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Santana - Supernatural CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.18 | 186 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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 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.

rogerthat | 3/5 |


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