can’t listen to any other music until I do. Every song is perfect, but for the sake of favoritism, I will say that “Wet Sand”, “Hey”, “Slow Cheetah”, “We Believe” and “Turn It Again” are all some of my favorites, to name a few, plus the previously mentioned ones, well, all 28 songs really.
At some point while listening to “Stadium Arcadium” I always end up imagining being front row for a full album show. I gotta say, it would be the best show ever, since it is the most timeless album my ears have ever been pleased by.