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Jefferson Airplane


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Jefferson Airplane Jefferson Airplane album cover
1.79 | 32 ratings | 5 reviews | 3% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1989

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Planes (4:26)
2. Freedom (4:54)
3. Solidarity (5:08)
4. Madeleine Street (4:15)
5. Ice Age (4:16)
6. Summer Of Love (4:15)
7. The Wheel (6:08)
8. Common Market Mardrigal (2:46)
9. True Love (3:43)
10. Upfront Blues (2:02)
11. Now Is The Time (4:53)
12. Too Many Years (4:10)
13. Panda (3:37)

Total time 54:33

Line-up / Musicians

- Grace Slick / vocals, keyboards
- Marty Balin / vocals
- Paul Kantner / vocals, guitars
- Jorma Kaukonen / vocals, guitars
- Jack Casady / bass

- Michael Landau / guitar
- Peter Kaukonen / guitar
- David Paich / keyboards
- Charles Judge / keyboards
- Nicky Hopkins / keyboards
- Steve Porcaro / keyboard programming
- Mike Porcaro / bass
- Kenny Aronoff / drums, percussion
- Efrain Toro / percussion
- Flo & Eddie / backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Carl Studna (photo)

LP Epic ‎- E45271 (1989, US)

CD Epic ‎- EK 45271 (1989, US)
CD Floating World Records ‎- FLOATM6117 (2011, Europe)

Thanks to akin for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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JEFFERSON AIRPLANE Jefferson Airplane ratings distribution

(32 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(3%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(0%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (42%)
Poor. Only for completionists (26%)

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE Jefferson Airplane reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

Well, I am not sure that JA needed to risk their legend on this album. But after the final crash of that awful Starship (which had lost its Jefferson moniker some four or five years earlier), which had no link at all with the original group, Grace Slick and the other reunited in its almost classic line-up. Everybody was present from either Hot Tuna or other projects. Only Spencer Dryden was missing, and from what I gathered, they simply thought he would not be interestred, which turned out to be false.

But was the Airplane going to succeed in a second take-off, or was this a just-once reunion? Well it turned out to be a one-shot deal and when listening to the album, we can safely say that, it was not going to last too long. After a strong start with the first three songs being of the calibre of bark or LJS, and the excellent Ice Age (Kaukonen- penned), unfortunately when you expect the album to really head for the higher atmosphere with the promising Summer Of Love, things come to an almost-crash. Indeed this Balin-penned track is a syrupy ballad, and no matter how much a frequent Airplane flyer you are, it is insipid and mediocre. Unfortunately, this was not just one air-hole; the flight would become quite turbulent for the rest of the album.

On the up-side of things, one could've expected disaster with such a risqué album, but JA avoids a few traps that other classic bands fell into later: the usual awful drumming of that 80's period is not present here (well just one track). Their drummer does have the sound of 80's drummers but plays very much the 70's way throughout most tracks (well playing with Casady as your bassist will kick your butt in to shape), and although not great, the drumming is fitting. I wish groups like T2 or Procol Harum (with the awful Prodigal stranger album), had not fallen into this trap (set by the industry), but JA had too much a rebel attitude left in them, to refuse too much pressure. Unfortunately the second part of the album is made of sub-par tracks that have a filler feeling to them. The instrumental Upfront Blues being the better track in the end of the album, this gives a clear view that most of the members brought their own songs beforehand and therefore few (just one IMHO) were written collegially.

Hardly essential, even for the more die-hard fans, this album is not far from the level of Bark or LJS, and almost on-par with the better Jefferson Starship albums, and certainly better than the dreadful Starship crap discs.

Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars Most of the legendary line-up is there. After longs years of solo careers for some of them, some Jefferson Starship or simply Starship for some others, they decided to join again and delivered this album. IMO, the Airplane made a big mistake when they stopped between "Volunteers" and "Bark". These two years sounded like ages and lots of fans just forgot them. The gap now is over fifteen years; so who can still be interested in JA ? I do not know.

The opening track is a nice rock song for most of it. "Freedom" is a beautiful track : nice piano and guitar work. Needless to say that Grace is great on the vocals, right ? She is again wonderful in this jazzy-rock and soft ballad. The album goes on in a pleasant mood but nothing great, I'm afraid : "Solidarity" is a good rock song : the best number on this effort. But that's it for this album.

"Ice Age" is a useless jazzy tune which leaves me rather dubious about this album and the intention behind it. Should they really believe that their old fan databse was going to jump and by this record just because it was a JA release ? I can tell you, at the time of release, this album have never drawn my attentin and I guess I am not the only one in that case.

The bottom is reached with "Madeleine Street" : a syrupous ballad unworthy of the Airplane. What a pity to go that low ! "True Love" sounds miserable as well. FM music, could you believe ? The bluesy intrumental "Upfront Blues" won't add anything to the Airplane grandeur : very poor. Even Grace can not save a track like "Now Is The Time" : the album goes on and on with the same tasteless sound and feeling. I really feel sorry for this but I can't help : this is not good at all.

"Too Many years" reminds me of a Neil Diamond song. How could the Airplane go that low ?

The band shouldn't have released this album. It is really a blunder. Almost boring during these fifty four minutes or so. Their fame would at least have been intact. Anyway, thank you guys to have delivered such nice pieces of music and thank you Grace to have provided me with so much pleasure to listen to your marvelous voice during al those years.

Unfortunately, this is the album too much. Here and there a good song (like "Common Market Madrigal" one of the shortest song here and "Panda", the closing number being less miserable than the rest of the album). One little star.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Jefferson Airplane" is the eponymously titled 8th full-length studio album by US, California based rock act Jefferson Airplane. The album was released through Epic Records in August 1989. It´s a reunion album after 17 years, as the last album released by Jefferson Airplane at that point was "Long John Silver (1972)". 17 years where the band members had worked with other bands such as Jefferson Starship and Hot Tuna. The stars alligned in 1988-1989 and made it possible for the classic lineup from the 60s (except for drummer Spencer Dryden) to reunite and record this album.

The music is mainstream pop/rock with a blues feel but also a more 80s AOR feel to some of the tracks that we haven´t heard from the band before (naturally, as they were inactive in the years that AOR rose). You could say that they´ve followed the times and the contemporary sounds and influences. The production is also clearly from the late 80s with a high end drum sound and loads of chorus effects on the drums too. There´s an ugly keyboard piano sound that is used a lot too which really doesn´t give the music the warmth it needs. The tracks are generally well written but it´s hard not to get the feeling that they are not really that relevant and that this reunion perhaps wasn´t the best idea. The musicianship is of course of high class as usual but I wouldn´t expect less from experienced musicians like these guys/girls.

Upon conclusion "Jefferson Airplane" is a rather forgettable album and not the welcome comeback one could have hoped for. The magic was clearly lost in the 17 years since "Long John Silver (1972)" and this is an album you can pass by when going through Jefferson Airplane´s discography. A more organic sounding production would most likely have made the listening experience a little more pleasant on the ears and maybe have provided the songs with a little more intensity and passion, but as it is, the album is a rather cold and uninviting affair. A 2.5 star (50%) rating is warranted.

Review by ClemofNazareth
2 stars One more poke at the corpse with this 1989 'reunion' offering featuring most of the lineup that made the band famous. The late Spencer Dryden was not invited to participate, banished like that cousin from a family gathering who got drunk five years ago and tried to feel up your sister in the hotel pool. Even though the band members seemed so enamored of each other they practically dry-humped on the album cover, Paul Kantner still couldn't bring himself to forgive Dryden for past sins during the group's heyday in the late sixties. And that slight tends to jade the over-the-top 'group hug' nostalgia found on songs like "Summer of Love" and "Too Many Years". John Mellancamp drummer Kenny Aronoff fills in for Dryden on the album as well as the supporting tour that followed.

Most fans probably had mixed feelings about the music on this album, and possibly about the idea of the reunion itself. The band presents itself as elder statesmen here, survivors of an era where so many of their peers were left strewn along the trail. Most of the counter- culture swagger is gone, replaced by a collection of backward-looking and sometimes overbearing anthems for a generation of sit-in/love-in/free concert festival refugees. The music itself is quite good, thanks to a host of guest musicians including several members of Toto, Jorma Kaukonen's little brother and fellow sixties survivors Flo & Eddie. Ron Nevison, fresh of reclamation projects with Chicago, Europe and Survivor provides a fine studio production sheen for the music.

The group are clearly enjoying their roles as elder statesmen, and like I said the music is pretty decent throughout, although the lyrics tend to be somewhat self-indulgent at times and border on preachy with tracks like "Now is the Time", "Freedom" and "Solidarity". "Now is the Time" sounds more like a Starship tune than an Airplane one, and the band only approaches their classic Airplane sound with the brief instrumental "Upfront Blues". Everywhere else the music is firmly rooted in that eighties sound of easy-listening sheen and rather vapid lyrics. And since this is at heart a San Francisco band the themes cover all the requisite bases: PETA ("Panda"); power to the people ("Solidarity"); activism ("Freedom"); and enlightenment ("Planes"). Every ticket is punched.

The overall mood though is nostalgic, most notably on the sappy "Summer of Love", "Madeleine Street" and most palatably the easygoing "Too Many Years". The sentiments are understandable given the time and the age of most of the musicians on the record but for anyone looking to rediscover the magic of Jefferson Airplane, this is not that album.

I'm a little surprised the group didn't crank out at least one more of these given the modest success they enjoyed from album sales and the tour that followed. Then again, most of them had other things going on and residual royalties from their back catalog were probably more than enough to keep them in Metamucil and methadone, and the nineties weren't very kind to most of the rock dinosaurs anyway.

This isn't a bad album, it's just not very special either. Props to (most of) the band for managing to put aside past differences and crank out an entire album's worth of material. But the time was long past for Jefferson Airplane in 1972, let alone 1989, and this one will always be relegated to somewhere near the bottom of the list when their entire discography is considered. Two stars since many of their hardcore fans probably enjoyed the flashback, but not recommended for the generations of Airplane listeners like me who weren't actually 'there' during that brief period when this group and their music ruled. We have our own jukebox heroes.


Latest members reviews

1 stars By a long shot, this is the least essential of all Jefferson Airplane's work. A reunion album that fails to deliver any punch. I have a hard time finding any song on this album that stands out. Maybe the piano ballad "Common Market Madrigal"? At least this tune has Grace Slick giving a moving v ... (read more)

Report this review (#640898) | Posted by mohaveman | Saturday, February 25, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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