Classic Rock Review

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Joe Satriani Flying In A Blue Dream (1989)


Joe Satriani made one critical mistake when making this album; He decided to sing. Don’t get me wrong. In my opinion, Joe Satriani is one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Having said that, he is not a trained vocalist, and it shows. There are 18 tracks on the CD, but I only listen to the 12 vocal-less ones.
On to the songs!

Flying In A Blue Dream
Joe rightfully named the CD after this one. It’s quite soothing, with a peaceful lead riff placed over an alternately-tuned, relaxing background rhythm. As Joe usually does in his best songs, he shreds some and does a multitude of whammy bar, feedback and harmonics tricks. An excellent song. 10/10

The Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing
This song is even cooler than its name. It starts with an alternating guitar/percussion rhythm, with the bass kicking in as Joe adds to the already established rhythm. Soon this becomes a song where bobbing your head simply isn’t enough. In a way reminiscent of “Surfing With The Alien” (Surfing With The Alien, 1987) Joe rips out a rockin’ main riff and places genius two-handed tapping, harmonics and whammy bar tricks to make a five-minute song seem like the blink of an eye. 10/10

Can’t Slow Down
This is the first song incorporating vocals, and it’s a shame. The melody in the beginning are very cool, but once Joe starts singing the song takes a turn for the worse. The solo, however, is VERY sweet (30 seconds of almost solid shredding). I just can’t get over Joe’s vocals. 5/10

Incorporating complete two-hand tapping throughout the song with a harmonica over it, Headless is a nice change of pace. 8/10

This song is as Strange as it gets. Joe’s vocals are not impressive, and the addition of vocal harmonies makes this song a pain to listen to. Of course, Joe decides to put some of his best solos in this song. This song is a shame. 5/10 simply for the solos

I Believe
The vocals in this one aren’t too bad. Joe’s guitar work is absolutely beatiful. A calm, laid-back tune. 7/10

One Big Rush
Now this is more like it! A killer background groove coupled with some nice lead work make this song a shock to the system. This song drives me to pick up my guitar every time I hear it. 10/10

Big Bad Moon
Again with the vocals. Joe begins with one of the most foot-tappable rhythms, and then spoils it with his vocals and extremely poor lyrics. Once again, some of his best solos (including one on harmonica) end up on a song with lyrics. 6/10

The Feeling
I can only assume that the feeling to which Joe is referring is one of a solid hangover. A quick diddy (Thank God!). 3/10

The Phone Call
What’s with this song? The rhythm feels as if the person playing it has a beard and few teeth. Even worse, it’s a bad breakup song. 2/10

Day At The Beach (New Rays From An Ancient Sun)
This is without doubt one of the best tracks on the album. Joe incorporates two handed tapping as in Midnight (Surfing With The Alien, 1987). It really does feel like a day on the beach. A beautiful song, solely guitar though it feels like there’s more going on. 10/10

Back To Shalla-Bal
I have no idea where Shalla-Bal is, but judging by this song, it’s a pretty kickass place. This song is a mix of the good stuff in One Big Rush and Mystical Potato Head. Joe puts everything he’s got in here: Whammy bar tricks, harmonics, melodic tension and just plain shredding. This song drives in the ever-apperent fact that Joe is better than you. 10/10

The last of the vocal songs. Not much can be said that hasn’t been said of the previous vocal songs. Once again, an excellent solo is wasted on a vocal song! 4/10!

The Forgotten (Part One)
Similar to Day At The Beach, Joe incorporates two-hand tapping to make one guitar and a bass sound like an arrangement of players. This song has a much more tense feel to it, like something is about to happen. And it does… 10/10

The Forgotten (Part Two)
What I love about this song is how evident the Joe’s admitted Jimi Hendrix influence is. The song has an overall feeling of lament and is one of the more emotional tracks of the album, being a journey ending in a pit of despair. 10/10

The Bells of Lal (Part One)
This song sounds as if it’s been reversed, but I know that, based on the way it’s played and the delay effect, there’s no possible way. Once again, Joe proves that he is better than every one of us. 10/10

The Bells of Lal (Part Two)
Starting with a catchy base line, Joe sends us on yet another journey up and down the neck of his guitar. Sparing no technique, Joe created a track that must be heard to be believed. 10/10

Into The Light
I can only guess that the light mentioned in the name means the light of heaven. With a organ-like keyboard topped with a victory-style guitar piece, Into The Light is a triumphant end to a masterpiece of an album. 10/10

All things considered, Flying In A Blue Dream is the product of musical genius and virtuosity gone mad. Overall, this album surpasses it’s predecessor Surfing With The Alien (1987). Once you cut through the mediocre tracks, you’ll find a variety of styles and a multitude of ways to prove that Joe is not human. Flying In A Blue Dream is worth 5 times the album’s cost.

March 7, 2013 Posted by | Joe Satriani Flying In A Blue Dream | | Leave a comment