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Santana - Supernatural CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.18 | 186 ratings

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3 stars As far as I am concerned, the last good album released by Santana was "Zebop" in 1981. With all the fuss around this album, I was quite interested in hearing if it was justified (to my standards, which might not coïncide with the Grammy Awards jury...).

The opening track is a good surprise I must say. Lyrics (which are printed on the booklet) are rather weak but the rythm of the song is quite pleasant, so let's not be too critical here. It reminds me of the "Welcome" atmosphere. Good start.

"Love Of My Life" is a great latin ballad with very good guitar work. Although this song is co-written with Dave Matthews (lead vocals on this number), the lyrics showed the deepest inclination for human feelings. In this case love : "You're the love of my life, And the breath in my prayers, Take my hand, lead me there, What I need is You Here". What a drip ! Besides that, it is a good track.

"Put Your Lights On" is somewhat heavy at times. It is written by Erik Schrody (real name of Everlast, the rapper). He is also performing the lead vocals on this number. It is not the best number on this album, but it's not too bad either.

"Africa Bamba" is a good latin-rock piece like Santana produced ages ago. It's not a great track but after so many desillusions, it would have appeared as a highlight on his previous albums. Lyrics (in Spanish here) are again somewhat childish : "Estoy llamando a todas las morenas (I call all the brunettes), Y la llamada la viene da la luz (and the chosen one comes from the light), Con calma se baila esta danza (this piece is danced with calm), Y con amor canto yo esta canción (and I sing this song with love). Forgettable these lyrics...

"Smooth" is well-known. It will be one of the songs which will hit the charts. Rob Thomas has co-written the track (but not with Carlos). It's a catchy and warm song. Great atmosphere. The video clip was also very good. It is one of the highlights. It features great guitar work and that's a real pleasure. It has been ages that so much guitar was heard on a Santana album. But that was their essence, so it's only a come back to the roots, right ?

"Do You Like the Way" is a R&B/rap one. The lead vocals and the song writing was due to Lauryn Hill (The Fugees). She was nominated eleven times for the Grammy Awards in 1999 of which she won five categories : best artist, best record , best R&B song, best R&B album and best R&B singer. This track is one of the weakest on Supernatural together with "Wishing It Was" and "Mira".

"María, María" is the other "smash" hit of this album. Some flamenco flavour combined with some rap ones. Unexpected combination but rather interesting.

"Corazón Espinado" has all the ingredients of "María, María" : catchy melody, great latin rythm with nice percussions and good guitar. It's a love song telling us the feeling of an abandoned lover. It's better not to understand Spanish because, again, the lyrics are rather poor and childish. The song as such is one of my fave on this album.

"El Farol" is a beautiful and inspired intrumental (you know a la "Samba Pa' Ti"). Emotional as usual. "Primavera" is another good number : nice and smooth song with good guitar. I guess that any Santana fan can be happy with that !

The closing number "The Calling" features Eric Clapton on the lead guitar : the cycle is now completed. In an interview in which he was asked which guitar player he liked the most, Clapton answered : Carlos Santana because he is the most emotional one. I guess that both of them really enjoyed to play together.

This very long number (the longest one on a studio album), starts alright but turns into a funky kind of jam for most of it. I do not really like it. The last part is beautiful though, with its Spanish-like guitar sound. Very melodious. They should have cut this number to a five minutes one !

I do not know if this album was the best one in 1999 and if all those awards were rightly granted. This album if of course not a masterpiece (IMO at least).What I know, for sure, is that I have heard Santana again. The one I like.

Guitar is more dominent on this album than in his previous releases. Although lyrics are pretty weak (almost all the way through), the different vocalists bring a special touch and sound definitely better than the usual Santana ones (even Thomas sounds better here than on "Welcome"). I could never stand Greg Walker nor Alex Ligertwood. The guests also add a creative value in terms of composition. It was probably what Carlos had missed during all these years. It's a pleasure to listen to this CD.

Three stars.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |


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