Real Illusions: Reflections review by Steve Vai

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  • Released: Feb 22, 2005
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (56 votes)
Steve Vai: Real Illusions: Reflections

Sound — 10
The first whole Vai CD I have ever owned and it did not disappoint. Steve Vai is truly the best musician I have ever heard, and this CD is nothing short of that reputation. The sound is of course diverse, this is Vai here. We have rock (Building the Church, Glorious, Midway Creatures), hypnotic stuff (Dying For Your Love), funk (Firewall), and then just plain craziness (Freak Show Excess). Steve Vai has what appears to be a dynamite sound, and he should get noticed for it.

Lyrics — 9
The lyrics are decent. "Dying For Your Love" reminds me of "Aching Hunger" off of "Fire Garden." Haunting, deep lyrics. Then you have the fun funkiness of "Firewall," a great song with cool vocal percussion. Then you have the ballad "I'm Your Secrets," and the deep exploration of the human soul on "Under It All." The lyrics are overall very good here.

Overall Impression — 10
01. Building The Church - good way to start off, has the sound of a classic Vai rocker with cool tapping. 02. Dying For Your Love - great song. It's definitely an acquired taste, I hated it the first time I heard it, but now I truly realize it's beauty. 03. Glorious - mediocre instrumental that isn't wholly memorable. 04. K'm-pe-du-we - weird title, but the song is beautiful. It's simple instrumentation (one guitar, drums, bass) and it truly shows the beauty of simplicity. 05. Firewall - just a fun track. Vocal percussion, horns, and great guitar, this song is definitely memorable. 06. Freak Show Excess - amazing. "Fire Garden Suite" is of course his best song, but this comes close. It's breathtakng how crazy this song is. The solo at the end will melt the skin off of your face. 07. Lotus Feet - a brilliant composition; should've won the Grammy it got the nod for. This song is done with the Metropole Orchestra, and it is brilliantly composed. 08. Yai Yai - filler. 09. Midway Creatures - ok, it certainly could have been better. It starts out great, but then it just sort of loses steam after awhile. 10. I'm Your Secrets - very bad. It's boring and really not very well performed. 11. Under It All - what a way to finish an album. This song is the best on the CD. It's a great hard rocker (done with a 7-string guitar to boot) and the lyrics are awe-inducing. The lyrics are apparently part of the "concept album" theme, but to me it seems like an exploration of the human soul. The part with the talking voices near the end is great. Overall, a great album, Steve Vai proves that he is indeed the greatest guitarist on the planet. Well done, Steve!

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I didn´t like 'The Story Of Light' so much, but 'Real Illusions: Reflections'! oh my, it is PERFECT, just that. It has it all and especially being his 10th album, honestly I didn´t think that Vai could overcome himself. This guy is amazing.
    I'm in love with Firewall. My god that song is so much fun.
    I was blown away by Lotus Feet and Midway Creatures... Lotus feet because it's a beautiful song and Midway because it's got the most amazingly powerful solo I think I've heard to date. I love this album, 10/10.
    "08. Yai Yai - filler. 10. I'm Your Secrets - very bad. It's boring and really not very well performed." I completely disagree. Those two songs are freaking awesome. Listen to Yai Yai. It sounds like the guitar is singing an old folk song. Very cool rhythms and melodies. I think he's using Digitech Ya Ya or similar effect on this track. And "I'm Your Secrets"... I would say that's my favorite track on the album. It's different, just acoustic guitar and singing. It shows that Steve can do other stuff than just play fast rock solos. Beautiful guitar playing and I think his singing is decent and fits the song pretty well. His voice doesn't bother me at all.