Best Jimi Hendrix album? - U2 Feedback

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View Poll Results: I stand up next to a mountain, and I chop it down with the edge of my hand
Are You Experienced? 4 30.77%
Axis: Bold As Love 4 30.77%
Electric Ladyland 5 38.46%
Other (Band Of Gypsys, Blues, etc.) 0 0%
Voters: 13. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-18-2008, 05:40 PM   #1
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Best Jimi Hendrix album?

To start things off, I'll admit, I have never been a huge Hendrix fan. Whether it be the lyrics, dated production values, or the relative thinness of the tunes, I couldn't get into his work for the longest time. That said, something has clicked. I listened to all of his first three albums in succession today, and was blown away. Maybe all it took was listening to more music from the era to truly appreciate just how important and brilliant he really was. Are You Experienced must have been absolutely thrilling upon release, and he just got better at crafting albums from there. I've made other best album polls, but this one should be especially interesting because he released so few studio albums before his death, all of them generally considered to be in the same tier quality-wise.

Here are some quick reviews to justify my vote:

Are You Experienced?
Though Jimi was an American, this is an unabashedly British record. It's not so much in step with the times sonically as it is in format. It was released in a very haphazard manner, like many early Beatles albums were, and as such, it is a very choppy record in the area of coherence. However, in my opinion, he never put together a better set of songs than this. Of the 11 tracks (17 if you have the reissue, like I do), only one or two are noticeably weaker than masterpieces like Purple Haze and Manic Depression. The production isn't fantastic, but it does suit the music. Sometimes, it sounds as if the tape is about to explode, and Hendrix's guitar sounds downright psychotic. A wonderful record, even if it never was released with a track listing that emphasizes how great these songs sound together.

Rating: A

Axis: Bold As Love
While lacking a bit in all-time classics (though you really can't do much better than tracks like Spanish Castle Magic, Little Wing, Castles Made Of Sand, and Bold As Love), Axis holds together very well. It comes across as a bit slight, but the album tracks hold up; Wait Until Tomorrow is desperate and yearning, yet extremely funky, She's So Fine is bracing British pop, and If 6 Was 9 is just bizarre. Overall, not my very favorite Hendrix record, but clearly a step in the right direction in many areas.

Rating: A-

Electric Ladyland
Generally regarded as Hendrix's most experimental and challenging record, it's also brilliantly-produced, providing the listener with guitar-crafted soundscapes, along with bristling rock. However, in spite of the sound, I can't quite get into this one. The melodies aren't quite as strong, the songs consistently stretch too long, and the all-time classics are, sadly, in short supply. Of course, they are present; only those lacking taste would look for something to hate about All Along The Watchtower, while Crosstown Traffic is badass funk, and Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) is more awe-inspiring than any 5-minute stretch during its longer incarnation. Elsewhere, Hendrix plays the blues he always did, but somehow it doesn't make the same impact for me that it did on previous albums. It's still fun, but next to bizarre outings like Burning Of The Midnight Lamp, and 1983, it just comes across as going back to what works. Of course, it still works, but it's not quite as thrilling.

Rating: B

So yeah, my vote is for Experienced. All three are very good, but the classics on that one are what won me over.
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Old 08-18-2008, 05:47 PM   #2
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AXIS BOLD AS LOVE

amazing, amazing album. Spanish Castle Magic and Little Wing are two of the greatest songs ever. I can listen to this album straight through and never feel the need to skip a track. Hendrix at his best imo
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Old 08-18-2008, 05:56 PM   #3
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Axis Bold As Love without a doubt is his best. My poor LP is about worn out but I've got it on my iPod!!
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Old 08-18-2008, 07:25 PM   #4
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The first album has more of the hits, but this really wasn't what Hendrix was about. You should know better, LM.

To me, each album was more ambitious than the last (as you acknowledged), and superior in terms of overall accomplishment.

I'd say I'd probably like listening to Axis more than the other two though, as Ladyland is too epic sometimes to sit through.

Personally, I prefer Band of Gypsies to AYE? as well, and you really should check that album out too as it was the last thing he officially released before his death.
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Old 08-18-2008, 07:28 PM   #5
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Electric Ladyland. End of discussion.
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Old 08-18-2008, 07:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazarus View Post
The first album has more of the hits, but this really wasn't what Hendrix was about. You should know better, LM.
Oh, I wouldn't call it his greatest accomplishment, I just think it's his finest set of songs overall.

However, as an album, the other two hold up much better thanks to superior production, greater coherence, and so on.
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Old 08-18-2008, 08:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LemonMelon View Post
However, as an album, the other two hold up much better thanks to superior production, greater coherence, and so on.
And your poll was for best ALBUM. So how do you vote for Experienced then?

FAIL at logic.
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Old 08-18-2008, 08:56 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by lazarus View Post
And your poll was for best ALBUM. So how do you vote for Experienced then?

FAIL at logic.
If we were voting based on coherence, I would have been more specific.
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:50 PM   #9
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Electric Ladyland. End of discussion.
Word!


"1983... (A Merman I Should Turn To Be)" into "Moon Turn The Tides... gently gently away" is pure bliss.
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:52 PM   #10
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Are You Experienced FTW.
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LemonMelon View Post
To start things off, I'll admit, I have never been a huge Hendrix fan. Whether it be the lyrics, dated production values, or the relative thinness of the tunes, I couldn't get into his work for the longest time.

Dated production values???
Relative thinness of the tunes???

WTF?

I think that Hendrix's albums were quite well produced and not that dated at all. Electric Ladyland is timeless and while Axis: Bold As Love's psychedelic finesse might place it around 1967, it's anything but dated. Only Are You Experienced has that a more dated production. And those tunes are maybe a bit thinner than his other ones, but aren't that out of place compared to today's tunes.
And oh, Hendrix was a brilliant composer. I'm more in awe of him of what sounds he could get out of his instruments and how they blend perfectly with his tunes than with his chops. And his chops are outstanding too, go figure!
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Old 08-19-2008, 02:00 PM   #12
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The first album has more of the hits, but this really wasn't what Hendrix was about. You should know better, LM.
Did it? I don't think that the original 11-track album had that many hits. Foxy Lady and Fire maybe, but that's it. (Hey Joe, Purple Haze and The Wind Cries Mary were singles that wouldn't appear on the album) That said, it's still a very solid debut.
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Old 08-19-2008, 02:02 PM   #13
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Only Are You Experienced has that a more dated production. And those tunes are maybe a bit thinner than his other ones, but aren't that out of place compared to today's tunes.
Yep.

Of course, I wrote that first sentence from the perspective of me about three years ago, not today. Now I know better.
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Old 08-19-2008, 03:23 PM   #14
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Fuck.

This is going to take some thought.

I'll vote tomorrow.
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Old 08-19-2008, 03:37 PM   #15
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It seems that critical consensus points towards Ladyland, but I find Axis to be the most consistent and well-honed album in terms of song-writing. In terms of sheer impact, however, "Blues" is absolutely stunning, although it can be almost overwhelming in its sonic assault. My vote then goes to Axis.
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