Electric Ladyland

 

I picked this up at the Half-Price Books in Upper Arlington (U.A….where all the psychedelic hippies hang out) for $6.99 (minus my 10% edumacator discount).  This was Hendrix’s last studio album, and the only one he produced himself.  It was originally a double LP, and I noticed that each of the 4 “sides” has its own sort of character.  The first side is dominated by the electric blues of “Voodoo Chile”, the second is a collection short electric pop songs similar to the hits off of “Are You Experienced?”, the third side is pure psychedelic space rock (or maybe ocean rock would be a better term thanks to the subject matter or “1983”), and the fourth side is loud and heavy hard rock.  At least that’s how the American release turned out…I think the U.K. release had a different track order.

At any rate, the biggest thing I noticed about this album is the complete disregard for song structure in most of these tracks.  Even when Hendrix is playing the blues, he doesn’t always conform to traditional 12-bar structures.  Actually, the free form nature of most of these songs allows Hendrix the freedom to explore with his guitar and push himself far beyond the limits even the most exceptional guitar players.  In a way, it sort of reminds me of the transformation my favorite band, Radiohead, underwent in the 2000s when they began to disregard traditional song structures, freeing themselves from the standard “guitar band” approach and allowing themselves the freedom to explore beyond the boundaries of rock music.  Actually, it is this same sort of freedom that makes “Electric Ladyland” an exciting listen.

Other lists: Hendrix’ version of “All Along the Watchtower” is #47 and “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” is #102 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Ch-ch-changes: This album was also bumped down one spot from its position at #54 on the original 2003 list by the rise of “Meet the Beatles!”

My favorite track: “All Along the Watchtower”

Honorable mention: “1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)”…although the pressing of the CD has a mistake and changes tracks in the middle of the song

Quote: “You jump in front of my car when you, you know all the time, ninety miles an hour, girl, is the speed I drive”

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