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SUPERNATURAL

Santana

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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3 stars This is a great album by Santana, but it's not like his earlier jazz/fusion. It's still a great sound, but as a different kind of music. Santana had many great guest musicians and vocalists, such as Dave Matthews and Eric Clapton. It has a very strong spanish sound in all of the songs. In "Maria" he has a little bit of rapping, but it's the good 'ole rap. "Put your lights on" my personal favorite, has an appealing dark sound. Overall it's a good sounding album, but a different Santana. 4.5 really

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Send comments to rekabat (BETA) | Report this review (#103719)
Posted Tuesday, December 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album is probably Santana's biggest hit sales wise ever! Supernatural stayed on the american album charts for over a year. Carlos Santana collaborated with numerous artists to create a blend of AOR/Hip Hop/Jazz fusion/Latin Rock, you name it genre wise it was there. For me not my favourite Santana albums but one cannot deny CS's enormous ability at working with some of the finest musicians to create an almost addictive listen. Highlights on this very mixed bag are '( Da Le ) Yalello', 'Put Your Lights On' and the lovely ' Primavera' It is great to see the talented Eagle Eye Cherry contributing as is Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews and Lauryn Hill to name but a few.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#104816)
Posted Thursday, December 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#112170)
Posted Thursday, February 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I agree that this album must be the best selling album by Santana even though I don't know exactly the sales figure. I can sense this thru how popular this album or at least some songs in this album in many places in my country. Of course the most favorite (popular) song is "Smooth" as it's so common that this song is regularly played by many cafés, or even at the shopping malls right here in my country. I admit that this is a good song where Rob Thomas as guest vocalist. His voice is quite similar with Sting (The Police) and the song has very good arrangement in R&B style but still maintaining the guitar sound of Santana. The other popular song is "Maria Maria" which I think serve the second popular song in my country. Almost everywhere I dine in any café or resraurant, the local band plays these two songs. "Maria Maria" sometimes is played in acoustic setting.

In addition to those popular songs, I find some tracks that are very good as well and they still represent the sounds of early Santana like the opening track "(Da Le) Yalleo" (5:51). At lest I can hear that the guitar style is really like early albums of Santana. I also like another R&B song "Love of My Life" (5:48). "Africa Bamba" (4:40) is also another interesting track.

Whatever you might think about Santana, I admire Santana on the way he has survived for decades with many changes of his style and bandmates. Through this album he collaborates with many musicians with different backgrounds - which none of them are proghead. Keep on proggin' ..! (sometimes, as proghead, we need to enjoy this kind of music .)

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#120962)
Posted Monday, May 07, 2007 | Review Permalink
Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Carlos Santana's Comeback, sort of. His guitar playing is much improved and dominant in this recording, but this is by no means a latin jazz-rock masterpiece like his early albums. It is just a collection of good pop songs and some other tunes that focuses on the instrumental side. Guest stars are all over the album, forcing this already-diverse album to be even more. Unfortunately, such high diversity hurts my enjoyment of the album slightly, and Carlos Santana sometimes sounds like a guest to other bands, rather than being the star. The music is generally catchy and accessible, with some vocals in Spanish. Add 0.2 Stars if you don't speak Spanish . The reason is because the lyrics are awful. Just read ZowieZiggy's lyrical quotes or check the lyrics out in a website.

Due to lack of reviews, I'll go "track by track"

'(Da Le) Taleo' is a pretty fun piece, with a catchy piano riff that helps the danceable rhythm. The song is pretty diverse and shows what "Supernatural" is about (including dumb lyrics). (B)

'Love of My Life' has constrained and melodic guitar playing and is really just a ballad that turns into a salsa groove in the second half. Not bad at all. (B-)

'Put Your Lights On' is a bit less interesting with the rapper guest speaking more than singing. The song is mainly soft or acoustic song but there is a heavy outbursts in the middle. (C)

'Africa Bamba' has some terrible lyrics but it is a harmless nice mid-tempo latin tune that unfortunately turns into a salsa groove in the wrong moment. (C-)

When the album appeared to go on a downward slope, 'Smooth' proves the listeners wrong. A huge commercial success that is more worthy than most extremely popular tunes in the radio. It is a nice listen, with its catchy rhythm, good vocal performances, great guitar work, and an irresistible happy atmosphere. (B+)

'Do You Like The Way' is a rock&blues song marred by the female hip-hop vocals and the feel that this song just doesn't have the atmosphere present in the rest of the album. I just don't enjoy it much. (D+)

'Maria Maria' was another commercial success and is an adventurous and very good composition that blends rap, flamenco, and latin successfully, as weird as that sounds. The chorus has a great guitar line. (B)

'Migra' is a song that showcases Santana's great guitar skills without appearing like a show-off tune. It has a good beat and a very good chorus melody with horns. (B+)

'Corazon Espinado' sounds like the band "Mana" (the singer is present) but with a better guitar player. Nice latin percussion and easy melodic vocal lines, but overall nothing exceptional. The guitar sounds like him listening to the song with headphones and improvising nicely along with it. (C)

'wishing it does' continues the mainstream sound in yet another musical direction. The guitar solo is very solid but again sounds like if it is pasted into the finished song and sometimes dominates a bit in parts that in my opinion should be dominated by vocals. (C-)

'El Farol' is a pleasant mellow instrumental with emotional guitar playing recalling his early days. A very nice listen (B)

'Primavera' is another nice and smooth latin piece but nothing really special. Not much to say, but it isn't a bad song. (C)

'The Calling' is the very long Santana song in this album with Eric Clapton starring. I remember the high expectations in this piece, but in the end, it is a bit disappointing. It has a nice start with acoustic guitars but then turns into a boring and endless funky tune in the style of Roger Waters' "Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking" album. Then there is a pause and another song comes, which makes me wonder if putting a song of 12 minutes was done for marketing reasons. This part is much much better and one of the highlights of the whole album: a guitar showcase. This song would have been excellent if the middle part was removed. (C+)

While it is Santana's most popular album, it is far from his best and usually does not represent what Santana's music is about, except maybe for the guitar tone present in this disc and "El Farol". Newcomers should really start with Abraxas or Caravanserai, or maybe any of his first four albums.

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#123852)
Posted Tuesday, May 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars After 1992's nondescript "Milagro" Carlos Santana dropped off the map more or less (1994's "Santana Brothers" doesn't count for much) until he signed with Arista Records and reunited with the man who discovered him for Columbia three decades earlier. Clive Davis convinced Carlos that he could successfully blend his signature sound with modern trends and much younger artists to stage a comeback to end all comebacks. The result was "Supernatural" and, with over 21 million copies sold worldwide and nine Grammy awards, you gotta think that maybe ol' Clive was onto something. That or he was magically clairvoyant.

The album starts with a bang as "(Da Le) Yaleo" storms out of the gate with the kind of power that reminds you of Santana's crackerjack band way, way back in their glory years. Carlos' stinging guitar licks, the ferocious percussion of Karl Perazzo and Raul Rekow speeding alongside drummer Billy Johnson and a cool piano solo from Chester Thompson lead up to some terrific interactions and accents with a punchy horn section to set the bar at a formidable height. Ah, If only Santana could have stayed the course he plots with that opening salvo. Despite being an okay tune, "Love of my Life" is a bit of a letdown after all that excitement. It's above-average AOR fare featuring Dave Matthews on vocal that putters along casually until it slips into a more upbeat Salsa groove. The change is a nice touch and it gives Carlos and his percussionists a chance to jam. Unfortunately this album turns out to be one that requires a few jabs on the remote's skip button starting with the dreary "Put Your Lights On." In spite of a too-brief heavy metal-tinged spasm in the middle, some guy named Everlast (Never heard of him. He might as well be "passed gas" as far as I know) mumbles huskily through this dirge repeating "Hey Now" every so often which gives me a chuckle because it was the trademark catch-phrase for Hank Kingsley on the defunct but hilarious "Larry Sanders Show" on HBO. But I digress (much like this record does all too often).

"African Bamba" has a decent groove to it and Santana's Spanish acoustic guitar stylings are a welcome change of pace. But it's his hot electric guitar lead at the end that really distinguishes this track. I grew weary of hearing "Smooth" played over and over ad nauseum but you have to concede that when a hit single stays at #1 for twelve consecutive weeks Carlos and his producers are due credit for creating the perfect song for the end of the millennium. It's got great dynamics, spicy percussion, a slyly provocative vocal from Rob Thomas, an infectious rock beat and a lot of fiery notes pouring constantly from Santana's guitar. (Plus it was popular when I met my wife so, of course, it became "our song." And, boy, was I ever "smooth." Not to mention lucky and if you saw her you'd know what I mean.) From there Carlos sinks like the Bismarck to what may be his all-time low with the horrid "Do You Like the Way." Hit the skip button as soon as you can here because this is an unholy mixture of rap and badly performed soul music that Santana should be ashamed of. I don't mind saying that I utterly abhor rap and always will. It's as far from progressive music as one can possibly get and shouldn't be spoken of as music at all. Don't get me started.

"Maria Maria" (which, as a single, occupied the #1 spot for ten weeks) is a passable ditty, definitely a huge improvement over the previous cut but I've never been too crazy about the song. I really don't get the repeated references to Carlos Santana that pop up throughout the tune. I guess producer Wyclef Jean was either paying respectful homage or kissing his butt. Whatever. Just when things are getting stale and predictable, "Migra" comes storming in to save the day. This is vintage Santana with rolling jungle drums, rhythmic percussion and a contagious melody. What sets Carlos apart from everybody else is his unique talent as a true six-string virtuoso and here he puts on a clinic in rock guitar. It's one of the best tracks on the CD. "Corazon Espinado" continues to ride the newfound momentum with its percussion-fueled Salsa beat and with Santana tearing it up pretty good on his axe once again. "Wishing it Was" follows and it might have worked much better if it hadn't been burdened with a clumsy hip-hop undertow. Carlos throws in some slashing guitar runs but it's not nearly enough to keep this clunker from going absolutely nowhere.

As I said earlier, however, it's Santana's guitarisms we show up for and we get large doses of his genius on both the instrumental "El Farol," where Carlos shows his romantic yet bold and passionate side, and on "Primavera" that sports a jazzy Latin flavor. When I saw that Eric Clapton was the guest artist on "The Calling" I got my hopes sky high for a real throw-down but, alas, it fails to impress. Unlike the spectacular duets between Santana and John McLaughlin where they drove each other to the upper limits of their abilities, here Eric and Carlos play as if they're afraid of stepping on each other's toes. They spar timidly during the spacey first segment, then another dreadful hip-hop churning starts up beneath them along with a choral chant while they continue to noodle back and forth. It's a shame and a wasted opportunity, really. But the good news is that there's a bonus cut called "Day of Celebration" added on the end that's downright proggish in that it's a trip back to the heady days of "Caravanserai" when The Santana Band was exploring the boundaries of jazz rock/fusion. Carlos plays with an inspired fierceness and the percussion sounds like it's about to burst right out of the speakers. The bad news is that it's only about 5 minutes long. Makes me wish the whole album would have been steered in this direction.

With the exception of some moments in about 2 or 3 cuts there's not a lot of progressive music to be found here. I'm glad that Mr. Santana found his way back into the limelight after almost sinking into obscurity but the pop mentality that dominates many of these tunes and his unwise, dubious dabbling in the dismal, dead-end world of rap and hip hop keep this CD from being anything I would highly recommend. It's not as terrible as his worst but it's far from his acme. 2.7 stars.

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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#134850)
Posted Saturday, August 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Progressive in my opinion has to have an open-minded perception about music. O course,this album is not similar with albums like Abraxas or Caravanserai but it should be judged based on the music it contains and not with criteria that 'excommunicate' everything not so progressive. We can say that this effort is more 'pop' than his earliest works but it is at least commendable. The latin element is ubiquitous in 'Supernatural' and it gives a more summer touch.Riffs and solos that stick to your head along with diverse and interesting vocal lines.It is not so jazzy but Santana's playing is enough progressive by its nature. Personally, I enjoyed myself a lot with tracks such as (Da Le) Yaleo,Put Your Lights On,Africa Samba,Smooth, Maria Maria,Corazon Espinado and Primavera. The other songs are nice too but the aforementioned are those that I pick. A latin and very pleasant album. A very good effort for me which surely deserves 4 stars

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Send comments to mel from hell (BETA) | Report this review (#228871)
Posted Wednesday, July 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Return of Santana to world of big music? After so many years of silence, and long list of very average albums, it was a real pleasure just to see him in Big Music again.

OK, for sure, this album has nothing in common with his first 5-6 classic latin-blues-fusion works. It's pure pop, but with plenty of very competent Carlos guitar all around. Because of collaborations with very different artists, album is very different in musical sense and no boring at all.

I like "Put Your Lights On " song from it, some nostalgia from old rock times. Best numbers there are Latin influenced songs, with perfect Santana's guitar and nice arrangements. Big part of songs are pure pop, but let stay true - without Santana's guitar work these songs wouldn't be popular at all.

So - return to form? Yes, in some sense. I afraid he will never be again that Latin Fusion star he was somewhere, but at least it's a first album in years pleasant for listening.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#238771)
Posted Saturday, September 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Strangely enough, this was my introduction to 'guitar' music. You know, shredding, fast and furious leads and all that. My exposure to Western music had until then been pretty limited - the motley crew of Beatles, Celine Dion and Yanni. By sheer chance, I got introduced to this album when I was still in school and it probably made my proper introduction to rock years later a little easier. So how has it aged for the by now dyed in wool proghead version of yours truly?

If the opener alone were to make up mind about it, I would say, bloody well. About my only minor gripe with Yalleo might be that it has a dance track-like appeal and the production is far too glossy for music so energetic. But it is nevertheless a wonderful track, treating you to invigorating percussion, guitar and piano. The little piano solo especially is exquisite. The album can't possibly get much better after such a stunning opener...and it doesn't.

Love of my Life is a slight letdown and takes some time to get going. But Santana conjures up a high octane finish that raises it above average and makes it memorable.

Alas, side 1 (if you, like me, have owned the audio tape of this album) is rather uneven thereafter. Put Your Lights On is dull and boring. Africa Bamba and Smooth breathe some life into the proceedings but Do You Like the Way and Maria don't make much of an impact either.

Along the lines of side 1, side 2 kicks off proceedings on a rousing note with the stylish Migra. By now, Santana's bag of tricks is beginning to appear rather limited but the vocals are generally very good on this album and they save the day for Migra, as with some of the other tracks.

Corazon Espinado is basically the non-English version of Smooth and sounds a good deal better to my ears. Rather than Rob Thomas's low pitched snarl, you are treated to pleasant high pitched vocals that really make this song.

A not particularly convincing detour to hip hop (Wishing it was) follows before we get to El Farol. In retrospect, I feel the album as such is not the best showcase for Santana's guitarwork and what really made it so commercially successful was it passed a slice of Santana through a palatable filter for global audiences. It was good pop songwriting rather than great guitarwork that made Supernatural a memorable affair.

Except, that is, for El Farol. This might be the one moment where Santana still shines in his own right for me jut as much as when I first heard the album through a different prism of expectations. He play a simple but memorable melody softly and beautifully, with a lot of feeling. And that's all...he doesn't try too hard to play fast. Instead, he takes the time to develop a theme and leaves a more telling impression.

Primavera is more rocking Latin fun along the lines of Migra. Probably the next best of the vocal based cuts after Yalleo.

It is just as well I didn't know who Eric Clapton was back then and didn't understand why it was a such big deal that he featured on the last track Calling. For that matter, I don't think I do now either....at any rate, I could hardly bear to finish the track and can't tell you much about it.

It is a rather uninspiring, anti climactic finish to a solid commercially oriented Santana album that has a fair few worthwhile moments. Three stars.

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Send comments to rogerthat (BETA) | Report this review (#753621)
Posted Tuesday, May 15, 2012 | Review Permalink

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