Stadium Arcadium Warner Bros. Music •••• Sound ••••
Topping two hours, this double CD is almost too much of a good thing - especially since the last half of the second disc has a significant dropoff in song quality. That may be part of the point, though. Having not released a new studio set since 2002, the veteran funk-rockers clearly wanted to flex their muscles, and that they certainly do. From the elastic rhythms driven by drummer Chad Smith and bassist Flea ("Hump de Bump," "C'mon Girl") and the notable sonic touches of guitarist John Frusciante (double-tracked solo on "Tell Me Baby," wah-wah effect on "Warlocks") to singer Anthony Kiedis's ability to croon, wail, or rap at the drop of a sock, the Chili Peppers are still, yes, red hot after all these years.