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Jimi Hendrix - The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Electric Ladyland CD (album) cover


Jimi Hendrix



4.03 | 414 ratings

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3 stars It's everything you love and despise about the man, in one extra-large package.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland (1968)


Overall Rating: 10/15

He sprawls and sprawls and sprawls. I think that perhaps Jimi's musical output was clogged by his own voracious over-productivity. It was just too much, all at once, and he decided to release a big, whopping double album for his third venture. No, he wasn't going out with a band. I'm more than sure that a guy like Jimi would have kept releasing music until his hands fell off, but wait, he could play with his teeth, too! Yeah, it'd be a weird sight, Jimi living on into the 70's and 80's, though. That would be freaky. How do you think he would have reacted to new wave? I don't want to know...

But, here it is, the famous Hendrix legend, the impenetrable fortress of everything that made Jimi the musician that he was. And, you'll get it all, sure enough. Not only do you get the best material the guy ever recorded, you also get the most ineffectual and boring, the most indulgent and impenetrable, the most harmless and the most frightening. That being said, it makes this thing very difficult to sit through, and chances are, just like me, you'll pick and choose which songs you like best, and forget everything else. Maybe that's what you're supposed to do with this album, but there's still a lot to be desired from at least half the music on here.

It's a double album. It's a 75 minute long double album, packaged as one 75 minute long CD. Now, for those of you raised in the compact disc era, 75 minutes of material might not seem so strange, especially with folks like Ayreon releasing monstrous albums that seem to never end, but for Jimi, who was already pegged as a limited songwriter, squeaking out over an hour of material couldn't be anything but disastrous. The best thing to do is to imagine them smashing RUX and Axis into one collection. It's a bluesy, rocking, paranoid, psychedelic, jamming, rocking, mushy behemoth, and it'll eat you, whole!

To me, there are some silly mistakes running rampant throughout Electric Ladyland. First off, the whack-job that let Jimi release a double album should be skinned alive. Secondly, the whack-job who said it was okay for Jimi to ignore his guitar should be beaten with sticks. Thirdly, whoever is responsible for allowing him free reign over all of it....just doesn't have much sense, at all. Voodoo Chile is preposterous. A 15 minute long blues jam? Who needs that?! I don't, and I'm sure you don't either, because this beast goes absolutely nowhere. This is excessive, and part of my heart thinks that Jimi knew it. That he knew this was all a big joke, and just wished to see how far he could push things before the revering rock critics finally snubbed their noses it him. I s'pose it's a fairly natural reaction to success, but this reeks of overkill. This album is in serious need of a good trim, because even if I like the mian theme of most of these songs, they just keep going on and on never really going anywhere, or never really picking up steam.

The riffs are usually stale, the jamming is usually tame, and even if his singing is the best it's ever been, it's still pretty weak. But, when the sucker cooks, he cooks. Dylan cover All Along The Watchtower, and album closer Voodoo Child (Slight Return) are just friggin' insane. They literally explode my body. I doubt Jimi ever did anything so gripping as the last ten minutes of Electric Ladyland, and even then, some of the jam sessions, like the shimmering Long Hot Summer Night, with his 'lectric licks all over the place, are pure entertainment, but with all this material, the excess drowns what could have been a fantastic single, forty minute album. Too many of the songs lack a really catching melody, or ...much melody at all. This is another case of more guitar = more enjoyment. Still, it's Jimi Hendrix, you'll probably love it to death, so get it anyway. You can't afford to live without a few of these songs. But, I just can't feel right with myself if I give something so needlessly indulgent and fluffed up a high rating. Take this spiel for what you will. I like it, but I don't love it, and I'll probably never listen to the whole thing through, again.

Alitare | 3/5 |


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