Home Music Resequence: Red Hot Chili Peppers: Stadium Arcadium

Resequence: Red Hot Chili Peppers: Stadium Arcadium

The Red Hot Chili Peppers already had at least three essential albums under their belt by 2006: their funk rock opus Blood Sugar Sex Magik, the hit machine Californication, and the chilled out By the Way. The band could have called it quits at that point and been a surefire addition to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Instead, they followed up their streak with the 28-song Stadium Arcadium.

Unsurprisingly, the Chili Peppers’ ninth album came with its own massive hits, including “Dani California” and the epic “Snow (Hey Oh),” and, to the delight of fans, the record was full of quality deep cuts. The problem with Stadium Arcadium is that it’s rife with at least fifteen even deeper cuts, most of which are forgettable or have far better alternatives earlier in the Peppers’ discography. In classic double album fashion, Stadium Arcadium is stylistically all over the place and frustratingly bloated.

Listening through this record from front to back–no easy feat, mind you–makes it clear that there are all the pieces of a great album scattered throughout its monstrous tracklist. At 10 songs in 45 minutes, here is an attempt to extract those pieces and build the essential Red Hot Chili Peppers album that could have been.

New Tracklist:
1. Slow Cheetah
2. Dani California
3. Readymade
4. Tell Me Baby
5. Snow (Hey Oh)
6. If
7. Hard to Concentrate
8. Stadium Arcadium
9. Wet Sand
10. Death of a Martian

1. “Slow Cheetah”

The ideal Stadium Arcadium opens with “Slow Cheetah,” one of the more stripped-down songs in the Peppers’ vast library. The track opens with subdued fingerpicking before blossoming into passionate choruses, the last of which is accompanied by John Frusciante’s masterfully efficient guitar work. In an album–and let’s be honest, a career–of overindulgence, the song is refreshingly minimalistic. The original tracklist opens with the jarring drum beat of “Dani California,” but here “Slow Cheetah” eases us into the world of Stadium Arcadium, closing with a stunningly ethereal outro.

2. “Dani California”

Is “Dani California” the perfect Red Hot Chili Peppers song? With Chad Smith’s heavy, Wu-Tang inspired drum beat, Anthony Kiedis’ irresistibly nonsensical lyrical turns, and a nasty solo from Frusciante, the triumphant return of the Dani California character unquestionably deserves the lead single spot in track two.

3. “Readymade”

Stadium Arcadium has plenty of bangers, but none of them go as hard as “Readymade,” and if Flea’s signature bass is the one thing missing from “Dani California,” it’s a force to be reckoned with here. This is perhaps the only song that could have followed and kept up the energy of “Dani” besides “Snow (Hey Oh),” which is used far more effectively later in this resequenced tracklist.

4. “Tell Me Baby”

This is the resequence’s only foray into the band’s classic funk rock, though the original tracklist is full of it. Every side of the Red Hot Chili Peppers can be found throughout Stadium Arcadium, but the record’s funk rock jams just don’t hold up to their earlier hits. “Tell Me Baby” does it all though, alternating a slick bass groove in the verses with catchy choruses and easily earning a spot in this fired-up A-side.

5. “Snow (Hey Oh)”

“Snow (Hey Oh)” closes the first half of this tracklist with a truly epic finale. Its soft introduction is a deep breath after the previous three bangers, and its build adds an emotion to side A’s energy that makes for a cathartic climax. Frusciante’s iconic guitar line alone makes this track a no-brainer to keep, and it serves best at the core of the record in track five.

6. “If”

The blissful “If” plays the part of interlude and opener to side B here. Not much more than a slide guitar, angelic backing vocals from Frusciante, and some of the sweeter vocals you’ll hear from Kiedis, this is a well needed calm after the snowstorm that preceded.

7. “Hard to Concentrate”

“If” transitions beautifully into the subdued minor key picking of “Hard to Concentrate.” Like an uplifting alter ego of Californication’s “Road Trippin’,” the song dims the lights as the core of the tracklist’s more serious second half comes into focus, and Kiedis sings some of his most heartfelt lyrics: “All I want is for you to be happy and/Take this moment to make you my family.”

8. “Stadium Arcadium”

The title track slowly begins to lift us up from side B’s initially pensive state. The songwriting is captivating, and the instrumentation is immersive with its layered guitars and entrancing electronic production recalling Frusciante’s then recent solo work. It all builds to a huge final chorus that strips away each layer one by one until it’s just Kiedis and Frusciante singing over guitar strumming, a cinematic way to mark the arrival of the album’s climax.

9. “Wet Sand”

Similar in structure to “Snow (Hey Oh),” “Wet Sand” is an even grander culmination of Stadium Arcadium’s styles and emotion. Taking its time with steady first verses and a whistling interlude, the song builds up in tension to a euphoric release in its final minute with harpsichord arpeggios and a finale guitar solo for the ages. A return to the intensity of the resequence’s first half, this is a climax fit for an album’s penultimate tracklist spot.

10. “Death of a Martian”

For all of its inconsistencies, Stadium Arcadium’s original tracklist nails its closer. “Death of a Martian” is weird enough to leave a lasting impression while fitting in wonderfully with the rest of the album’s sound. The minute-and-a-half outro of Kiedis’ poetry reading about the death of Flea’s dog Martian has a finality to it that acts perfectly as the album’s closing track.

Listen to our version of Stadium Arcadium here:

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