Monday, 12 September 2016

Joe Satriani - Flying In A Blue Dream (1989)

A slight guilty pleasure today, but one that never, ever fails to put a big dumb grin on my face.  Must confess I haven't bought a new Satch album in six years, as they've started to feel bit interchangeable (perhaps bigger fans can correct me on that, and let me know if the last two are worth picking up), but back in 1989 Satriani was still young, vital, and breaking his own boundaries on this, his third full-length album.

Flying In A Blue Dream is actually a significant 'first' in Satriani's career - he's periodically stepped up to the microphone ever since, but this the first time he'd attempted songs with vocals after two completely instumental albums.  And in the nicest, most sincere way possible, the vocal tracks are hilarious.  Can't Slow Down, Big Bad Moon and Ride are classic 80s hair-rawk, I Believe a rousing power ballad; Strange is more enjoyable than the Red Hot Chili Peppers' entire discography, and The Phone Call is a great novelty rock n roll groove.

There's stil plenty of room for Satch's instrumental virtuosity on this 64-minute album though, with my favourite being the double-tapping masterpiece Day At The Beach - the original and best version, notwithstanding a thousand YouTube covers (many of which are pretty good!).

My brain's about to crumble, spill out on the floor

7 comments:

  1. Crikey! From a lesser blog I wouldn't go near this with a barge pole; However if you say so... here goes

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    1. Ha - enjoy! I'm honestly not trolling my readers, this album and the ones on either side of it (Alien/Extremist) are classics. I did find him too widdly and show-offy to begin with, but then Day At The Beach was the one that made me sit up and think holy crap, this guy's a genius.

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  2. I know what you mean by guilty pleasure. In the late 80s there was a syndicated USA AM station that everyone I knew listened to called Z-ROCK. They played the best/worst hair metal, often with DJ appearances by Noddy Holder, Alice Cooper, etc. and although I'd never listen to stuff like Faster Pussycat while at home there was something about the format that made them irresistible to listen to on the car AM. Many, many people I knew felt the same and there were Z-ROCK stickers on so many cars. I remember being introduced to Satriani while tuning in and thinking, well he's basically copying Jeff Beck but who cares, at least he has something to say with his melodies unlike the wank-y Steve Vai. Funny what happened to Z-ROCK: they foreshadowed their own demise by picking up on a little-known Seattle band called Alice in Chains, whose "Man in the Box" was constantly requested by their listeners. Then one day when I was tuned in (fall 1991, right around the time Nirvana's "Nevermind" broke huge), they played "Man in the Box" one last time and went to static forever.

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    1. Thanks for sharing that, great to read it! I never really got into Steve Vai for much the same reason.

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  3. No amount of reasoning can save this. "Kill your darlings", I say.

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  4. Thanks for reconnecting me to an old high-school favourite of mine - lost the cassette years ago! - I used to worship at this guy's alter, along with Yngwie, Vai, Tony MacAlpine etc. I've since reformed, but glad to partake in the guilty pleasure with you!

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  5. Just discovered your blog. beautiful stuff and thank you. this post made me smile. a guilty pleasure indeed! one of the first cd's I ever bought. somehow there are lot's of drone's in this thing.

    but what really made me longing for more was "the feeling" - wish he did a solo-banjo album!

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