Smile From The Streets You Hold – JOHN FRUSCIANTE – 1997

We’ve all heard of John Frusciante‘s heroin addiction. We’ve also heard of that album that he put out for “drug money”, which was an utter mess. Well, this is that album. And I’m not going to review it. This album cannot be reviewed in a conventional manner. Instead, I’ll ask you this. Can you imagine singing over a basic riff without any concession to melody if, say, a loved one just died five minutes ago? Just belting it out? Can you imagine how impassioned that will sound? How free of pretence? What a god-awful mess? And how incredibly cathartic?

An amazing document.

This album radiates that sort of catharsis. His ‘singing’ sounds like he was just beaten to a pulp and then asked to sing. Like his teeth have fallen out. Like every breath hurts. No, it’s not good music. In fact, it’s just noise. But it’s still amazing because it’s a very moving document of just how badly fucked up you can get with drugs.

So, I will not bother to tell you which song sounds best. I will not tell you what effects the guitar has on it. I will certainly not tell you about the production on this thing. What I will tell you, is that for every Sgt.Pepper or Pet Sounds or OK Computer, we need one Smile from the Streets you Hold. Has there been another such extreme music in the past? I’ll say yes. Metal Machine Music by Lou Reed. Check it out on Wikipedia. In case you are wondering why its call Metal Machine Music, it’s because it really is that. It’s machines and feedback humming. The great Lester Bangs proclaimed that it was the greatest album ever recorded. Of course, I will not proclaim this to be anything like that. To do that would be pseudo-intellectual rubbish.

This miserable image of him was taken in 94. Can you imagine his state in 97?

What I do claim, is that every once in a while, we need a document that really pushes the boundaries in a completely uncontrived way. Metal Machine Music wasn’t planned. It was just winging it out when stoned. Sure, it’s not good music, but isn’t the concept just so amazingly uncontrived? Similarly, here is a man completely destroyed by his herion addiction, putting his bare emotions on the table. And I don’t mean Kurt Cobain metaphors. The lyrics don’t matter. Just hear him scream his tortured scream, cough his painful cough and cry his heart-rending cry.

Will I be coming back to hear this again? No. Then again, I might, just to see the limits pushed. I recommend anybody who has read this ‘review’ to listen to this album. Beginning to end. LOUD. Don’t treat this as music. Forget Nikki Sixx. These are the real Heroin Diaries.

-El Bajista

There’s nothing quite like this. More JOHN FRUSCIANTE reviews. HERE.



One thought on “Smile From The Streets You Hold – JOHN FRUSCIANTE – 1997

  1. “Smile From The Streets You Hold – JOHN FRUSCIANTE – 1997 | thatdoesntsoundright” was in fact a superb blog.

    If it had a lot more pics it would definitely be quite possibly more effective.

    Regards ,Isabel

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