So, in the wee hours of Sunday morning, I saw that Mates put up an article in appreciation of the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s, “Stadium Arcadium,” album.
Clicking into the article, I was super excited to see his picks, because I love that album dearly.
When I actually saw his choices for the Top 5 songs though?
First off, families stick together, and I’m gonna have to agree with my brother Jack, in his assessment of, “Slow Cheetah”…
And… “Storm in a Teacup?”
I refuse to believe that Mates is out here intentionally co-signing weak sauce, so I think we need to have an intervention here.
Mind you, there’s hope for him, because my list is going to include, “Turn it Again,” too, but at the same time, we need to address his error in judgment ASAP and present our readers with the ACTUAL Top 5 songs from the album.
5. Animal Bar
So, the best thing about this album is that it’s JOHN FRUSCIANTE’S album.
Almost every song on this double LP has at least one guitar solo that SCREAMS something painterly, alternating equally (and effortlessly) between sorrow and joy, while also, perhaps, not-so-low-key whispering, “I do this for the BOW-LEGGED women.”
That last bit might be up for debate, but irregardless, John Frusciante closes this song out with his best Robert Fripp in ’75 homage, and it’s magnificent.
4. 21st Century
I feel like it’s safe to say that Flea got all of his hottest bass licks as a result of THOROUGHLY wearing out the grooves on his copy Stanley Clarke’s, “School Days,” but here, he’s coming with some work that even the Supreme Maestro of Slap might envy.
To boot, Mr. Frusciante TRIPLE TRACKS his guitar leads at the end of the song, and really, nobody does it better.
I MAY or may not have knicked his idea here for my lone guitar solo on the forthcoming Ligier Contach album— hard to say.
3. Turn it Again
This song is fully outrageous most of the way through, but special attention must once again be paid to Mr. Frusciante’s guitar playing.
Apparently, while recording this album, he was particularly interested in off-rhythm guitar soloing, a la Jimi Hendrix in his more impassioned moments, and he showcases that style of playing here with ample aplomb.
It works brilliantly, because Chad Smith and Flea have it LOCKED down behind him, allowing him the space to wrestle an especially raunchy string of notes from his Stratocaster for the better part of a minute. Listen closely for the Octavia action that comes in and out of focus too, shooting his already stratospheric notes choices even higher, putting them in a register not dissimilar to the mini-Moog.
On one hand, it’s sad, because I don’t know if the Chili Peppers will ever make a song again that’s just this FUN.
You must groove to this.
There are no other options.
The power of Chad Smith’s beat displacement just behind the 4 in the verse, WILL MAKE YOUR SHOULDERS LEAN.
Very rarely do I sit down, and try to crib other guitar players licks, but I’ve studied what John Frusciante is doing here, because it’s just so good.
His opening solos are but a few notes, yet he gets EVERYTHING out of them.
You can whistle them, you can sing along to them, and there’s such joy in that.
All around, this is just a magnificent piece of music, but not as good as…
1. Wet Sand
Look, do people actually think, “Under the Bridge,” is the best Chili Peppers song, now that this is out there in the world?
As far as the ballad thing goes, they’ll never beat this.
It’s… It’s just perfect.
Sometimes, I’ll improvise a solo over songs that I like, and record my best take for posterity. I think there are THREE songs outside of, “Wet Sand,” where I’ve taken a crack at the same song twice.
When I go there, it’s out of love, and I love this song so very much.
So, that’s the list!
Am I wrong?
Is Mates gonna be alright now!?
Sound off in the comments below.