Sunday, December 04, 2005

[Music] Carlos Santana - All That I Am

Once, God decided to come down to earth and select a few demi-god's for a project which he had in mind.God and the chosen demi-god's would then get together on Cloud No.9 and play their musical instruments.The mortals would behold this extraordinary miracle and rejoice in the bliss of the music.God never noticed the earthly mortals listening to his music,he just played.. and played with no care and his music was divine.The first phenomenon was called "Supernatural" as it trully was. The second time God came down to play, the people termed that occurance as "Shaman".By then, God had noticed that music was not only beneficial to him but was good for his believers too.So the third time when the time came he decided to play for the his followers.Alas,this is where the divine story ends and the music industry takes over.

"All that I am" is the follow up to Carlos Santana's 2002 effort "Shaman" where Santana get's together with some of the best in the music industry and creates magic.Well.. almost.

"All that I am" is a good album with some great guitar work by the maestro,but is it another Supernatural ?

Sadly, No.It's still got some great songs on it and if you have a keen ear Santana's divinity can be heard.Therein lies the problem,Santana in this album takes the backstage,sure he pulls all the strings(no pun intended) but you never get to hear the real Santana in full blast playing his latino style of music.

Another put-off(for me atleast) is the abundance of hip-hop.I'm not a fan of hip-hop music, but since hip-hop is currently "keepin it real" in the music industry,God said "So be it!",hip-hop it is this time.However I'm not saying hip-hop spoils the album,there are some great hip-hop tracks on 'All that I am', it's just, you get a Santana album for the guitar solo's and not for hip-hop.

Enough of 'dissin and cussin' Santana.Now for the good parts.Starts of great,'Hermes' and 'El Fuego' are classic latino numbers with good jingles.Hermes is one long foot-thumping jingle with traces of samba(or salsa ?) beats and Santana's guitar leading the song all throughout.'El fuengo' is a spanish(i think) ballad which sounds like latino-rock,if such a thing exists.

The first two tracks establish that it is a Santana album.Now it's the time to introduce the demi-god's.Coming first is ..Michelle Branch with 'I'm feeling you', it's a pop song with a latino beat,totally off-beat.A big downer after the first two songs.After this the hipster's take over.Mary Blige and Big Boi on 'My Man', a song with some boom's and again nothing impressive.Santana is confined to the background and all the guitar licks are there just to make up the track.

'Just Feel Better' takes a complete u-turn with some feel-good rock with Steven Tyler on vocals.This is some of the best on 'All that I am' so take in every single bit of it while it lasts.Tyler is a vocal god,no denying that, and his vocals have never sounded so good when combined with a guitar(no disrespect to Joe Perry).This is a great song although some parts of the vocals are a wee bit overdone.Could have been toned down to match the pace of the guitar lead.Good lyrics by Jamie Houston, Buck Johnson and Damon Johnson.

'I am somebody' features Will.i.am(Black Eyed Peas') and it's one track where Santana really shines.No more background guitar work,this one brings his guitar work to the fore and they are awesome.The lyrics are irritating and repetetive.If this had just been a guitar solo track it would have been perfect.

'Con Santana' is a latino style track sung by Santana.'Twisted' features Anthony Hamilton and is now a totally new genre on this album.It's got a soul-jazz-blue's sound to it.Good song but again nothing special as Santana is pushed back to the background.

What do you get when three guitarists meet over a beer and just jam.Now if the three guitarists happen to be the epitomic masters in their respective area's of guitar handling you get 'Trinity'.Pure guitar work,nothing else.Starts, takes you to nirvana and leaves you there and then just ends.You feel betrayed.Pure un-adultrated guitar play.Kirk Hammett(Metallica),Robert Randolph(pedal-steel master) and Santana with an "Industrial" sound make up the Trinity.

The other great song is 'Cry Baby Cry'.Lyrics by Sean Paul/Santana and sung by Sean Paul and Joss Stone.This one really stands out,both vocally and the guitar work.When you hear this song you realise that it's actually Santana who makes the guitar cry.

The last few tracks 'Brown Skin Girl','I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love' and 'Tu Amor' are ordinary tracks with nothing of note to mention.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Songs to look out for: 1. Trinity (Feat. Kirk Hammett & Robert Randolph) 2. Just Feel Better (Feat. Steven Tyler) 3. Cry Baby Cry

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. My Way My blog. Toufeeq Hussain