The Michigan Daily - Monday, May 22, 2006 -11
Chili Peppers' newest disc: mild
By Abby Frackman
Daily Arts Writer
On the front of the latest shrink-
wrapped release from the Red Hot
Chili Peppers is a sticker proclaiming
Stadium Arcadium the "#1 must-have
album for 2006" (Q Magazine).
It's been four years since the Cali-
fornia-based rock band has released a
studio album, tiding fans over with live
albums and remas-
tered versions of Red Hot Chili
earlier releases. Peppers
In the meantime, Stadium Arcadium
the Chili Peppers
amassed enough Watter Bros.
material to produce
this two-disc set, a collection of messy
instrumentation and static vocals.
Nothing about the album is spectacu-
lar - many of the songs sound the
same, and by the end of the second
disc, Anthony Kiedis's voice is enough
to make the listener feel queasy. Kind
of like realizing you ate one too many
chocolate truffles after the whole box
has been devoured.
When the Foo Fighters released their
two-disc set In Your Honor in 2005,
they had a theme running through each
disc - one was harder, faster and loud-
er, the other was slower and more ballad
heavy. The separation
more manageable and
were able to pop in w
ter fit their mood. St
makes no use of this t
placing a bipolar mix
disc. On the first, ce
teners groove along t
Cheetah" - one'
of the better songs
on the release, even
though parts of it
sound too akin to
- before they are
catapulted into the
"Torture Me." Lyr-
ics like "Torture
me and torture me
/ It's forcin' me so tort
nile and hopelessly ba
Also on the first d
which opens with so
Brown-esque funk c
quickly changes for t
song morphs into ann
repeated words. With1
lie's makin' me smile
wanted to / Was pick i
you," the song is ant
an all-male band sing
a boy - Franz Ferdin
"Michael" and The K
made the release "Andy" on "Andy, You're a Star."
practical, as fans "Hump de Bump" is another medio-
hichever disc bet- cre song on the first disc. It seems as if
adium Arcadium the Chili Peppers pulled a page out of
echnique, instead the Black Eyed Peas' song-title choices,
of songs on each added some nonsense lyrics and spas-
alled Jupiter, lis- tic percussion and slapped the song on
o the chill "Slow the disc. The trumpet and drums are
stimulating, but they
By the end of are not enough to save
the second disc, The second disc,
Mars, isn't any better.
Anthony Kiedis's "Make YouFeelBetter"
does nothing of the sort.
voice is enough to Its upbeat melody and
make the listener steady drumbeat allow
it to stand out. By the
feel queasy. time the listener stum-
eel bles upon this song, he
is likely to approach it
ure me" are juve- with passivity and ambivalence.
nal. "Storm in a Teacup" is a barrage of
lisc is "Charlie," noise and shouts, bound to leave those
me sweet James who make it all the way through with a
hords. The tone splitting headache. "Turn it Again" is
the worse as the six minutes of tedium: The lyrics are
oying choruses of hard to decipher, and the layered instru-
lyrics like "Char- ments are lost on each other. There's
"and "All I ever simply too much stuff going on. The
t up and run with last two minutes are pretty much a gui-
other instance of tar solo - something that would have
ing a song about been welcome had it not come so soon
nand longed after after the "Storm in a Teacup" assault.
illers dreamed of It's no wonder "Dani California" and
Shirts vs. skins: Who's done more cocaine?
"Tell Me Baby" are the first singles on
Stadium Arcadium. They are the lone
standouts and help redeem the album,
if only slightly. The former boasts a
compelling, sing-along chorus, and the
continuously changing texture of the
vocals makes for a winner. It also has
a killer music video. "Tell Me Baby"
is a toe-tapping, head-bopping delight,
and Kiedis busts rhymes that would
Stadium Arcadium is nothing to
write home about. Would the Chili
Peppers have been better off with a
standard one-disc album? Hard to
say, but one thing is for sure: It's a
good thing they didn't opt for the
New LP too 'Loud'
for a Sunday stroll
By Jerry Gordinier
Daily Arts Writer
Taking Back Sunday, the prototypical,
slit-the-wrists, screaming, emotional bal-
ladeers popular with that guy who steals
car hood ornaments for belt buckles, has
given the world more reasons to stalk and
Louder Now, TBS
prove once again Taking Back
that energetic, over- Sunday
electric-guitar lines louder Now
cannot make up for Wamer Bros.
insipid lyrics and forced emotion.
Liner notes inform the attent listener
that the tone-deaf "vocals" come from
Adam Lazzara and Fred Mascherino.
On a casual play of "What's It Feel Like
To Be A Ghost?" or "Liar (It Takes One
To Know One)," it becomes clear that
the whining, crying, needlessly relayered
sound actually comes from hell. It's safe
to say that every song in which a member
of TBS sings would be better without the
vocals, evidenced in the blatant attempts
to cover every word in heavy distortion.
Perhaps these efforts are also meant
to cover some of the disturbing mean-
ings latent in the songs. The ever-popu-
lar stalker/murder theme is omnipresent,
as TBS belts out on "I'll Let You Live"
against chopped electric-guitar, "Don't
test me / There's no stopping this / I'm
gutting you out." A song too depressed
for spacing, "MakeDamnSure," comes
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at the listener a little more literally,
repeating a chorus of "You won't ever get
too far from me." This song also fulfills
the remedial poetry-class requirement,
reminding the listener that red means
violence: "Scissor shaped across the bed
/ you are red ... (violent red)."
If energy is the standard that the
typical screamo band should be held
accountable to, TBS cannot be com-
pletely discounted. "Spin" opens with
controlled drum taps and piercing feed-
back only to explode into intensely lay-
ered electric guitar speed-archipegiation
and raucous percussion white noise.
"My Blue Heaven" opens with breath-
ing harmonics and subdued harmonized
vocals. "Divine Intervention" employs a
silly little xylophone and synthetic whale
sounds. These songs pack something
extra in their knapsacks, only to be split
down the middle by TBS's cry vocals.
Louder Now is loud for a good reason:
No one wants to listen that closely. Any-
one with a smile or desire for intellectual
movement will want to turn this down.
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