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Jimi Hendrix - The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Axis - Bold As Love CD (album) cover


Jimi Hendrix



4.02 | 328 ratings

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3 stars Wouldn't The Jimi Hendrix Experience have been a really cool instrumental jazz fusion band?

The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Axis: Bold As Love (1967)

Best Song: SPANISH CASTLE MAGIC, nothing else comes even close

Overall Rating: 9/15

After rocking our worlds with one of the heaviest debuts of his epoch, Jimi and pals decide that the world doesn't need two revolutionary 1960's proto-metal/psychedelic heavy rock albums, and decided to go out and invent new wave-trip-hop. Actually, he tries to blow our minds on a whole different level. Where his debut blew our minds with raw energy, sheer guitar ferocity, and songwriting that was actually befitting the music, Axis Bold As Love blows all our minds in the "Oh, he's experimenting, how cute" way. Though, when you observe the habits of most prominent late 1960's artists, this is eerily predictable. It's almost as if random psychedelic meandering was the commercial thing of the era. no, I'm absolutely sure of it. how else would Surrealistic Pillows ever gotten such a cult following?

That isn't to say he drops his inner fire for inner drug addiction. No, there's still that trademark bite to the majority of his material, and some tracks are just li'l monsters, like the album's real highlight, Spanish Castle Magic, which easily matches any of the best stuff from RUX. Ain't No Telling, Waiting For Tomorrow, and If 6 Was 9 all rock mightily, but none of it comes anywhere near the sheer magnitude of Purple Haze or Foxy Lady. Everything else is just your generic astral blues, distilled through his guitar gimmicks and studio tricks. Actually, I bet this whole album was just one big studio illusion. It did come out the same year as his debut, so maybe he recorded it with his mind, and if there's one place I never wanted to be, it was in Jimi Hendrix's mind, how crazy would that be?

Songs like Castles Made Of Sand and She's So Fine just plod on in their mushy, generic 1960's fuzz. I don't have anything against them, and all of it's professionally performed, but when Jimi Hendrix steps out from behind his smoldering guitar, his flaws are set out for everyone to easily see. As a singer, he's inadequate. His intonation is wrecked, he has basically only one style, he is forced into writing simple and typical vocal melodies, that he can't half belt, anyway. Speaking of melodies, his second primary fault is also his most damning. Jimi, as most folks will tell you, just didn't have the mind for real, deep, rich songwriting. Most of his material fell into one of two primary categories. You had the jaw-dropping rockers, and you had the mind-blowing bluesers. Sadly, Your jaw can only be dropped once, and your mind...well, I doubt any of his blues stuff could blow anyone away, these days. So, his music, the lesser known of it, wears painfully thin upon repeated listening, and this is what Axis Bold As Love is: A collection of Jimi Hendrix throw-away tunes. Nothing tops his debut in strength or force, and nothing really tops the psychedelia all the other hippie gurus were spitting at the time.

What, then, is my main beef with this record? It lack substance. Simply put, most of it is rather boring. Once you get grabbed for the first time, it never happens again. Still, as a look at a fantastically interesting musician of his era, Axis is an interesting purchase. It's far from worthless, and the Jimi Hendrix fans out there (Oh what an armada!) will certainly get a kick out of a different side to the man and his style, and when he does bring out the fury, oh boy, your socks will be thoroughly off. If only he'd been paired up with a more experienced (heh) songwriting team, or backed by a permanent, personal band, maybe then his music would have been shocking like it was, before.

Alitare | 3/5 |


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