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Friday, April 03, 2009

29 in 2009 - The Jimi Hendrix Experience: "Electric Ladyland"

The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Electric Ladyland
Originally Released: September 16, 1968
Genre: Rock
Rating: 7 out of 10 Stars

The guitars. That's what I'm supposed to write about. Honestly though, I'm much more impressed with Hendrix's songcrafting abilities than his guitar skills. There are moments on Electric Ladyland that really catch him at the top of his game when his guitar is involved. But can we be honest? People have outshined him since his untimely death. Not very many people would want to admit to that, but it's true. Off the top of my head, here goes: Slash, John Frusciante, John Petrucci, among others. Tehnically, I think that they can do things on guitar that Hendrix never could have even imagined.

But that's besides the point. The point is, for his time, Hendrix was a god! And all of that goddotry (TM) is perfectly captured and preserved on this amazing collection of music. Had he had an extra decade or two to work on his craft, there's no doubt in my mind that he would come up with some amazing thing. That's partially why his death was such a tragedy.

This album may or may not be his best. That depends on who you ask. It does have some amazing tracks on it, however. Over the course of its two discs and 16 tracks, Electric Ladyland covers almost every style that could possible fall under the "rock" genre; from the 15 minute magnum opus "Voodoo Chile" and the impossibly amazing "All Along the Watchtower" to the sunshine pop of "Little Miss Strange." Even the lesser tracks are cool enough to warrant a couple listens.

But Electric Ladyland's shortfalls are in the tracks that don't seem to have any purpose whatsoever. The first three tracks are the first ones that come to mind, and as the album progresses, all the guitar solos and rock goddotry get sort of annoying, or worse, boring. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and this may be a prime example of that. It's not an album that I can listen to all the time, but having some of Hendrix's greatest songs in your collection is always worth it.

Verdict: Worth a Listen


Anonymous said...


Cale said...


One of the cool things about this series is that you get an opinion of someone who is entirely new to these albums, weighing in on them. I know Jimi Hendrix, but I've never sat down and listened to an entire album. Honestly, this one wasn't doing it for me that much. There were some standout songs that I really enjoyed and listened to repeatedly, but a lot of the album just wasn't my style.

I think I acknowledged his skill and influence enough. But I like being able to listen to something that is "classic" and say, "yeah, it's okay" or "it's better than classic." As an ALBUM, this one is not as good as it could be.