The Joe Satriani Joe Satriani album was released on October the 1st 1995 and was my first experience of the instrumental guitar master’s work. Satriani has albums dating from the mid 80’s right up until present day (2020 at the time of writing) but this was the album I stumbled upon first. The magician musician was recommended to me by the man who taught me how to play the guitar and the Joe Satriani Joe Satriani album was the first thing I came across. Specifically, Joe playing Cool#9 live which was a joy to witness. The sounds from this album are what inspired me to become an accomplished guitar player
Enough about me though. For the first time in a long time I’m now going to listen through this 12 song album track by track and review it. How will an album created by one of my idols stand up to my hard critique? Let’s see.
Joe Satriani Joe Satriani Album Reivew
Joe Satriani Joe Satriani Cool#9
It’s weird the things you pick up on while listening to a song from an analytical standpoint. The first thing I noticed about this track is something that I’ve never picked up on before even though it’s one of my most “listened to” Joe Satriani songs. This song is 6 minutes long. Well 5:59 to be exact but it sure doesn’t feel it. The flow and the pacing makes it feel a lot shorter even with the tempo being modest. The intro alone is 1 minute long and goes by in a flash despite being based around 1 simple guitar chord which the drums and improv sounding bass wrap around.
The same rhythm is for the most part used throughout and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The whole song has an almost jam session feel about it. Even the main melody which is simple but memorable. If things were left there, a simple rhythm with a bit of instrumental melody on top, things would be pleasant. Pleasant but also fairly underwhelming.
Thankfully, we’re soon treated to that Satch signature style of lead guitar. Lots of liquid sounding legato, tapping, arpeggios, classic wah, the lot. There’s also some experimenting with what seems like an octave pedal perhaps. The first solo builds up the dynamic before calming things down and bringing us back down to earth . Now we’re already half way through.
3 paragraphs in and still on track 1 – i promise I’ll start to summarise better
After another segment of verse we’re then ready for more playful lead guitar. It’s at this point that the structural side of the song stands out as being very strong. Without that verse and dynamic decrease, we would have been at risk of been overwhelmed and bored but the timing here is just spot on.
The second we’re ready for more signature Satch, it’s given to us. I’m not a massive fan of fade outs but it works here as the soloing at the end could go on all day. Overall it’s a fun track based around a clever bit of rhythm. Definitely something that bands could jam to and defiantly an enjoyable listen.
Joe Satriani Joe Satriani If
If, is an interesting one for me. I thought during the first half of the song that, despite being instrumental, that it could be something that resonates rather easily with a more casual audience (as long as they like guitars). The melodies are easy on the ears and it has that head nodding factor to it. It’s definitely something that could be listened to while driving, out in the sun or while working. It doesn’t demand the full concentration of the brain to take in.
The intro is strong enough that you’d recognise it. Even the solo is casual in nature and is very much “locked in” to the rhythm. Similar to Cool#9, the first solo is followed by a return to earth dynamically. This time by means of returning somewhat to the intro with a bit of a drum instrumental focus before returning to our melody.
Following this, we move to a bit of a change up and a more funk/groove based approach to fade out. This fade out doesn’t work as well for me as the previous one. I felt the mix up was too far removed from the feel established previously in the song. It kind of deflated things a bit for me. That said, I can normally back up a comment like that by suggesting “I’d of done it that way perhaps”. In all honesty though, I don’t know how I’d end this piece differently.
Joe Satriani Joe Satriani Down Down Down
Just to get this out of the way. No, I don’t know what the deep sound is near the beginning. Never understood it, never will.
So onto the song. Down Down Down, brings us Down Down Down to a nice slow tempo and a change of mood. This one was always recognisable to me from the bended notes that appear first at about the 1 and a half minute mark (of a post 6 minute track).
This is a very chilled and laid back song with lots of sleazy blues guitar licks and the odd Middle Eastern style one thrown in there. Oh and there’s that classic reverb sound. There’s a fantastic slow and gradual build up in dynamics before coming right back down to zero again.
Once we’re brought down, we’re built back up in exactly the same way with no disappointment. Then you’re brought back down once more. I love the bended notes of the outro too. It did what it needed to do, then we move on. Very much a fan of this one.
Joe Satriani Joe Satriani Luminous Flesh Giants
Luminous Flesh Giants certainly wins the award for best song title of the album. I’m not sure exactly why it’s called Luminous Flesh Giants. Maybe it’s a song that could be uused in an action film featuring Flesh Giants that also happen to be luminous smashing things up.
It’s a solid song. Solid drums, solid bass, solid melody, solid lead guitar and a nice little breakdown in the middle. This one doesn’t really do anything out of the ordinary by Joe Satriani standards I guess.
Solid album track. Nothing below average about it. Nothing particularly noteworthy either when judged by the high Satriani standards. If a band or guitar player less notable for their amazing skills pulled out the lead exhibited here then we’d be raving of course. But for Joe Satriani, this performance is expected but certainly not disappointing.
Joe Satriani Joe Satriani S.M.F
Apparently, S.M.F stands for Sick Mother F*****. Sick Mother F***** has a more bluesy feel compared to what we’ve heard so far. It utilises the 6/8 key signature also which was a nice mix up. It’s at this point that I took note again of the song duration. I really didn’t realise that so many of these songs were this long. This one clocking in at just under 7 minutes. It’s not a criticism, just an interesting observation. The fact that I’ve not picked up on this while listening to this album in the past is a good thing.
The mood and feel of S.M.F doesn’t change until about the 2 minute mark where we start to experience a bit of a build-up. For the next minute and a half or so we’re given some blues rock lead guitar with a kind of Hendrix Red House vibe. I’m definitely not complaining about that. It was at this point I realised that any self-respecting instrumental guitar album simply HAS to have a song like this. I’d be offended if there wasn’t a blues track like this included to be honest or at least a track which utilises components of the genre.
Eventually, the intensity decreases with roughly half the song remaining. It’s been a long time since I’ve listened to this so I’m wondering where we go from here. The answer is nowhere in particular.
We get a bit of a rock chordy kind of part and a bit of the trade mark legato but nothing that strays far from the mood that’s established throughout. Maybe this song is to long for some and they’d lose interest but Satriani plays to a niche audience. This has given me the blues fix I needed.
Joe Satriani Joe Satriani Look My Way
The attention is certainly grabbed early on with this one thanks to the unique percussive intro. Oh and the fact that it’s the first song on the album to feature singing / lyrics. Proper rock n roll. The vocals as I’m sure you’re wondering are performed and written by Joe himself.
It’s an all-around fun song with some notable and quirky use of natural harmonics. These stuck out to me as something a little different and unique for the style. There’s not much going on in terms of lyrics. Joe would rather like it if, while he’s walking, particularly if you’re of the female gender it seems, to look his way. This if perfectly fine as far as I’m concerned. This kind of music is hardly known for the Shakespearean level of wording.
Look my way is a fun song. It does what it needs to do. I think this could be longer and that he could milk the lead play more and have some fun with it. I guess leaving me wanting more isn’t a bad thing.
Joe Satriani Joe Satriani Home
Home is the complete opposite to Look My Way. Not in quality but in mood. Part of instrumental music is interpretation. From this track I get someone longing. Someone homesick perhaps. Or even a reminiscing feeling.
This one is much less about hey look what I can do with this instrument and more about emotion and there’s plenty of that. Satriani can seemingly do anything with his guitar and his music and this track is a great demonstration of that.
More about the Joe Satriani Joe Satriani Album
Joe Satriani joe Satriani was released in 1995 and was Joe’s 6th album. The album reached number 51 on the billboard 200 charts and remained there for 7 weeks. It also made the top 100 in 4 other countries. (you’re) My World which we will look at later was released as a single and reached number 30 in the mainstream rock chart and was also nominated for best instrumental rock performance at the 1997 Grammy awards.
Moroccan Sunset very quickly establishes a Middle Eastern, exotic feel within the first few seconds. Fine with me, I love this sound on an electric guitar.
One thing that stuck out to me early on with this one is that it’s stripped back, it’s very raw, and there isn’t a boat load of effects, its Joe playing guitar. It’s not over produced (take note guitar players of today!)
The structure of the song is similar to what we’ve experienced in other tracks on the album. We get a gradual build up climaxing at around 3 minutes. Then we return to the original dynamic and feel that we heard at the start. We fade out shortly after with a bit of playful lead guitar stuff.
Decent enough album track but not really sure what this song is trying to say. Home for example invoked an emotion. With this one, nothing really happens. It’s simply some cool guitar. More like a jam but once more, I’m not complaining because it sounds great.
I wish more music sounded like this.
Killer Bee Bop
We start with a very cool intro. Love the drums, love the guitar and especially love the bass. The intensity picks up very quickly but retains the same experimental and out of the box feel that was established at the start.
This one will not be to everyone’s taste but it tastes pretty good to me. My thought was that this is Satriani’s answer to flight of the bumble bee. It seems that the song is telling the story of a bee going bat **** nuts. I’m reviewing this during a near global lockdown in the burning hot sun while “working from home”. Bees are a thing right now so very fitting.
The intensity is calmed about 2 thirds through. It’s here that we get a short metal style chord breakdown. The mixing and the drums do not match the guitar chords though and it works brilliantly. The ending is as good as the intro with those little flight of the bumble bee style licks.
I can’t fault Killer Bee Bop in any way. Not everyone’s cup of tea but for me, perfect instrumental rock guitar song.
Slow Down Blues
Quite the contrast to the previous song. Slow down blues is one piece but its split into sections. The first 3 minutes are based around a nice and neat sounding riff with some bluesy guitar stuff wrapped around it. This riff is one of the more “known” Satriani riffs and to hardcore Satch fans, it’s instantly recognisable.
The second part of the song is more straight blues but not necessarily the slow blues one may have expected from the title. The 2 sections sound good individually but I’m not sure why they’re glued together into one track. Everything sounds good though so I don’t care..
(You’re) My World
As mentioned earlier in the article, (You’re) My World was released as a single. The rhythm section of the piece is certainly very mainstreamish and easy to digest (not a bad thing). The melody is nice but I’d personally question the decision to use the wah effect right out of the blocks. I feel the wah makes the melody harder to take in if I’m completely honest.
Nothing big happens in the solo parts either really. There isn’t much range when compared to other material on the album. This criticism may come across as harsh but it really isn’t I still enjoy the track and it still sounds good.
From the title of this track I expected something rather chilled and laid back. The track let me know early on that my assumption was right. This one retains the blues influence that has been persistent throughout the album thus far. Sittin’ Round is an instrumental blues rock song. When you Invision what that genre description would sound like, you’d have something like this in your head. It’s very safe but very conclusive. A neat and tidy way to end this fun and interesting album.
The Joe Satriani Joe Satriani album doesn’t contain any of the big satch hits such as Satch Boogie or Always with me Always with you which is partly why I picked it for review. There is some under appreciated and brilliant music in there that I thought deserved some recognition.
Overall the album is very good. Yes I’ve made a couple of small criticisms along the way but as mentioned, the standards set by Satriani are high indeed. Every second of the Joe Satriani Joe Satriani sounded at worst good and at best, out of this world.
One thing I’ve always said about Joe Satriani is that despite him being an instrumental rock guitarist, his songs never sound the same. There’s no “if you heard one Satriani song you heard them all”. This album does a great job at supporting that statement. Each song is unique but still remains in that Satriani universe that we all love to surf through now and again.
If you enjoyed this review, perhaps you’d enjoy some other review based content that I’ve written for Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat. Take a look at the links below.
Hello. My name is Ryan J Mellor and I play the guitar. I’m also the creator of Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat. I’ve ben a guitarist for many years and my guitar playing has been described as “above average”. My guitar and music knowledge is somewhat impressive but most importantly, I have a passion for creating great guitar and music related content.