John Frusciante
Curtains


4.5
superb

Review

by Mike Allen USER (107 Reviews)
February 16th, 2010 | 25 replies | 6,212 views


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "I never got all the way off the ground"

9 of 9 thought this review was well written

It would be safe to say that 2009 was the roughest year of my life. In September I received the news that one of my best friends had been killed in a car accident, and just three months later my aunt passed away when I was on my way for a last visit. Both instances had put me in a place I had never experienced to this magnitude before; turning to music as an antidote. It was at the second funeral that I sat quietly to myself, thinking not of that funeral alone, but both. As I sat there in distressed reflection, John Frusciante’s Anne was pulsating through my head; each of John’s lyrics hitting me harder than the last. It wasn’t even that the song was entirely relevant. It was my thought that Frusciante had felt every word, every strum of his guitar, and every note he hit on his electric. There is something to be said about the effect that music has, even when the song isn’t being heard directly.

“And these are the times I was scared of, and these are the fates that I pushed out of the way. Now they come back to haunt me. It’s plain to see who the winner and loser will be.”

If John Frusciante’s stretch of five separate releases in 2004 indicated anything, it was that the man was ridiculously prolific and effective. With few exceptions, each record was as intricately developed and emotive as the previous one, placing Frusciante at the upper-echelon of modern musicians. John’s lone 2005 release, “Curtains” has been raved about by Frusciante enthusiasts since the day it came out, and rightfully so. Considerably more mellow than “A Sphere in the Heart of Silence” and “Inside of Emptiness,” “Curtains” is essentially John’s acoustic record. Although an immensely talented guitar player, Frusciante never relied on this electric leads much in his solo work, instead packing a powerful punch with lyricism and poignant vocals. “Curtains” is certainly no different in this respect, and actually features some of John’s most notorious songwriting.

If songs were referred to as magnum opuses like albums are, John Frusciante’s would be Anne. Whether or not John had attempted to create this track as his masterpiece is unclear, but what is clear is that the song never loses its oomph. Most amazingly, the track appears to be in utter shambles following its introduction; a broken structure, in which would not be out of place on either of Frusciante’s heroin albums, and would baffle most rock listeners. It is however, the recovery that positions Anne head and shoulders above the rest, from John’s quiver of “Nothing is final because…” to the conclusion. The climax is staggering, for everything from Frusciante’s inconsolable lyrics to the flawlessly fitting guitar solo is incredible. Very few times in my life have I encountered such a track that time and time again, blows me away.

While seemingly nothing else on the record seems to come to the magnitude of Anne, that track in particular is the elite type of track that is featured on every spectacular album. Luckily however, Anne’s supporting cast is pretty damn effective. As indicated previously, “Curtains” has a much more subdued feel than even “The Will to Death” and is sustained by acoustic guitar, backing vocals, piano, and the occasional unorthodox effects. John’s vocals are just as brilliant as they have been since “To Record Only Water for Ten Days,” easily shifting to either end of the spectrum, and jam packed with emotion. Opener The Past Recedes plays the role of tone setter, with its relaxed ambience and accordion thrown into the mix. The following tracks seem to easily follow suit, with a few unexpected twists to be encountered. Not unlike Anne, Control features a very unconventional song structure, quickly varying in decibel levels, and building up only so it can be immediately calmed.

The one-two punch of Time Tonight and Leap Your Bar are only an appropriate close for such an extravagant album; neither lacking in inspiration nor impact. The former is a delicate track, driven by a terrific piano melody and John’s falsetto. Time Tonight builds to something greater in its final moments, highlighted by Frusciante’s shrieks of “Why, is there no one in my life?” Time Tonight only increases the dramatic effect of piano ballad Leap Your Bar, whose heart-wrenching vocals seem to overshadow much of the record. “Life is so sad, life is so sad,” sings John. The lyrics aren’t ultimately the selling point however, for it is the way that they are conveyed that delivers the final blow.

“Curtains” is not John Frusciante’s greatest album (slight edge given to Shadows), but has everything that exemplifies the musician, and most importantly the person that he is. Almost everyone that knows anything about the ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist understands what the man went through in the mid-1990’s, but many do not recognize Frusciante as the true hero that he is. Ever since his escape from the horrific heroin-fueled depression, John’s music has facilitated his re-discovery of happiness and a purpose. This pertains not only to him, but for others as well. When they really need it.

Recommended Tracks:
The Past Recedes
Anne
Control
Ascension
Time Tonight
Leap Your Bar



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Comments:Add a Comment 
EVedder27
February 16th 2010



6088 Comments


That'll do it for the discography. Don't think I'm doing the EP. And yes, Anne deserved its own paragraph.

OpethHateTrain
February 16th 2010



2 Comments


shiot rules

JWT155
February 16th 2010



9213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Very nice and heart felt review. Pos.

CelestialDust
February 16th 2010



3155 Comments


I need to give this another listen.

SeaAnemone
February 16th 2010



19997 Comments


Great review... I really enjoyed reading your Frusciante discography. He's a very interesting artist.

I have a list of 25 top songs... I think Anne would fall in my top 15 favorite of all-time.

Digging: Natural Snow Buildings - The Night Country

Romulus
February 16th 2010



8423 Comments


Definitely one of your best reviews, although I'm a sucker for concept/life-related reviews.

JWT155
February 16th 2010



9213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Same with me Romulus, my current wallpaper on my PC right now --> http://fc05.deviantart.net/fs36/f/2008/266/e/4/John_Frusciante_Live_by_im_rainmaker.jpg

SeaAnemone
February 16th 2010



19997 Comments


I've re-read this like 3 times now, and I have to say that it's spectacular (the review). It's like I never "really" knew how to put the reasons I love "Anne" so much into words but this review kinda does it for me. You should really be proud of this.

Romulus
February 16th 2010



8423 Comments


Yeah you know in that contributor thread you have to put up reviews? You probably have a candidate here

AggravatedYeti
February 17th 2010



7684 Comments


mmm more i need to get. great review

Nagrarok
February 17th 2010



8184 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think I don't need to add anything to what has been said above. I went through a sad period myself last year, and Frusciante's solo work really spoke to me at that time, when I first discovered it.

jagride
February 17th 2010



2305 Comments


Album is boring and sounds like Cat Stevens. I prefer the older, noisier stuff like Niandra Lades

Ponton
Emeritus
February 17th 2010



5790 Comments


Very good review, Mike

EVedder27
February 17th 2010



6088 Comments


Thanks all, appreciate it.



I need to give this another listen.




I actually found this pretty boring at first, but it grew like crazy after more listens.

renegadestrings
February 17th 2010



1440 Comments


now... it could be the ganja, but did you review Empyrean or Shadows??? i can't find your review for those

renegadestrings
February 17th 2010



1440 Comments


never mind. i'm dumb. thanks for understanding.

great review, as always

BigHans
February 17th 2010



26455 Comments


Awesome, work, sorry to hear about your friend and aunt. Its amazing how music can provide an alternative gateway to sorrow, and the music you hear during that time will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Jethro42
February 17th 2010



12391 Comments


Well done Mike. I'm gonna check this album out. I only heard 'The Past Recedes' and it's very good. Pos.

EVedder27
February 17th 2010



6088 Comments


Thanks guys. Hope the negger feels better about himself now.

BigHans
February 17th 2010



26455 Comments


Whoever negged is a faggot.



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