Are You Experienced?

This isn’t just a disc, it’s a sonic adventure and it is still amazing even as pretty much everything else from 1967 has faded away. This was Jimi’s best album and the one that let the world know that a) he was an incredible guitar player and b) there were all kinds of things the guitar and guitar music could do that no one had really considered, much less recorded yet. The influence of this disc continues to be felt today across many genres of guitar and rock music.

Are You Experienced?, Third Stone from the Sun, I Don’t Live Today, the very underrated Love or Confusion, and the well-known Purple Haze and Manic Depression are all guitar workouts with Jimi showing the world what the instrument could do. There really isn’t a bad song here — even the very mellow May This Be Love has a beautiful outro solo. While many people who say that his later album Electric Ladyland is premier Jimi, I disagree. I don’t think he ever got any better than this and even today this is a completely amazing record, especially from a guitarist’s standpoint. There really haven’t been that many records released in the history of rock music that changed the landscape as totally as Are You Experienced?. No one has come along to make the “noise rock” of Third Stone from the Sun, I Don’t Live Today as cool and as accessible as it is here. While Jimi deserves most of the credit for this album, drummer Mitch Mitchell was almost his equal in every regard as he expanded the vocabulary and approach of modern rock drumming, taking it way beyond the simple rock and roll patterns of most players of the time. Even if you know all of these songs by heart, give the disc a spin in the headphones and relive the magic!

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