Flex-Able Leftovers review by Steve Vai

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Nov 10, 1998
  • Sound: 6
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 6.3 Neat
  • Users' score: 7.5 (10 votes)
Steve Vai: Flex-Able Leftovers

Sound — 6
This album was an EP that contains tracks that never made it to Vai's solo album "Flex-Able" (1984). It is heavily influenced by Frank Zappa, without taking away the breathtaking tone, imagery and technique that make Vai the brilliant guitarist he is, today. There is a very widely ranged and technical aspect to all of Vai's music, and, although this album is no exception, it should probably never have been released as an album. As an avid Vai fan, I tried desperately to like this album, but only one or two of the songs had any of the usual "wow!" impact that the rest of his music has. One song that stands out in particular is the opening track of the album, entitled F--k Yourself. This was the opening track and after the initial shock of the mild-mannered Mr. Vai saying "f--" over and over wore off, I began to get into the comic genius of the song. And the solo is standard Vai. Beautifully melodic, fast-paced, wonderful use of the whammy bar. The solo is a little reminiscent to Tender Surrender. After hearing an opening track like that, I began to wonder just how amazing the rest of the album was going to be. Next song up was "So Happy". This song just plain annoys me, though it showcases Vai's brilliance at making the guitar talk without the aid of a talk box, much more advanced than I have ever heard him do (think several times more advanced than Yankee Rose [David Lee Roth - Eat 'Em & Smile]). I don't want to ruin any more of the album for you guys, but, for Vai's standards, which are probably so high that he couldn't help to release at least one flop of an album (perhaps it was to show that he is only, after all, human, perhaps), the sound of the vast majority album was not very good.

Lyrics — 7
The lyrics, however, are very good, if you listen to them. Vai and Zappa both said that a guitarist needs to write good lyrics instead of purely mindless solo-ing, and that is evident here. In "F--k Yourself", Vai's odd singing pattern works very well with the song, and the lyrics are incredibly funny, (though you should not listen to the song if you are easily offended, are of a strict religious background or under 13). Other lyrical songs in the album include You Didn't Break It, which is very pre-Van Halen rock. There are other songs, but, like I said, I don't want to ruin it for you. After all, this is a review of the album, not a walkthrough. All in all, the lyrics are good, but perhaps would be better just read aloud in prose than in the sub-standard quality of this album.

Overall Impression — 6
Overall, this album is very very poor compared to the amazing standards of Steve Vai's work. Although very reminiscent of Frank Zappa and still containing Vai's unmistakable tone, this album on the whole failed to impress me. The most impressive songs off this album are "F--k Yourself", and "San Sebastian". The album is 54:20 in length, and I only liked 9:35. There is nothing I really hate about the album apart from the second track, "So Happy". The lyrics annoy the heck outta me! If this album were lost or stolen, I would not buy another copy. I would probably get the original Flex-Able album, and hope that it is better than this album.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    For Vai, yeah. Though for anyone else it was an above-average album. xD
    agent_sephiroth wrote: I can't say I loved it but sumthing vai fans should have nevertherless.
    I'm an avid Vai fan and I really did not like the album xD