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"Can't Stop"
Single by Red Hot Chili Peppers
from the album By the Way
Released February 17, 2003
Format CD single
Recorded 2002
Genre Funk rock
Length 4:29
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Anthony Kiedis, John Frusciante, Michael "Flea" Balzary, Chad Smith
Producer Rick Rubin
Red Hot Chili Peppers singles chronology
"The Zephyr Song"
(2002)
"Can't Stop"
(2003)
"Dosed"
(2003)
By the Way track listing
"The Zephyr Song"
(6)
"Can't Stop"
(7)
"I Could Die for You"
(8)
Live in Hyde Park track listing
"Intro"
(1)
"Can't Stop"
(2)
"Around the World"
(3)

"Can't Stop" is a song by American funk rock band, Red Hot Chili Peppers from their 2002 album, By the Way. It is the third single from the album. Since its release, the song has rarely been left off of a live set.[1]

It is one of the few tracks on By the Way to revisit the original Chili Peppers method of short, rapped verses, containing fewer amounts of implemented texture. "Can't Stop" is unique, however, as it contains melodic and layered guitar and lyrical progressions, which the band's earlier work did not.

The song was the Chili Peppers' eighth number one Billboard Modern Rock Hit, and peaked at #57 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2] The song influenced various other charts Worldwide,[3][4] as well as Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock charts, respectively.[2][5] It was also the band's only #1 single not to be included on their 2003 Greatest Hits album.

This song is a playable track in the game Guitar Hero On Tour: Decades

Contents

Music video

The Mark Romanek-directed music video for the single features all four of the band members doing seemingly random and excessively abstract actions such as holding lots of water bottles or attempting to balance buckets on their heads. It begins with the camera swooping perilously through a yellow tube to Anthony Kiedis, wearing glasses, and is subsequently followed by the foursome running through a hall with light fixtures attached to their backs. The band engages in various activities, such as wearing a giant purple hippopotamus mask, playing with rubber balls, jumping, abstract scenes with boxes, buckets, water bottles, trash cans, flying through the air, pink foam peanuts, plants, playing guitar in a room full of empty blue chairs/room with lamps turning on and off. At the conclusion, a sign stands alone with white letters that arrange the phrase "Inspired by the 'One-Minute Sculptures' of Erwin Wurm".

At certain segments of the video, one can see guitarist John Frusciante playing an orange Toronado, which is unlike his style due to the fact that he only plays vintage guitars (the Toronado being under five years of age). Frusciante later affirmed that he was instructed to play the guitar by director Mark Romanek as it blended well with the color scheme used in the video, he also admitted that he never actually was playing the guitar.[6]

Inspiration for the video was attributed to Austrian artist Erwin Wurm.[7] The lighting was positioned in order to provide a clean-cut, contemporary atmosphere which would integrate with the video's concept.[7] Orange was chosen to be the backsplash color by Romanek. His creative hand attempted to mirror Wurm's abstract "One Minute Sculptures", by having the band perform random scenes, which seem to fit no purpose. However, in retrospect, they were not intended to be anything more than arbitrary actions, fitting with the ideas expressed in Wurm's work.

Composition and lyrical denotation

The song is instrumentally composed in 4/4 standard time and in the key of E minor and G major. The verse plays twice before the bridge, as well as the chorus. During the bridge, Frusciante plays a sparse reggae feeling progression, only strumming up on the off-strum, instead of the traditional reggae up/down. Following the bridge, Frusciante utilizes an distortion pedal (Boss DS-2) in the Solo. He also makes extensive use of a tone-bend, incorporating a double tone bend in order to achieve a higher bending tone.[8] The song jumps back into the beginning verse, before changing when Frusciante returns with the background vocals. For the final run, he overdubbed his voice three times, each time using a different pitch. His singing ends, followed by the drums dropping out soon after. Playing the main riff three times more, the guitar and bass also stop, leaving only Kiedis. He sings two lines of new verse, and ends the song.

Can't Stop is the only song on By The Way to feature Flea's trademark 'Popping and slapping' style albeit in a much less aggressive manner, allegedly due to Frusciante's discouragement of funk/rhythmic basslines. Flea switches to the more melodic finger-picking style for the chorus.

Lyrically, Can't Stop is a prime example of the band's occasional use of writing lyrics to a rhythm rather than rhythms to established lyrics.[9] There is no consistent or definitive connotation evident in the song, as it more blatantly appears to be an indecisive incorporation of poetic phrases in order to achieve the rapidly sung verses. Themes are, thus, indistinguishable from a possible metaphoric meaning integrated within the track.

Reception and chart performance

By the Way was widely regarded as a departure from much of the band's previous works, crediting its focus on more melodic and textured styles that had yet to be explored. Allmusic said that the album was "Sophisticated...The Peppers have not sacrificed any of their trademark energy or passions for life, universal love, and (of course) lust."[10] Rolling Stone Magazine called the album "insanely melodic" and a "near-perfect balance of gutter grime and high-art aspiration".[11] It even went so far as to compare By the Way to other works, such as The Beach Boys' album Pet Sounds.[11]

The song itself is distinct, especially when in comparison to the various other tracks on "By the Way". Many consider the song to be among the only true punk/funk sounds on the entire album, along with "Throw Away Your Television"[11][12] "Can't Stop" was considered to be "energetic" and melodically encompassing, by combining textured, melodic, and funky themes together into one. [13]

The song was the Chili Peppers' 7th number one Modern Rock Hit, and second from the album By the Way, peaking at number 57 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2][3] Even while The Zephyr Song influenced a wider selection of musical charts[2], "Can't Stop" was considerably more successful in the three domestic charts it did influence, by taking a substantial lead over its predecessor. On the Worldwide Top 40, the song peaked at number 15, and also fared well on the Ireland Top 40, by peaking at number 36.[3] Regardless of the moderate recognition it received on the Billboard Hot 100, the song is, during live performances, a staple.[14] The band has never left the song out of a live set, recently acclimating it into the beginning, often using an intro to segue in.

"Can't Stop" has also been criticized slightly for its similarity to the opening riffs of Jeff Buckley's "Eternal Life."

Track listing

CD single 1

  1. "Can't Stop" – 4:29
  2. "If You Have to Ask" (Live)
  3. "Christchurch Fireworks Music" (Live) – 5:42

CD single 2

  1. "Can't Stop" – 4:29
  2. "Right on Time" (Live)
  3. "Nothing to Lose" (Live) – 12:58

CD single 3

  1. "Can't Stop" – 4:29
  2. "Christchurch Fireworks Music" (Live) – 5:42

7" single (2003)

  1. "Can't Stop" – 4:29
  2. "Christchurch Fireworks Music" (Live) – 5:42

Charts

Chart (2003) Peak
position[3][4]
Billboard Hot 100 57
UK Singles Chart 22
Irish Singles Chart 36
Austrian Singles Chart 65
German Singles Chart 58
Dutch Top 40 23
France singles 68
Dutch Singles Chart 23
Worldwide Singles Top 40 15
Swedish Singles Chart 70

Notes

  1. ^ Red Hot Chili Peppers 2006-7 set lists. [1]
  2. ^ a b c d Allmusic - Red Hot Chili Peppers Singles chart positions. [2]
  3. ^ a b c d "Worldwide Charts for "Can't Stop"". aCharts. http://acharts.us/song/59.  
  4. ^ a b "Worldwide Charts for "Can't Stop"". Music Square. http://www.musicsquare.net/charts/song/59.  
  5. ^ Billboard Red Hot Chili Peppers' Singles Chart Position; Various Charts. [3]
  6. ^ The Making of Can't Stop: The Video - Red Hot Chili Peppers Greatest Hits
  7. ^ a b Red Hot Chili Peppers 'Can't Stop' video; interview with Director of Photography, Jeff Cuttler. [4].
  8. ^ Can't Stop Guitar Commentary; John Frusciante
  9. ^ Spin Magazine Interview. August 13, 2002.
  10. ^ Allmusic; By the Way Review - Zac Johnson.[5]
  11. ^ a b c Rolling Stone Magazine; By the Way Review - Tom Moon. [6]
  12. ^ PopMatters; By the Way Review - Kimberly Mack.[7]
  13. ^ BBC By The Way Review - Daniel Pike.[8]
  14. ^ "Red Hot At The 'Dome". Rob Honzell, Calgary Sun. http://calgarysun.canoe.ca/cgi-bin/publish.cgi?p=155448&x=articles&s=events.  

External links

Preceded by
"No One Knows" by Queens of the Stone Age
Billboard Modern Rock Tracks number-one single
March 8, 2003
Succeeded by
"Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence
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