Surfing With The Alien Review

artist: Joe Satriani date: 04/16/2014 category: compact discs
Joe Satriani: Surfing With The Alien
Released: 1987
Genre: Instrumental Rock, Guitar Virtuoso, Fusion, Hard Rock
Label: Relativity Records
Number Of Tracks: 10
"Surfing with the Alien" is the second studio album by guitarist Joe Satriani.
 Sound: 9.7
 Lyrics: 9.9
 Overall Impression: 9.7
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (7) 8 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9.7
Surfing With The Alien Reviewed by: Satchafunkilus, on august 02, 2008
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: First off this is one the best cds I own. I listen to this CD everyday. The sound is amazing, the songs are fantastic. For those that are already fans of Joe Satriani you have probably already guessed that there was no singing and there is no singing, but that does not prevent this CD from prevailing. Joe uses a wide range of skills in this cd. Example; in Midnight he two-hand taps the entire song, in a majority of the songs he tremolo picks and really shows off his skills as a guitarist. I would like to add that every song shares a story, you just have to listen. // 10

Lyrics: There is actually absolutely no singing in this CD. It's not all bad though like some songs from Dream Theater, the whole no singing thing is great. Occasionaly songs are already fantastic without lyrics. All of the songs on the CD will "mezmerize" you, and you will think wow this sounds amazing. Midnight; one of the best songs on the CD is full of nothing but two-hand tapping, and that song is perfect without lyrics. In a sense Joe's guitar sings like many will tell you. In the song Hill Of The Skull, the guitar sets the mood with a deep downbeat type song, that you can get so much out of, I think it's a sad song but that's just me, You have to draw your own conclusion. All though there are not any lyics I must give this a 10. // 10

Overall Impression: This is one of the greatist CDs I have ever owned. Yes it is only about 37 minutes long, but from the very beginning to the very end it is amazing. Example; when you listen to the first song; Surfing with the Alien, you can almost visualize surfing with a "alien". The songs are quite powerful. All of the songs are full of emotion, Always with me, Always with you, is one of the most emotional songs on the CD. The song itself is hard to describe, but once you hear it, you will know what I mean. There's not much to hate unless you like songs that have singing. I would certainly buy this CD again if anything happened to my copy. // 9

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overall: 10
Surfing With The Alien Reviewed by: JS Donnie F., on september 28, 2005
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: Joe's sound is very unique and speaks like a language itself. There are a lot of different styles on this album like metal, blues and rock. You also get very emotional songs like Always With Me, Always With You, and you can get very heavy songs like Satch Boogie. He uses a lot of different techniques like harmonics and two hand tapping (Midnight). The recording quality is great and you can really enjoy listening to this album. // 10

Lyrics: There are no lirycs, its and all instrumental album. But the guitar playing speeks for itself. You can really see a love story of Joe and his whife Rubina in Always With Me, Always With You and Surfing With The Alien really has an alien kind of feel. // 10

Overall Impression: My favourits are Always With Me, Always With You, Satch Boogie and Surfing With The Alien. I just love the way Joe plays his guitar. It is just so amazing! I love all the songs exept Echo, because it gets king of boring. If I would loose it, I would go straight to the store and buy it again. // 10

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overall: 10
Surfing With The Alien Reviewed by: unregistered, on october 15, 2003
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: The sound of this album is phenomenal. Joe uses so many styles of music in this album metal (Crushing day), blues (Satch boogie), and even egyptian (Lords of karma). Joe is one of the best guitarists out there. you never realize how complex and intricate it really is until you actually know what hes doing. For example, the track midnight only about a minute and a half but he 2 hand taps all over the fret board through the entire thing. // 10

Lyrics: I'm going to rate this even the album has no singing lyrics. Joe's guitar playing speaks on this album you can tell what all the songs are about just by hearing him play. In away I would call that lyrics and I would call them good. // 10

Overall Impression: This album is awesome it makes my hair stand on end. Joe is insane with his clever use of the whammy bar and random pinch harmonics throughout the whole album. There's really no certain style that describes this album entirely. The best songs on here are the first nine, I get a little bored with the last one (Echo). If you haven't heard of Joe Satriani then go out and buy this album NOW!!! If I lost this I would buy it again and probably a few more Satriani CDs. // 10

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overall: 10
Surfing With The Alien Reviewed by: unregistered, on july 12, 2005
1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: MY father had bought this album and when I heard it I had thought heaven had passed my ear drums. The instrumentels in this album were fantastic. My favorite track from the album would be Circles. I forgot what track but I liked in that track how Satriani used his incredible sweeping on the arrpegios in the beggining. // 10

Lyrics: No lyrics. But if he sung as well as he played the guitar he would be the greatsest singer on earth. // 10

Overall Impression: it is better than any stupid Nirvana or Green Gay albums ever. All of the songs are unique and great. I love everthing about it. If it were stolen id find the prick who stole it and shove it up his bum becuase he wanted it so bad then force the idiot to buy me a new one. // 10

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overall: 9.7
Surfing With The Alien Reviewed by: fendermustang12, on july 03, 2007
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: This album was WAY ahead of it's time when it was released, and it still sounds great today. Joe mixes several different styles of music in this album, so it never really bores you. The variety is so great, no two songs sound a like, in my ears atleast, and the songs never sulk a long in a very boring and long melody (like most of the instrumental stuff I've heard). Once you've heard the album once, your brain will be asking for another run, and another, and another. // 9

Lyrics: No lyrics, Joe's an instrumental guy. The guitar sounds very vocal in the album, and it works VERY well with the album. If the album had any lyrics or singing, I think the album would be ruined. I prefer the main melody to be in the instruments instead of the vocals anyway, so the lack of vocals is a plus for me. // 10

Overall Impression: This is my first Satriani album, though I have heard some stuff from his other albums, so I can't really compare it to others. Though compared to Steve Via's stuff it seems a little more exciting to me. The only downside of the album is that it's only 30 minutes long, though if it was longer it would probably end up being boring or too repetetive. This album is a must buy for any guitarist or music fanatic that likes variety. // 10

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overall: 9.3
Surfing With The Alien Reviewed by: E V H 5150, on february 27, 2008
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: This album is like if Jesus had formed a band, this is what would happen. Joe seemed to have put a little bit of everything in this album. Some of the songs go through many different styles, and it flows so smoothly. The action hardly seems to stop at all in this album. It will make you laugh, cry, jump around, and think. Joe Satriani, in terms of skill, cannot compare with anybody else. He is incredibly fast, and his composition skills are amazing. His music is completely original, and there are few guitarists as exciting as Joe is. Most instrumental stuff seems to get boring after a while, but not with Joe. He doesn't always need to shred insanely fast to make a good song, because it seems that, as a virtuoso, he is more concerned with writing good music than just showing how fast he can play. Music is about expression, not speed. // 9

Lyrics: If I was to rate the lyrics, I'd give it a zero. There are none. Completely instrumental. But Joe's guitar can sing. I'll just focus more on the songwriting here. Always With Me, Always With You is a prime example of how music is more important than speed to Joe. Personally, this is the most expressive and emotional guitar work I have ever heard. He slides around on the fretboard a lot on this song. The guitar playing is so smooth, and it just flows. There's a tapping solo, but it's not like Eddie Van Halen tapping, where it's just speed. He taps in time with the music. It's melodic tapping. And there's a little bit of a raggae-ish part. I can't really describe the song. It tells a story without words. Surfing With the Alien is personally not one of my favorite songs, but it is the title track, so it must be worth something. It starts off fast with a bluesy/ classic rock riff, and then picks up with a lead guitar part. And then it picks up into a fast thing. I don't know if he trills or taps extremly fast. But the solo breaks down, and heads back into that main riff. There's a lot of guitar solo in here. I like it a lot. But with so many great songs on this album, it just isn't exactly in my favorite three. Crushing Day is easily my second favorite on this album, behind Always With Me, Always With You. It's the heaviest song on this album, I think. It really moves, and doesn't stop for a moment. The guitar solo is just you need to listen to it. Words cannot describe. The rest of these tracks are all amazing. Every song on this album is an amazing peice of work, except maybe Hill of the Skull, which is just a transition thing. It's not really a song, but an interlude or something. Every song on here is a story, and each one is different. The skill required to play and write this stuff is amazing, and could only have come from somebody like Satch. // 10

Overall Impression: There is a long debate among fans of instrumental guitarists over who is better. I will say that if you like instrumental music, consider Joe Satriani. I won't judge on whether Vai is faster or not. Of the music I listen to, this album is one of my favorites. I listen to other stuff like Van Halen, Ozzy Osbourne, and a bunch of classical music and other stuff. This album would rank in the top five, if I took the time to consider such a list. This album is like a storybook, without letters and words and pages. Just sounds. It moves, and each track is different, but still relevant. This is one of those albums that will stand out as a classic. I have looked for faults, and it's one of those few that is just perfect. Some of the songs may become a little repetitive, but I think the guitar solos are interesting enough to counteract that. This album has a good balance of being musical and being shred. I don't consider Joe Satriani a shredder, however. To me a shredder is somebody who plays fast for the sake of playing fast. // 9

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overall: 9.7
Surfing With The Alien Reviewed by: TheEdge1996, on april 16, 2014
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: I can't comment on a singer... there is an absence! That said, Joe's guitar playing on this album is some of the most vocal-like I've ever heard, such great, meandering melodies he can produce with his guitar.

The production on this album is great, all the instruments are allowed to breathe and have their own separate place in the mix, which is especially noticeable during Joe's guitar solos (there's a lot!), where the lead guitar is right at the forefront, almost coming out of the speakers! 

Good guitar tones from Joe on this album, with the crunchy rhythm tone of the album set in stone right from the get-go. The lead tone is fantastic throughout, always having sounding powerful and always cutting through but never once sounding shrill. Amazing what you can do with a Boss DS-1 and a Marshall. The clean tone I feel is best demonstrated on the track "Circles," which seems to have some slight delay to it, creating an ethereal "soundscape" with just one guitar part. Genius! One song of note I feel is "Midnight" which showcases Joe's tapping ability with an acoustic guitar. Really nice rhythmic playing on that track. "Crushing Day" features some truly visionary playing at certain points, mixed with some great guitar melodies during the chorus. // 10

Lyrics: No lyrics, but I'll give a little description of each track...

1. "Surfing With the Alien" - Sublime title track, featuring a great guitar melody that really sticks in your head like a vocal melody would. The lead tone on this track really helps, it almost jumps out of the speaker it's that prominent! Great soloing skills on this track, tasty shred...

2. "Ice 9" - Contains one of the best beats on the album, again combined with great guitar melodies (using lots of pinch harmonics). Truly mental legato work on this track. 

3. "Crushing Day" - Visionary playing on this one... truly bonkers! Satch has to sit down when playing this live, a true testament to its difficulty.

4. "Always With Me, Always With You" - A soft, mellow track after the blistering opening trio. Some nice phrasing from Joe, with a great key change that really works in the middle. The transition out of the key change is also great. Top track.

5. "Satch Boogie" - Such a great track. Great beat, great riffs, great middle 8, and some mean blues soloing mixed in with some trademark Joe whammy bar squeals! Great stuff.

6. "Hill of the Skull" - Great track that really evokes it's title (it's all a bit Biblical...). This track provides a great bridge between "Satch Boogie" and "Circles."

7. "Circles" - Effortlessly brilliant track. When the delay-laden guitar comes in, an ethereal soundscape is created, which goes on for a while until the drums light up and Joe hits the drive pedal and the song launches into outer space. The song ends in a similar fashion to how it started... is this why it's called "Circles"?

8. "Lords of Karma" - Not one of the strongest tracks on the album, but nonetheless a fantastic track. Again, some great lead work, and a weird, sitar-like guitar sound in this song... or is that actually a sitar?

9. "Midnight" - Great little interlude between "Lords of Karma" and "Echoes." Some great tapping on this track, and when the percussion makes an entrance part way through the song builds up quite a beat!

10. "Echoes" - Good closing track. Weird 5/4 time signature keeps the piece interesting, as well as the prominent bass that drives the track along. // 9

Overall Impression: What I love about this album is that it showcases Joe Satriani's very rare gift; being able to combine properly great, memorable guitar melodies with drool-worthy soloing, along with some classic rock style guitar riffing. My personal favourite songs on the album are "Surfing With the Alien," "Crushing Day," "Satch Boogie" and "Circles." However, I like how each track flows into the next, and I would never listen to a single track (it's got to be the full album!).

If I lost this album I would buy another copy immediately, and if someone stole it I would hunt them down! // 10

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