Sunday, 24 February 2019

Santana - All That I Am (2005)


Released November 2005

This is the third in the series of albums in which Carlos Santana seemed to be "guesting" on his own offering, such were the number of all the other artists present. Like the hugely successful "Supernatural" and "Shaman", Santana sometimes seems to be playing a bit part to the guests fronting up the songs. As before, he functions basically as a supporting artist to a parade of guests singing highly polished rhythmic pop songs. It is all very professionally done, with immaculate sound, but Santana comes and goes on the album, however good he is - and, of course he is - but what this is, for me, like the others, is a good, summery rhythmic pop album, not really a Santana album. A bit like those interminable series of Rod Stewart and Bob Dylan albums of crooners, though, it is another trip down the same road. There are only so many times you can mine the same seam. Even the cover is lazily unimaginative.

There is an argument that many of the numerous Santana albums, particularly those from 1976 onwards, have been similar - Carlos playing some guitar here and there behind a succession of vocalists and musicians and while all are listenable, none of them really get you by the scruff of the neck. They just exist, happily enough. This perhaps just follows in the same fashion.


1. Hermes
2. El Fuego
3. I'm Feeling You
4. My Man
5. Just Feel Better
6. I Am Somebody
7. Con Santana
8. Twisted
9. Trinity
10. Cry Baby Cry
11. Brown Skin Girl
12. I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love
13. Da Tu Amor                                      

"Hermes" is a West African-influenced, lively groove, packed full of rhythm, addictive horns and classic guitar. "El Fuego" is a Salsa-rhythm powered Latin number, sung in Spanish. "I'm Feeling You" is a female vocal-led (Michelle Branch), poppy fast r'n'b meets rock number. "My Man" is a hip/hop-influenced workout that treads a familiar path "boom, boom, Santana's in the room...". It has echoes of "Maria, Maria" and "Smooth" from "Supernatural", in that respect. "Just Feel Better" features Steve Tyler from Aerosmith and is suitably "big" in its stadium rock sounds.

"I Am Somebody" is an energetic, contemporary-sounding workout with some fast-paced rapping (from the seemingly ubiquitous will-i-am) in the middle. It is quirkily catchy in its own way, but as with many of the tracks, not really "Santana", apart from the guitar interjections.

"Con Santana" is a more typical piece of Latin rhythm - all captivating percussion and Spanish lyrics. "Twisted" is a pleasant enough, melodic rock number that sounds fine, but doesn't particularly stick in the head. "Trinity" is an appealing instrumental, featuring some excellent guitar. "Cry Baby Cry" is a thumping hip/hop-styled number with accompanying vocals and the usual searing, knife-through-butter guitar. "Brown Skin Girl" is the sort of laid-back, tuneful rock ballad Santana can put out in his sleep. The same applies to "I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love". "Da Tu Amor" is a stirring Latin number to close the album on a pleasing note. As I said, it is all perfectly ok, but does it remain in one's consciousness or beg repeated listenings? Probably not.


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