ďTraditionally, I have made the 7th song on all my CDs the mellifluous guitar ballad that serves the melody on a silver platter. In numerology, the number 7 is shrouded in mystique. In a record sequence, it has always felt like the sweet spot. These songs are more devotional in nature than technical. They are a reflection of one manís desire to expose a glimmer of the depth of his longing for spiritual communion."
Indeed. Thatís how the booklet reads on Steve Vaiís ďThe 7th Song." And he is absolutely right. The opening guitar riff is served on the silver platter Vai mentions, and is the main theme on the songs. The tracks are all sweet guitar ballads, and each song is worthy of mention. Some songs are nice, slow and easy to listen to, while others are fast-paced, but still offer that easy listening any listener desires.
For the Love of God
begins the album. Itís the seventh song off the album ďPassion and Warfare. It starts first with a big inhale (yes, breathing inhale), and the afore-mentioned melody-served-on-a-silver-platter begins. "Itís a very sweet guitar riff, very easy to play and easier to listen to. I hear some octave pedal uses come in, showing that vintage Vai, the Vai that uses guitar effects all day. About halfway through the song, Vai begins to use his fast (very fast) and skillful picking and fingering, impressing me very much. This song shows both sides of Vai: the easy listening, amazingly sweet side of Vai, but the skilled, fast guitarring part of Vai blends in perfectly.
follows that beauty, originally released on ďSex & Religion." Again, the opening riff sets the tone for nearly the entire song, but this song adds to the beauty with stunning harmony guitars. The melody is, as always, the main standout to any song/album, but the second guitar is thrown in there and it adds a touch nothing else can replace. It backs up the main riff/chorus perfectly; the perfect match. About 2:30 in, the song changes and a semi-new melody is introduced. The lead guitar takes full control and the backing guitar takes a back-seat, and Devin Townsend, a member of the band at the time, sings out of nowhere after a very fast scale played by Vai. After he finishes singing (15 seconds later? 20?), the main/ first melody comes back, and the harmony guitars come back full force, just like they did before the change. All the guitars (both, I guess) mesh stunningly about 5 minutes in, creating a beautiful atmosphere.
The following song, Windows to the Soul
, begins strangely, with a voice saying ďIn your (in your) eyes (eyes), I found (I found) comfort (comfort) and peace (peace)" before the guitars fully kick in. The melody is right under your nose, but although it is good and nice, itís not quite as beautiful as the previous two. However, itís still very nice to listen to. The main focus of this song is the speed on the guitars, since the opening melody takes time to love. The guitar can get very fast, going up or down the fretboard, and/or alternate picking. There are little sound effects dancing around the speakers, which add that, how should I say it, relaxing atmosphere, for lack of a better word. The song ends with that same strange voice with the echoing to boot.
Burniní Down the Mountain
changes the albumís mood starting with an acoustic part repeating itself many times. Other guitars join in and this is the main melody of the song, or perhaps itís the only melody. The same part is repeated over and over and over...and over and over. Itís very, and I mean very, boring to listen to, I must admit. I nearly fell asleep listening to this and only woke up when it was towards the end of its 4 minute and 22 second duration when some guy says ďRah."
Following that stinker is one of my favorite songs of all time, Tender Surrender
. It starts right away, and the melody-after-one-second is back and itís better than ever. Once in a while, it would stop for a second, and the song would come back. Itís hard to describe, but itís very addicting. The melody is probably one of the best I have ever heard, which is why I think this is arguably among the best songs on the album. The song picks up pace about halfway through; the drums have a few nice fills (on a Vai album? Nice) and the guitars speed up as well. As the song comes back to where it started, the atmosphere is more relaxed, the drums are much, much quieter and the melody is slowed down considerably. Amazing song.
Hand on Heart
is next, and itís also a great song. Itís not as good as Tender Surrender, but the melody is still very good and will definitely get stuck in your head. It does get a bit repetitive, but the overall quality of the song is still good. Vai throws in some very fast guitars here and there, once again showing what he can do, be it fast or slow. The song completely stops with about a minute and a half to go, making the listener stop and say ďWhat happened?" The drums come back with the full melody and the song reaches its great peak. The opening riff is back and itís better than ever. The song ends with quick fingering on the guitar by Vai, ending a good song.
And now we reach the seventh song of The 7th Song, Melissaís Garden
. Itís the epitome of a mushy, romantic guitar riff, played very slowly and thoughtfully. He plays a great solo a minute and a half in, just him and his guitar all by their lonesome. About 2 minutes in, a brand new melody comes in and is absolutely beautiful. Some other instruments, I think violin, plays some short notes, adding to the easy listening. The song changes again about 6:15 in, playing a strange riff, and eventually it is played again, speeding up until the song slows down again. The first melody comes back for a final encore, and it is beautiful. The seventh song is a beauty, a complete success.
The eighth song, Call it Sleep
takes a little while to start fully, repeating the opening theme for about a minute and a half. Itís very quiet, and the background sound effects blend in with the guitars. Then everything stops for a second, and a new guitar solo is played. Itís very simple, easy to listen to and easy to play, but itís still effective in terms of catching the listener and absorbing their ears. There are some nice and tough fills here and there, but then right after that it goes back to the main solo. After about two minutes of soloing, it goes right back to that main theme, the nice clean guitar part. The song ends on a very quiet and peaceful note, leaving the listener nice and relaxed.
Christmas Time is Here
is very Christmas-y. It starts with the jingling of bells and a nice, sweet little piano part playing a Christmas-like theme. The guitar comes in playing that same melody. The piano part continues and re-emerges a couple of times, and the guitar solos for the entire duration. The piano adds an interesting effect normally unheard in Steve Vai songs, while the guitar still reminds you time and time again this is Steve Vai, the very sweet and relaxing guitar soloist.
The Wall of Light
is very mysterious, using lots of effects to create that chilling atmosphere, used with very quiet and simple guitar parts. That goes on the entire song, making it completely filler, the only one on the album. Even as filler, it still does its job by relaxing the listener, making him/her completely unaware of whatís going to happen next due to how laid back they will be. This leads directly to...
Boston Rain Melody
, the last song on the album. It starts with thundering and a nice little guitar riff. The electric is turned rather low, and the soloing isnít exactly soloing. Of course, the guitar speeds up later in the song, and the bass presence is felt also. The speed up is gradual, starting pretty slow and eventually gaining speed. The music stops to rain and thunder with about 4:40 to go, and after about five seconds of silence, the drums come in and piano effects are heard. Another slow and simple guitar solo is played, sounding more sweet and pleasant than the previous one in the first half of the song. The guitar effects kick in a little after a little while, and the solo slowly speeds up. The song finally ends nearly 9 minutes after it began with some guy whispering and a child saying bye.
This album is a complete masterpiece. It combines all of Steve Vaiís breathtaking ballads into one album, making for easy navigating. From For the Love of God
to Boston Rain Melody
, each song is beautiful in its own way, never letting go of the relaxing and breathtaking atmosphere the first five seconds of the album set. Do yourself a favor and listen to this.
Overall Album Rating: 5/5 [Classic]