John Frusciante
The Empyrean


5.0
classic

Review

by aceramicbunny USER (2 Reviews)
February 2nd, 2009 | 89 replies | 12,005 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist


8 of 9 thought this review was well written

Slowly sinking into a couch on Carroll St., a few minutes after John Frusciantes 10th and very recent album “the Empyrean” had finished, I realized I loved it. I missed it. I longed for its perfectly flawed vocals. I recalled its messy and emotional phrasing. I missed it like a woman. I’ve fallen hard in life, but for what will some will surely call a pretentious and self indulgent spiritual mess? From the sweep echo’d drums and passionate guitar of the opener, “Before the begining,” to the multi phrased epics of “Unreachable” and “Center,” I just want to blast this album out my window so somebody else can revel in my giddy excitement.

For those of us silly teenagers who follow musicians around, “the Empyrean” holds a roster of John Frusciante (of Red Hot Chili Peppers fame) on Lead vocals, guitar and keyboards, Flea (also of the Chili Peppers) on that ballsy bass, Johny Marr (who has played with such greats as the smiths, the talking heads, and currently modest mouse) on guitar and Josh Klinghoffer (who has played with Beck, Gnarls Barkley and other greats) on drums percussion and trippy delayed sounds. Quite the tour-de-force, if I may say myself, these guys can ***ing play. These guys can play and John Frusciante can write and produce some damn good songs.

Let’s take “Unreachable,” the albums third track. With some beautifully realized vocal layers, bass that bounces around inside your ribcage and some truly ingenious transitions between movements, the song is an obvious standout. Shouts of “hey! shoot me!” will surely make your ears perk up and realize that the baby boomers are wrong, and music didn’t die with “The Dead.” That one song is great, but there shocking moments of brilliance all over the place.

The fifth track, "Dark/Light" is somewhat obviously split into two parts, and although the begining is haunting and breathtaking, the second half just destroys. A playful electric techno beat takes the background to a thundering bassline an ethereal chorus and some of the most emotional guitar playing I've ever heard in studio. Usually when one hears a guitar solo on a studio album, it is plainly obvious that it was recorded by a guitar player on a stool with headphones, tapping his foot to a click track and wondering if he got that bend in the third measure perfect a few takes ago. Such is not the case with Frusciantes playing here. I'm sure they had to clear the studio to give him room to run, leap and yell at the top of his lungs to play these solos, because his guitar screams with the energy of a live show.

The bridge of “Central” also comes to mind, a song about living life with fire and intensity, the clever metaphor of playing yourself in a play is realized in a sea of violins with the words;

“I can’t believe I have to say
You gotta feel your lines
You gotta feel your lines”

It is just smooth.

The truth is, no matter what I say, the music will speak for itself. The album has its flaws, it is not perfect, I know this, but I embrace that! I accept and love the fact this music is human, that a man filled with all that life brings and aware of what it has taken made some music. This is how music sounds when it plays inside your head and we have a rare listen inside the head of another.

And what a treat that is.


user ratings (481)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • mvlamborghini (4)
    John Frusciante takes another step away from his Chili Peppers' roots with his most recent...

    josephbh1 (2.5)
    ......

    Cian Jordan (4.5)
    An album above and beyond the best work of the chilli's, and one of the highlights of Frus...

    Mike Allen (4)
    For an hour, Frusciante takes the listener on his life's journey....

  • Jared W. Dillon (3.5)
    Frusciante's latest acts as a meeting point for all of his previous work....


Comments:Add a Comment 
McP3000
February 3rd 2009



3941 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

its definitely a lot better than a 3 and 3.5

but a 5? thats pushing it

great album regardless

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
February 3rd 2009



17920 Comments


yeah 4.5 isn't close to that at all

scyther
February 3rd 2009



1606 Comments


Whats in a .5?

Athom
Staff Reviewer
February 3rd 2009



17195 Comments


apparently a lot.

aceramicbunny
February 3rd 2009



4 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'll give something a perfect score when it blows me a way each time I listen to it.
The lowest play count on any of these songs is currently 22.
It's not a perfect score for a perfect album, its just the best thing I can say about the best thing I've heard in a while.

McP3000
February 3rd 2009



3941 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah 4.5 isn't close to that at all

for me a jump from 4.5 to 5 is huge

maybe not you

PuddleSwimmer
February 3rd 2009



1457 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This review is pretty great, man
Not just saying that because I love me some Frusciante

Bories36
February 3rd 2009



12 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good review, I think it deserves a 5 as well. I have listened to this album over 40 times completely through, and love every time just as much as the first time I listened to it. To me, that is a 5.

PuddleSwimmer
February 3rd 2009



1457 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This album makes me cry tears of sheer angelic satisfaction

Voytek
February 3rd 2009



139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review!!!

When listening to the album, I always look forward to "one more of me". So different, so good.

Voytek
February 3rd 2009



139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review!!!

When listening to the album, I always look forward to "one more of me". So different, so good.

McP3000
February 3rd 2009



3941 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

before the beginning, song to the siren, dark/light, one more of me are my favorites

aceramicbunny
February 3rd 2009



4 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks for the kind words everyone, I had kind of forgotten about writing but this album inspired me to share something.
I think I'll be running through my collection and sharing a lot more from now on.

bastard
February 6th 2009



3435 Comments


This is like album of the year for me right now.

McP3000
February 24th 2009



3941 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

before the beginning is better than sex

CreamCrazy
March 1st 2009



724 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Listening to this album on Youtube, wow... excellent stuff.

Doppelganger
March 4th 2009



3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

album is growing on me considerably, had dark/light on repeat for a while

CelestialDust
March 6th 2009



3155 Comments


I should probably check this out.

Sound
March 7th 2009



3887 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Having not listened to any Frusciante in 2 years I thought this was a great opportunity to get on that again. Album didn't disappoint and I'm really loving the last three tracks. One More of Me really surprised me, didn't know he had that extended range lol amazing.



ShutTheFookinUven
March 26th 2009



81 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Does anybody know the artist who wrote "Mad World"?
Because John's vocals remind me a lot of that guy's style.
I love the psychedelia infusi here. LOVE it.

the best concept album of the 2000-2010 decade, as of now



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