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Is There Love In Space?

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Album Review

Guitar boss Joe Satriani's ninth album reflects the terrain he's traveled more than it points to an unexplored one — and yes, that does prove to be a good thing. Satriani has explored many directions over eight previous albums, mashing together rock, blues, jazz, and pure technical proficiency in a dizzying blend that bears his unique signature. Is There Love in Space? recalls two distinct projects from his catalog, the groundbreaking Surfing With the Alien and the exotic Strange Beautiful Music. From the former is the driven, balls-out, tough blues-and-hard rock riffs and hooks, while from the latter are involved and sometimes intricate melodies and Eastern-tinged modes — though none of the electronica. Satriani's sense of writing catchy turnarounds and hooks is ubiquitous here, and though he uses keyboards, they are never employed as more than devices to further along the framework of a particular tune. Even the vocal cuts here work well, "Lifestyle" with its roosty rock & roll vocal, boogie on methamphetamine whir, and bombastic power chords is a great choice for a single, as is the stomping, metallic "Hands in the Air," which updates Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" riff in extremis. The mid-tempo tunes, such as the wah-wah-phased title track and the shimmering "If I Could Fly," are nice changes of pace too. The funky future blues of "I Like the Rain" features a slightly annoying vocal, but in its ZZ Top-fueled desert boogie, it hardly matters. The masterpiece on the set is "Searching," however. It's slow- to mid-tempo stride and minor key cadence pushed to the limit by the razor-wired and feedback aesthetic of its ten-minute sprawling excess. While guitar hero records are anything but cool in the new century, this guitar hero offers one cool little record.

Customer Reviews

Shut up Coldplay fans.

They aren't even reviewing the music itself. hopefully this will somewhat counteract all the stupid coldplay related reviews. Nayway, this is a great album. Satriani sounds amazing as usual with his amazing guitar playing in this. I give it 5 stars.

Let's All Take A Deep Breath

Okay, first, GunsofSteel13: your analogy is inapt, given that it's possible to own a particular progression of particular words (as in a book), or a particular progression of particular colors (as in a painting, and, yes, a particular progression of particular chords. Similarly, the argument that "Coldplay is too good to need to plagarize" holds little water, since even George Harris stole music. The similarities between certain sections of If I Could Fly and Viva La Vida are striking, and it's entirely possible that there was some infringement of Satriani's intellectual property. That said, it's also possible that they both drew inspiration from similar places, and created similar sounds as a result (given the number of musicians, it's bound to happen on occasion). But, we shouldn't be rating an album based on whether we think there was plagarism. Once the court rules, we'll have a definitive answer, until then, let's just ease back, and look at whether we like the music. It's a good album, whether you think Coldplay stole or not.

Rate Honestly Please

There is absolutely no need to rate this album low or artificially high over the Satch and Coldplay debate. Review the music on the CD itself or don't bother writing a review. This album gets a 4-star review from me, it's got some really good tunes but there are only a few that I really like (If I Could Fly coincidentally enough being one of them).


Born: July 15, 1956 in Westbury, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The 1980s were a golden age for guitar heroes but even six-string slingers need a hero of their own. Enter Joe Satriani. More than a hero, Satriani was a mentor, setting an example of what could be done with the instrument and also serving as a teacher to such luminaries as Kirk Hammett, Charlie Hunter, Primus' Larry LaLonde, and Steve Vai. This alone makes Satriani a significant figure in the history of rock guitar, but when he launched a career as a recording artist in 1986, he performed the rare...
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