When I was growing up, Joe Satriani, Vai and Malmsteen represented everything I felt sucked about music. But now all I can say is, holy fuck, can this guy play! The suburban spandex-clad crowd worshipped the ground he walked on (or was that floated?), but I found his work an exercise in decadent, show-offey one-upmanship that gave new meaning to "self-indulgent wankery." Satriani hasn't totally left that behind, as evidenced by the title track, which somehow has me singing the NKOTB hit Hanging Tough, Joan Jett's I Love Rock N' Roll and Ozzy's No More Tears all at the same time. No small feat, but still not something I'd be bragging about. Thankfully, Super Colossal has a lot of different moods and textures, and when Super Joe slows the fingers down and plays at under 100 mph, the album comes alive. Check out the triphoppy atmospherics of A Cool New Way and the electronica-style One Robots Dream. Though not the most cohesive or fully realized album, Super Colossal does make for some good listening.
Joe Satriani plays Massey Hall Wednesday (April 12).