Joe Satriani is one of the very few guitarists where I look forward to hearing their next solo album. Why? Well all too often solo albums from guitarists are just a collection of guitar solos, sometimes with vocals, but all aimed at showing how good they are at playing guitar. The problem is that while it may show off their technical prowess, it often just doesnt make good listening as an album particularly where it’s an instrumental album (so no vocals interrupt their playing). Joe Satriani on the other hand is very different. Yes he’s an incredibly talented guitarist and his albums are instrumental, but they’re unlike any other instrumental album you’ll hear.
One of the main things with Joe Satriani is that the albums are so well written that they are proper songs, albeit with no vocals, rather than bits of music added to a guitar solo. There’s no need for vocals with Satriani – his guitar practically sings and so it replaces the vocal line in a way very few musicians are able to do. Normally with an instrumental there are moments where you expect the vocals to kick in and feel slightly cheated when there are none but with Satriani that doesnt happen – where you’d expect a vocal to start, there’s a beautiful bit of guitar playing in its place, so you never get that feeling of disappointment. It’s hard to explain but when you hear a Satriani track it just feels right. It’s not a case of playing the most complex things possible or playing at lightning fast speed, with Satriani is about playing what works for that song, so there are faster parts such as the opening track, “Energy” but then there are slow softer pieces such as “Sensual soul”
Writing good instrumental tracks is hard enough, but putting them together to form a cohesive album is even harder – get it wrong and it feels like a random collection of songs with nothing to tie them together, but get it right and there is a nice flow to the album from start to finish, and that’s another area in which Joe Satriani excels – all the tracks here feel like they belong together, and are put together in just the right order to keep the listener engaged.
As always from Joe Satriani, the playing is incredible and the songs are fantastic. The album is full of great tracks, but my personal favourite is “Cherry Blossoms”
Eric Clapton’s guitar might gently weep, but Joe Satriani’s guitar sings beautifully.
“What happens next” will be released on 12th January 2018
3. Thunder high on the mountain
4. Cherry blossoms
6. Smooth soul
9. What happens next
10. Super funky badass
12. Forever and ever