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Strange Beautiful Music

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Album Review

What's a guitar hero to do now that the masses prefer electronic beats and rap-metal to killer scale runs? Joe Satriani seeks that answer on Strange Beautiful Music. Satriani set himself apart from other would-be kings of the six-string in the 1980s by combining impeccable technique with great feel and pop hooks. With those qualities, he produced great guitar-driven albums like Surfing With the Alien and Flying in a Blue Dream. On his 2002 release, Satriani tries to make his music fresh by incorporating world music influences and a bit of techno flava. To his credit, he succeeds more than he fails. "Belly Dancer" combines straight-up rock riffs with Middle Eastern-twinged melodies and faster-than-sound runs up and down the fretboard. On "Oriental Melody," Satch's world music sensibility shines with the help of ping-pong delay and keyboards. He still has a knack for great hooks, too, as is evident on "New Last Jam," which features a melody that bounces around in your head for days. But none of these tracks approach the pop brilliance of his Surfing With the Alien songs. In many ways, the experimental nature of songs like "What Breaks a Heart" hark back to his Not of This Earth release. But Strange Beautiful Music suffers from inconsistency. While the mix-and-match approach works on "Belly Dancer," it can also result in the bland discontinuity of "Chords of Life," which at times sounds like "All Along the Watchtower" and at others resembles scale and chord exercises from Yngwie Malmsteen — not an enticing combo. And "Starry Night," while a nice ballad, feels like an attempt to rewrite his masterful ballad "Always With You, Always With Me."

Customer Reviews

joe is keepin the good stuff comin!

when I heard that joe was going to try to be more modern and blend in with "what is popular" with this album, I was concerned. but this is just another great album from joe, even if he did try to be more mainstream. I do enjoy how joe incorporates different styles of music from all over the world into his songs, like oriental melody and belly dancer.

Yet another great album from Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani continues to amaze me with his upbeat songs and orginal style. Strange Beautiful Music is one of my favorite albums, from "Belly Dancer" to "Mind Storm" to "What Breaks a Heart", they are all equally original and only prove that Joe Satriani is a legend of the electric guitar. Overall, I would highly recommend this album. Recommended Songs: Belly Dancer Chords of Life Mind Storm What Breaks a Heart You Saved My Life

Mind Storm

Mind Storm was the second Joe Satriani song that I ever got, and it used to be my favorite. But now, Back to Salla Ba, Up in the Sky, and Crystal Planet, have taken over my top three spots, but I still recoment Mind Storm, as well as Belly Dancer. A few of the songs have a deep/cold/spacious minor feel to their sound: Mind Storm, Mountain Song, Sleep Walk, The Journey, The Traveler. (Go to the album Crystal Planet to look for more of these types of songs) But some have a "far out" middle eastern style, look for: Belly Dancer, New Last Jam, Seven String, [Hill Goove], Oriental Melody, What Breaks a Heart. And I'm not sure what to classify Starry Night, or You Saved My Life as, [Chords of Life] just relaxing I guess. All of these songs bring out the "adventurous" side if Satch. He is a guitar expert, no doubt about that.


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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