Can't Stop (Red Hot Chili Peppers song)

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"Can't Stop"
Single by Red Hot Chili Peppers
from the album By the Way
Released January 24, 2003
Format CD single
Recorded 2002
Genre Funk rock, rap rock, alternative rock
Length 4:29
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Flea, Frusciante, Kiedis, Smith
Producer(s) 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)
Music sample
Music video
"Can't Stop" on YouTube

"Can't Stop" is a song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers from their 2002 album, By the Way. It is the third single released from the album.

"Can't Stop" is one of the few tracks on By the Way to revisit the original Chili Peppers method of short, rapped verses, containing less 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 on Billboard Modern Rock Tracks, where it spent three weeks topping the chart, and peaked at #57 on the Billboard Hot 100.[1] The song performed moderately well on various other charts worldwide,[2][3] as well as Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock charts, respectively.[1][4] 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.

Music video[edit]

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 since it blended well with the color scheme used in the video; he also noted that he was never actually playing the guitar.[5]

Inspiration for the video was attributed to Austrian artist Erwin Wurm.[6] The lighting was positioned in order to provide a clean-cut, contemporary atmosphere which would integrate with the video's concept.[6] 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[edit]

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 sparsely in a reggae style, only strumming on the up-beat. Following the bridge, Frusciante utilizes a fuzz (Big Muff Pi by Electro Harmonix) in his solo. He also makes extensive use of a tone-bend.[7]

"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.[8] Kiedis writes in his typical circumlocutory style, which some find excessively cryptic. Nonetheless, the predominant theme of cultivating an inner, personal energy (evidenced in the title and the final line: "This life is more than just a read-through.") can be understood in almost every line. The verses are addressed to the listener (or perhaps to himself), in an instructional tone, with references to Kiedis's own life, as well as citing the inspiration of Defunkt and Julia Butterfly Hill. The bridge marks a slight departure, as Kiedis suggests he had temporarily forgotten this philosophy, and looks to a new girlfriend to help himself back on his feet.

Reception and chart performance[edit]

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".[9][10] "Can't Stop" was considered to be "energetic" and melodically encompassing, by combining textured, melodic, and funky themes together into one.

The song was the Chili Peppers' seventh number one on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, and second from the album By the Way. It also peaked at number 57 on the Billboard Hot 100.[1][2] Even while "The Zephyr Song" impacted a wider selection of musical charts charting higher on most charts than "Can't Stop",[1] it was considerably more successful in the three domestic charts it did influence as where the "The Zephyr Song" hit number 6 on the Modern Rock chart compare to its successor's number 1 position and although "The Zephyr Song" charted higher on the Hot 100 chart and the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart where it peaked at number 49 and number 14 respectively compared to "Can't Stop" at number 57 and number 15, "Can't Stop" stayed longer on the 2 charts than its predecessor leading "Can't Stop" to be more successful and more popular than its "The Zephyr Song" by taking a substantial lead over its predecessor. "The Zephyr Song" was more successful on the adult contemporary charts than "Can't Stop" since it failed to enter the Adult Top 40 chart where "The Zephyr Song" peaked at number 16. On the Worldwide Top 40, "Can't Stop" peaked at number 15, and also fared well on the Irish Singles Chart, by peaking at number 36.[2] Regardless of the moderate recognition it received on the Billboard Hot 100, the song is, during live performances, a staple.[11] 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.

Heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko has routinely used the song for his ring entrances. Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, [St. Louis Cardinals] outfielder Peter Bourjos, and Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Bronson Arroyo use "Can't Stop" as their at bat song.

In Media[edit]

The song is used as bumper music for the radio show, "America Now with Andy Dean" from Premiere Radio Networks

Track listing[edit]

CD single 1
  1. "Can't Stop" (John Frusciante single mix) – 4:29
  2. "If You Have to Ask" (live)
  3. "Christchurch Fireworks Music" (live) – 5:42
CD single 2
  1. "Can't Stop" (John Frusciante single mix) – 4:29
  2. "Right on Time" (live)
  3. "Nothing to Lose" (live) – 12:58
CD single 3
  1. "Can't Stop" (John Frusciante single mix) – 4:29
  2. "Christchurch Fireworks Music" (live) – 5:42
7" single (2003)
  1. "Can't Stop" (John Frusciante single mix) – 4:29
  2. "Christchurch Fireworks Music" (live) – 5:43

Charts[edit]