Niandra Lades And Usually Just A T-Shirt review by John Frusciante

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  • Released: Jan 1, 1994
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.4 (170 votes)
John Frusciante: Niandra Lades And Usually Just A T-Shirt

Sound — 10
This is probably the greatest album ever made. The guitar playing is so creative, and raw. This is the best showcase of John's guitar playing out of any album he has made. The whole album is littered with perfect leads, and beautiful melodies. There are so many masterful overdubs on most of the songs. It's also interesting to note the progression of John into drug addiction as the album goes on. You can see John's decline. All the songs were recorded chornologically. The last few after John quit the band. Most of the songs though, were written while John was with RHCP, and recording Blood Sugar Sex Magik. And they were also written at a time when John was very happy. However, as the album goes on, you can see the songs get more frantic and unorganized. I think every single song is sheer brilliance, but you can note the difference between Niandra Lades, and Usually Just a T-shirt. The album is recorded with lo-fi equipment, all 4-track, and 8-track. It sounds very raw and stripped down, it's just pure amazingness.

Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are absolutely magical. There are so many introspective and philsophical lines. It's hard to understand what John means with his lyrics, because he likes to say things that appear non sensical, and things that have opposite meanings, and hidden meanings. His voice works perfectly for the lyrics. He has a very raw voice, very raspy. There are a lot of segments of screaming, and inaudible words, and talking and strange noises. The way the lyrics are, the vocals comply perfectly. I get so inspired when I listen to the some of the lyrics John throws down.

Overall Impression — 10
In my opinion, this is John's best album. It would be most comparable with Smile From The Streets You Hold. It is comparable to Syd Barrett's solo music. It's a very accquired listen. The first time you hear it, you probably won't like it. I didn't. But the more I tried to listen to it, the more it spoke to me, and I saw the beauty and energy that was in the music. So basically, just give it a chance. The whole rawness of the music just makes it so beautiful. All the flaws and mistakes and stripped down feel of the whole thing just made it appeal to me so much. The best songs would be Skin Blues, Untitled #4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, Mascara, and Curtains. Although every song is amazing. If I lost this I would go get it immediately!

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