If you’re familiar with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, then you know who John Frusciante is. He is one of the greatest guitarists ever who worked on albums like Blood Sugar Sex Magik and Californication before he left the band after Stadium Arcadium. However, he also has a solo career, and he has a lot of fantastic music there as well. No two albums by him sound alike, and they’re all memorable. He tends to be more underground than he was with RHCP, but trust me, some of his stuff is on par with some of the Chili Peppers’ best stuff. That’s why I’m here today to count down my six favorites. Let’s begin.
#6: “The First Season”
I’ve never heard an album that sounds quite like To Record Only Water for Ten Days. It’s techno sound mixed with the brilliant guitar makes for a dream-like atmosphere. This is illustrated really well in “The First Season.” The guitar playing is excellent and the ambience mixes with it really well. You can also hear the emotion in Frusciante’s singing, and it all together makes a great song.
#5: “Every Person”
Shadows Collide With People is widely considered to be the Frusciante album that is the easiest to get into. The instrumentals are similar to a RHCP album, but this song is an entirely different beast. “Every Person” is simply beautiful, with thought-provoking lyrics and a great sound. Every person should take a listen to this song.
#4: “The Past Recedes”
Curtains is Frusciante’s foray into mostly acoustic guitar playing, and as you’d expect, it is amazing. The strongest track from the record is “The Past Recedes,” which has one of the catchiest guitar riffs ever. The simple production value makes it even more pleasing to the ear.
#3: “Look On”
Inside of Emptiness, on the other hand, is much heavier, and it kind of reminds me of Nirvana on songs like “666” (another great one). “Look On” is softer than that, but boy is it just as powerful. Some more good lyrics, beautiful singing, and great guitar playing are found in this song. Speaking of guitar, it also has one of the best solos of Frusciante’s career. It’s up there with the ending of “Dani California.”
The only instrumental song on this list, “Murderers” is simply a masterpiece. If you somehow weren’t convinced that John Frusciante isn’t one of the greats, play this song. He is simply a wizard on the guitar. The great guitar playing mixed with the title makes me imagine a story of murderers about to strike in the dead of night. Then, when the climax hits and those hard chords come crashing through the speakers, the police arrive in the nick of time to save the innocent and arrest the murderers. I adore this song.
EDIT: I accidentally said acoustic instead of instrumental when this article was first published. Apologies for any confusion.
#1: “Dying Song”
For the top entry on this list, here’s a song that’s not from an album, but from a soundtrack. A soundtrack to the film The Brown Bunny, to be exact. I’ve never seen that movie, but I can already tell that this song is the best thing about it. Told from the point of view of a suicidal man, it’s a highly emotional tale of someone about to leave this Earth. The instrumentals complement the emotion perfectly. The lyrics as well are great. If you ever want to get into the solo stuff from John Frusciante, listen to all of these songs, then go from there.