Santana - Supernatural



First Appeared at The Music Box, January 2000, Volume 7, #1

Written by John Metzger


Supernatural has been justifiably hailed as the comeback album for Carlos Santana, and while it isn't as strong as his classics (Abraxus, Santana, and Caravanserai), it is still a remarkable effort. Like Leftover Salmon's The Nashville Sessions, Santana's Supernatural features a treasure trove of guest musicians, and yet it manages to not sound forced. However, where the former drew from the Nashville music scene, the latter features a more diverse array of artists. Unfortunately, it's exactly this genre-jumping that takes away from some of the cohesiveness of this disc. Yet, one thing is for certain Santana's guitar sings beautifully on each and every track on the album.

How often is it that the strongest song on an album is not utilized as the single? In most cases, it is far too often, but this is not the case with Supernatural. For once, the best song not only was chosen for airplay, but it also actually achieved a tremendous amount of success. This, of course, is Smooth Santana's collaboration with Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas. This is certainly not a pairing that one would expect to work, and yet it does quite well, too. Thomas penned an irresistible melody, and Santana filled it with all the heart and soul he could muster.

Not all of the collaborations are quite as successful. The Calling with Eric Clapton is solid enough, but it falls short of the high expectations that are raised by such a pairing of guitar greats. Likewise, songs with Wyclef Jean (Maria Maria), Eagle Eye Cherry (Wishing It Was), Everlast (Put Your Lights On), and Lauryn Hill (Do You Like the Way) at first make for interesting listening, but they eventually lose some of their luster.

Between these, however, are some exquisite fusions of Latin jazz and rock, which are centered around frothy Afro-Cuban rhythms as well as an outstanding pairing with Dave Matthews on Love of My Life. On each of these, Santana's guitar soars with the kind of passionate splendor and spiritual grace that longtime fans have come to expect. It's these songs that lift this album above the norm, allowing both the musicians and the listener to achieve that transcendent altered state of being one with the universe. starstarstar


Of Further Interest...

Willie Nelson - It Always Will Be

Quetzal - Sing the Real

Santana - Supernatural: Legacy Edition


42nd Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Album of the Year

42nd Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Record of the Year - Smooth

42nd Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Song of the Year - Smooth

42nd Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Rock Album

42nd Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal
Maria Maria

42nd Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Pop Collaboration with Vocals

42nd Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Pop Instrumental Performance
El Farol

42nd Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal
Put Your Lights On

42nd Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Rock Instrumental Performance
The Calling


Supernatural is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright 1999 The Music Box