REAL ILLUSIONS: REFLECTIONS REVIEW THREAD

This is the forum for all Steve Vai-related discussion including Steve's albums, videos, performances and frequently asked questions.
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Jonesy038
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I have to say, this album goes from sublime (Lotus Feet) to ridiculous (Yai yai and a couple of others). Half of it I love, the other half I don't care for at all to be honest. I certainly agree with the comments that this is no P&W or Fire Garden. I don't like the vocals, Steve is a guitarist first and foremost and, for me at least, the vocals don't come off at all and add nothing to the songs. I also felt that at times the music was trying to be quirky for the sake of it. I know some people like the quirky stuff, but I'm not a fan of it because I don't think it serves a purpose. I don't know if it's just some kind of desire to be seen as 'out there' but IMO he should stick to what he is good (nae a genius) at and playing his axes.

I think the most telling thing about the vocals is that I've listened to the album and I couldn't sing you one line because they aren't memorable (and yes I was listening carefully!).

I respect the opinions of everyone else of course, but I have a feeling the impending Petrucci album will by my favourite guitar album of the year.

Also don't get me wrong, it's a Vai album and it's better than the other rubbish you hear thesedays, and to be honest I would pay the money for Building the Church and Lotus Feet alone, which IMO are absolutely sensational songs. I hope the others are growers. Bring on the UK tour!!
BigBadMoFoGangsta
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I was expecting to be blown away by this album. When I first seen/heard the clip of Midway Creatures posted on www.vai.com a few months ago I was very excited about the new album. After hearing the song, the clip is in fact, the best part of the song. I would describe most of this album as riding in the back seat of a car with somebody while you are blindfolded and not knowing where they are going at any time. There are twists and turns but you never feel like your experiencing the journey with the driver. You keep thinking to yourself, "Where are we and where are we going" but the driver never tells you. I can't latch on to any rhythms or melodies. I guess Lotus Feet is supposed to be, in some sense, Steve's deep emotional, spiritual, and intense ballad but there's something weird about the song. As someone else has already said, and Id like to second, the hand-clapping kills the song. Also, the song seems to end all of the sudden, without bringing itself to a proper close. Without a warning or a sign thats its winding down. I realize that Steve is an artist and he is an incredible one at that. But I, unlike "some" others in these forums do not embrace the view that any album Steve releases is automatically wonderful, "just because" he is an artist. Of course, I've only ever liked maybe 75% of the music Vai releases anyhoo. But thats a much better percentage than Im feeling with this album. I like about 10% of this album. I don't think theres one song on this album that I can say I like from beginning to end. Yai Yai sounds like a good opening song for some childrens cartoon. I couldn't show my face driving down the main strip with this song playing. Please bring back the confused, spiritually deprived Mr. Vai. For The Love of God, Windows to the Soul, Tender Surrender. The songs that cry out "God, are you there? Where are you?". Im not much into the songs of the form, "Oh God there you are. I found You. Im so happy now." Oh, and the track with all the people talking on it is just weird and way too much. I guess what your looking for in a specific artists music is going to determine whether or not you like this album. I was expecting For the Love of God in at least 1 or more songs. I don't feel like I got that anywhere.
Last edited by BigBadMoFoGangsta on Sun Feb 20, 2005 7:17 am, edited 3 times in total.
V41
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I feel bad for Steve.

What if he decides to strictly be a composer some day? Will everyone stop listening to him? :?

He's so much more than just some guitarist.

It's a rock fable, anyway, not a guitar album.
Jonesy038
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V41 wrote:I feel bad for Steve.


It's a rock fable, anyway, not a guitar album.
Well I think that's one of the reasons it might not go down so well- Steve Vai is a famous guitarist, above all else. A composer and arranger yes, but a guitarist first and foremost. The majority of people want to hear good quality guitar music- you only need to look at the real illusions setlist request thread and see the amount of times that tender Surrender, FTLOG, Fire Garden Suite, Whispering a prayer, Crying machine, hand on heart and these sort of songs some up- Vai is at his best when playing great guitar music that isn't trying to be too pretentious/weird. Like I said before, Lotus Feet and Building the church are great, and some of the others will grow on me I think, but I have a feeling it will be the 'golden oldies' that get the biggest reception on tour.
BigBadMoFoGangsta
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V41 wrote:I feel bad for Steve.

What if he decides to strictly be a composer some day? Will everyone stop listening to him? :?

He's so much more than just some guitarist.

It's a rock fable, anyway, not a guitar album.
Yes I will stop listening. As Jonesy stated, people listen to Vai because he is a famous guitarist. I dont care that he's an excellent composer. I dont care if he's the greatest beekeeper in the world. I dont care if he makes an excellent lasagna casserole, I dont care if he is a world class tap dancer. When I buy a Vai album I want to hear that fukkin guitar scream in excruciating pain. I dont want to hear whismical, experimental quirkiness, unless its of a dark, depressing, painful, spiritual nature. I want to hear Vai's tormented soul cry out through the guitar like he has done in the past. I guess maybe Vai has found peace in his soul now and many of us who still listen to him havent. Therefore, he will be moving on without me.
V41
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Jonesy038 wrote:
V41 wrote:I feel bad for Steve.


It's a rock fable, anyway, not a guitar album.
Well I think that's one of the reasons it might not go down so well- Steve Vai is a famous guitarist, above all else. A composer and arranger yes, but a guitarist first and foremost. The majority of people want to hear good quality guitar music- you only need to look at the real illusions setlist request thread and see the amount of times that tender Surrender, FTLOG, Fire Garden Suite, Whispering a prayer, Crying machine, hand on heart and these sort of songs some up- Vai is at his best when playing great guitar music that isn't trying to be too pretentious/weird. Like I said before, Lotus Feet and Building the church are great, and some of the others will grow on me I think, but I have a feeling it will be the 'golden oldies' that get the biggest reception on tour.
That's only your opinion. Just because people are afraid, or don't know, to look at Steve as more than a "famous guitarist," well... I feel no pity for them that they're disappointed with the album.

After Passion & Warfare, no one should have expected another. And after Sex & Religion, no one should have expected another like it. And the same with the rest of his albums.

So it is with Reflections.

Steve Vai is always evolving, always moving in new directions. What more can you expect from someone who worked with an artist and composer like Frank Zappa? Who is as into Jimi Hendrix as he is West Side Story?

Maybe the common listener knows Steve Vai only as an excellent guitarist--which he is--but I would expect dedicated fans to see past that to the other parts of him.
V41
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BigBadMoFoGangsta wrote:
V41 wrote:I feel bad for Steve.

What if he decides to strictly be a composer some day? Will everyone stop listening to him? :?

He's so much more than just some guitarist.

It's a rock fable, anyway, not a guitar album.
Yes I will stop listening. As Jonesy stated, people listen to Vai because he is a famous guitarist. I dont care that he's an excellent composer. I dont care if he's the greatest beekeeper in the world. I dont care if he makes an excellent lasagna casserole, I dont care if he is a world class tap dancer. When I buy a Vai album I want to hear that fukkin guitar scream in excruciating pain. I dont want to hear whismical, experimental quirkiness, unless its of a dark, depressing, painful, spiritual nature. I want to hear Vai's tormented soul cry out through the guitar like he has done in the past. I guess maybe Vai has found peace in his soul now and many of us who still listen to him havent. Therefore, he will be moving on without me.
Have you considered giving Yngwie a chance? Because if it's guitar masturbation you want...
BigBadMoFoGangsta
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V41 wrote:[
Have you considered giving Yngwie a chance? Because if it's guitar masturbation you want...
Here we have an example of a post from a typical die-hard fan who could be compared to a Parent who views their child as "one who can do no wrong". Ill explain one more time. "Normal" fans of Vai listen to Vai because he plays incredible guitar. Now, if Steve decides he wants to make a lifestyle change and host a cooking show on a cable network because he loves food I might watch it a couple of times to satisfy my curiosity. It would be interesting to see Steve Vai hosting a TV cooking show. And I imagine I would grow bored with it after seeing it a few times. This relates to all things in life. If you want to follow Steve everywhere he goes and praise everything he does, go for it. Your in love with Steven Vai. Not his music.
sisterinlaw
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I want to hear Vai's tormented soul cry out through the guitar like he has done in the past.
Why does everything always have to be like it used to be? Okay, it's save, it's what you've done before... but isn't it so boring?! It's like Stock. Aitken & Waterman back in the 80's. The same same same same same. And in the end when we're old and silly it's still the same same same and it's the only thing we can talk about. :wink:

Come on, move on! Don't be afraid!
Steve Vai is always evolving
I think it's good to experience something different now and then. I should try more myself...... :roll:

8)
MSalle
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I just finished listening to the album for the first time and I'm kind of speechless. It has everything I think a Vai fan could want. I think it's beyond anything I've ever heard from him - Truly Amazing! I can't wait to see the tour and how Steve Vai and The Breed are gonna pull this off. Thanks Steve for an amazing experience. I will be listening to this for the rest of my life.
Mike
Jonesy038
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V41 wrote:
Jonesy038 wrote:
V41 wrote:I feel bad for Steve.


It's a rock fable, anyway, not a guitar album.
Well I think that's one of the reasons it might not go down so well- Steve Vai is a famous guitarist, above all else. A composer and arranger yes, but a guitarist first and foremost. The majority of people want to hear good quality guitar music- you only need to look at the real illusions setlist request thread and see the amount of times that tender Surrender, FTLOG, Fire Garden Suite, Whispering a prayer, Crying machine, hand on heart and these sort of songs some up- Vai is at his best when playing great guitar music that isn't trying to be too pretentious/weird. Like I said before, Lotus Feet and Building the church are great, and some of the others will grow on me I think, but I have a feeling it will be the 'golden oldies' that get the biggest reception on tour.
That's only your opinion. Just because people are afraid, or don't know, to look at Steve as more than a "famous guitarist," well... I feel no pity for them that they're disappointed with the album.

After Passion & Warfare, no one should have expected another. And after Sex & Religion, no one should have expected another like it. And the same with the rest of his albums.

So it is with Reflections.

Steve Vai is always evolving, always moving in new directions. What more can you expect from someone who worked with an artist and composer like Frank Zappa? Who is as into Jimi Hendrix as he is West Side Story?

Maybe the common listener knows Steve Vai only as an excellent guitarist--which he is--but I would expect dedicated fans to see past that to the other parts of him.
Hmm, well to be honest I am a dedicated fan, a very dedicated one!

I think it's very easy to get all poetic about stuff like this, and start going on about being 'afraid' and stuff like that, but to me that's just pretentious waffle. I am not afraid, I am not wary, I'm not narrow-minded. I have a very eclectic taste in music. It's not that I can't stomach an artist going in a new direction, it's nothing to do with 'fear' or anything silly like that. It is very simple- Steve is first and foremost an instrumental rock guitarist (when I say rock that encompasses the whole range from Bad Horise to Brandos costumes- I'm talking about his straight up 'guitar with band backing' stuff here).

In my opinion, often music can be a case of the hypothetical 'King's new clothes'- people dont want to say bad things about it because they don't want to upset anyone and condition themselves to accept that everything an artist does is genius. This is how I feel about a band like U2 for example (though that's a whole different discussion)- the music they produce does not warrant the euphoric response that it habitually receives, but y'know, it's U2, it must be genius, right?!! Maybe not. I feel that Satch's ITLIS was a similar situation, it was clearly not the masterpiece of SWTA or FIABD and was poor in comparison (and when I saw 'I like the rain' live i had to laugh at the Vic Reeves club style vocals!! That song is really cheesy).

Again though, don't get me wrong, I do love some of the tracks and I will play the album, but I sometimes feel that people drool over it and make out every second of it is musical genius just because it is Vai. Plenty of it is great, but it isn't flawless IMO by any stretch!
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lydian7
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BigBadMoFoGangsta wrote: Yes I will stop listening. As Jonesy stated, people listen to Vai because he is a famous guitarist...When I buy a Vai album I want to hear that fukkin guitar scream
I think those are the words of a metalhead, and not a genuine music lover. The thing that attracts me (and I'm sure alot of other fans) to Steve's music is his very personal and complex approach to composition and harmonic progressions. Of course Steve is a brilliant guitarist, but if you truly love his music and the soundscapes he has painted for you, then you will see past the mere timbre of an electric instrument. Music transcends mere trends, and if people are too self-conscious of listening to heart-felt music that their jock-friends would deem 'girly', then I suggest you listen to whatever shit is 'in' at the moment...take you pick.

If Steve Vai fans were not interested in hearing Steve's compositions in any setting other than a rock band line-up, then Fire Strings and The Aching Hunger would not have been the sell-out concerts and overwhelming successes that they were.

~Ryan
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lydian7
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Jonesy038 wrote:Maybe not. I feel that Satch's ITLIS was a similar situation, it was clearly not the masterpiece of SWTA or FIABD and was poor in comparison (and when I saw 'I like the rain' live i had to laugh at the Vic Reeves club style vocals!! That song is really cheesy).

Again though, don't get me wrong, I do love some of the tracks and I will play the album, but I sometimes feel that people drool over it and make out every second of it is musical genius just because it is Vai. Plenty of it is great, but it isn't flawless IMO by any stretch!
I agree (especially about the Satriani comment). Vai doesn't need another sychophantic comment to wade his way through, although I'm sure admiration is encouraging to some degree, we should be discussing his music sincerely. He's a big boy now, I'm sure he can take a little constructive criticism. ;)
BigBadMoFoGangsta
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lydian7 wrote:
BigBadMoFoGangsta wrote: Yes I will stop listening. As Jonesy stated, people listen to Vai because he is a famous guitarist...When I buy a Vai album I want to hear that fukkin guitar scream
I think those are the words of a metalhead, and not a genuine music lover. The thing that attracts me (and I'm sure alot of other fans) to Steve's music is his very personal and complex approach to composition and harmonic progressions. Of course Steve is a brilliant guitarist, but if you truly love his music and the soundscapes he has painted for you, then you will see past the mere timbre of an electric instrument. Music transcends mere trends, and if people are too self-conscious of listening to heart-felt music that their jock-friends would deem 'girly', then I suggest you listen to whatever shit is 'in' at the moment...take you pick.

If Steve Vai fans were not interested in hearing Steve's compositions in any setting other than a rock band line-up, then Fire Strings and The Aching Hunger would not have been the sell-out concerts and overwhelming successes that they were.

~Ryan
You diehard Vai fans are killing me with this crap. No, Im not a metalhead. I like any song that I can identify with in some sense. I like Celione Dions, "My Heart Will Go On', Kid Rocks, "Only God Knows Why", Aerosmiths "Amazing". But there is not one artist/band in the entire universe whose entire song repitoire is perfect. Aerosmith releases some good songs and some bad songs. Every artist/group is capable of this. We might even generalize further and say that artists release some good albums and some bad albums. You people frighten me who claim that everything an artist does automatically transcends time and space. Steve could be recording a studio album and sneeze all of sudden and leave it on the recording and you fanatic types would say, "Man, thats pure genius". Your a parent who can see no wrong in Vai's work. According to you, anyone who is a "true music" lover should love any piece of music ever produced. I could argue the same silly line of reasoning about any artist you profess not to like. Metallica, Creed, Motely Crue. "If you don't like <fill in band name/artist here> then your not a true music lover. Your not looking past their greasy long hair and adulterous lifestyle" You people who can't accept honest criticism of Vai's new album are extremists. There is no point in arguing with you anymore. You can't judge Vai's new album when you can't see past his name. I judge the music and the music alone. The album has "good parts". A nice little section in Midway Creatures, an excellent part in Excess Freak Show in the middle, Lotus Feet nice kind of spiritual vibe but not exceptional. Steve is "not" a God. He can't just pull incredible ballads out of his hat. He is human after all, right?
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lydian7
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BigBadMoFoGangsta wrote:
lydian7 wrote:
BigBadMoFoGangsta wrote: Yes I will stop listening. As Jonesy stated, people listen to Vai because he is a famous guitarist...When I buy a Vai album I want to hear that fukkin guitar scream
I think those are the words of a metalhead, and not a genuine music lover. The thing that attracts me (and I'm sure alot of other fans) to Steve's music is his very personal and complex approach to composition and harmonic progressions. Of course Steve is a brilliant guitarist, but if you truly love his music and the soundscapes he has painted for you, then you will see past the mere timbre of an electric instrument. Music transcends mere trends, and if people are too self-conscious of listening to heart-felt music that their jock-friends would deem 'girly', then I suggest you listen to whatever shit is 'in' at the moment...take you pick.

If Steve Vai fans were not interested in hearing Steve's compositions in any setting other than a rock band line-up, then Fire Strings and The Aching Hunger would not have been the sell-out concerts and overwhelming successes that they were.

~Ryan
You diehard Vai fans are killing me with this crap. No, Im not a metalhead. I like any song that I can identify with in some sense. I like Celione Dions, "My Heart Will Go On'
:lol: :lol: :lol:

But seriously, I'm not a blind devotee of anyone or anything, and I think it's healthy to question everything in life rationally. I've stated before that I don't think RI is as complex or rewarding as FG, P&W or UZ, but that is not because Vai is straying from his artistic goals. Quite the opposite in fact, I feel in callenging himself by producing contemporary classical music he is maturing and developing as a musician rather than stagnating and producing material that he has produced in the past. The great thing about Vai is that he always looks forward and he is always ambitious and artistically hungry to express himself.

But it this way, if there was an album of orchestral pieces composed and performed by Vai, and an album such as RI, then I would definately purchase the orchestral CD simply because I feel Steve has a wider musical pallette to paint his visions with. the electric guitar is a wonderful instrument, but there are a plethora of other wonderful instruments out there, and a million and one ways to arrange and interpret a musical piece. :)
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