Joe Satriani
Strange Beautiful Music



by Vlad_The_Moose USER (2 Reviews)
January 14th, 2005 | 5 replies

Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Joe Satriani's touring band members...
Joe Satriani - Guitars
Jeff Campitelli - Drums
Matt Bissonette - Bass
Galen Henson - Additional Guitar

This is my review of Joe Satriani's 2002 release - SBM. One thing that I noticed personally, was a thicker distorted tone that Joe used in quite a few songs (i think he uses a Boss distortion pedal). This is evident on the songs like Mind Storm, What Breaks a Heart and Seven String.
Another thing i noted was the use of an open E tuning (E-E-E-E-E-E) on New Last Jam to create an eastern sounding chord strumming segment (more on it later)
Also, not sure if he used it before, but Joe utilizes a 7 string on Mind Storm (i'm pretty sure he does) and on Seven String (duuuh)... this adds a little bit of heaviness to these tunes, in addition to previously mentioned guitar tone

In order
1. Oriental Melody
Great opening track for this album. Starts out with a low end riff; the verse is your typical unorthodox satriani verse with some echo mixed in (i think). At the end there's also some composite orchestra arrangements mixed in the background.

2. Belly Dancer
An ok song overall i think. Joe's wah sounds great during the verse, as always. However, the best part IMO is the interlude/solo tha kicks in a minute into the song - it's fast, slick, and very melodic. The song later changes up a bit for Satch's guitar solo. The ending is questionable, but overall 3.5/5

3. Starry Night
True ballad in Joe's style. He actually recorded it in one take, which is amazing on its own. The tune, for the most part, is not technically challenging, which paves the way for it's melodic structure. Acoustic guitar backing comlements the solo really well too. The outro might not seem to fit the song that well at first, but after listening to it a few times, it makes perfect sense

4. Chords of Life
Another light, "ballady" type song. The intro is very slow and melodic, but the song does pick up later on quite a bit. Once it does pick up, we witness a cool fast-paced solo, then back to the intro riff again. Not a bad song, but not one of my favourites either

5. Mind Storm
This song is kickass... ok, i'm not talking like Metallica kickass. It rocks as much as we can expect from Joe. He draws a line between heavy rhytm guitar (7 string) and his signature lead really well. Favourite part of the song is the weird interlude right in the middle of the song. It first kinda sounds like something Buckethead would put out (i.e. the crazy robot sounds), then it's the perfectly executed guitar lead fills. The song then goes back to the original theme; it ends perfectly - whole bunch of heavy distorted chords

6. Sleep Walk
This one has some history, i think. I am pretty sure it was featured in 12 monkeys, that movie with bruce willis. So i guess it's a cover :confused: Overall, very smooth and chilling. Perfect tune to chill out to (and maybe fall asleep), cause it has that "hawaiian guitar" feeling to it. The drums are simple, so is the bass...zzzzzzzzzz

7. New Last Jam
As i've mentioned before, the tuning for this song is a little strange, but it does give it an eastern feel. The guitar solo however is in standard tuning.
Can't really compare it to any previous Satriani songs, you just have to listen to it yourself and see if you like it. It's not my personal favourite, but that doesn't mean anything

8. Mountain Song
Really love the intro palm-muted riff. The lead fits the rhytm well too. At times it does sound like a true mountain song - it sorta gives u a feeling of climbing a mountain (or maybe i'm high :confused: )
There's also some small fills that tend to sound something like that crazy tapping part in Mystical Potato Headgroove thing, check it out

9. What breaks a Heart
Here's what makes Satriani special IMO. When u listen to the first 3/4 of the intro riff voicing, you almost foresee which note he's gonna play next for the other 1/4 (i was waiting for the G first time around), but that note never comes. Instead it's a G#! It totally threw me off. BUT, listen to it again and again - it makes perfect sense somehow. All i know is, if i tried to write that same riff, i would've picked the G and would sound like everyone else, he did it his own way, and still made it sound totally cool
On another note, props to incredible sounding distorted wah tone used on the leads. Finally, the song even has a REGGAE BEAT! whoaaa! A reggae beat mixed with a Whammy pedal!!! Need i say more, check this tune out

10. Seven String
Having the pleasure to listen to joe's latest release Is there love in Space" (check out my review for it too), i can see where a lot of songs from that CD came from - this tune has a lot to do with it. It's got heavy distortion, but it still sounds bluesy (yes, you can write blues on a 7string). The guitar solo is pure Satriani virtuosity too. Not a stand out song on the album, but it rocks so..

11. Hill Groove
Love this song. Amazing upbeat lead, however not as fast as, say, Summer Song. Overall, it has that coolness factor to it that Satch brings, it's hard to describe it, you have to listen to it yourself. If anything, i'd compare it to Cool #9, even though, as i've mentioned, it's kinda upbeat (yet still bluesy)

12. The Journey
The intro, which reappears in the song on a couple of occassions, sounds like an improv more than anything else. It doesn't fit the song that well IMO. The part that follows is totally different and has some cool effect in it, which may be flanger (not sure though). I kinda like the way the song changes up around the 2:00 mark - there's some palm muted background guitar, some cool harmonics, and some lead. The song ends with the same effect riff that followed the intro improv

13. The Traveler
Here, we have some interesting chord voicings played by clean rhytm guitar to start. Nevertheless, I'd say it's my least favourite song on the album. It's kinda boring for the most part. There's a cool riff in the outro, but besides that, there's not much here

14. You saved my life
A ballad to close things off. Great things about Satriani's ballads, is they're not just one long-*** guitar solo that seems to go nowhere - i.e. there's easily recognizable riffs you can whistle or sing along too, and they're not that hard to play. This song is just that. Plus, it's got that almost romantic feeling to it, i don't know... definitely check it out if you love Cryin', Rubina, Always with me, always with you, and Until we say goodbye

Great album overall, i'll give it 4.25/5
The only reason it's not 5/5 is that Satriani sometimes is way over my head, there i admitted it. He's not nearly as complicated as Vai, for example, but unless you're very verst in music theory, some of the songs sound weird. On the bright side, this is what makes him different... hell, i'd go crazy if i listened to E-pentatonic metal and the 4-5 constant punk chord voicings, so thanx to Satch for keeping the music out there interesting for all of us
Other than that, this album is awesome and it's right up there with the other ones
Enjoy! :)

user ratings (125)

Comments:Add a Comment 
February 6th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

I love Chords of life. Great song.

July 15th 2009


Album Rating: 5.0

great album, but i think starry night is the worst track not the best

March 14th 2012


Album Rating: 4.5

The traveller is by far my fave....can't see how u call it de's got so much depth and the name suites it perfect as I listen to it alot on de really gives u de feeling of being a traveller......

October 7th 2013


best instrumental guitar album ever.

November 1st 2014


This isn't his best album

Digging: Eric Clapton - Unplugged

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