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Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced

Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced must be one of the most unique albums I’ve
ever heard, in the special attention to musical nuances such as specific guitar riffs, or
in finding the perfect balance between voice and instrumentals, a skill even the best
musicians have yet to master.

My favorite track from this album is Third Stone From the Sun, a song which,
each time you listen to it, you notice a different nuance that makes the song truly
remarkable. While I am usually not the biggest fan of prolonged talking sequences
mid-song, I find that Hendrix executes it perfectly. The way in which Hendrix chooses
to use that voice effect, makes it feel like the audience is truly listening to a rusty
intercom conversation in outer space. Especially when listening to this song with
headphones, it becomes such an immersive experience. When Hendrix’s speaking
voice gets added to this mixture, it makes the listener feel drawn into another world.
Hendrix’s voice perfectly aligns with the guitar, and it is almost a ‘backup’ to the main
focus, the guitar and drums. As a huge fan of instrumental-oriented music, music
heavy on bass guitar, electric guitar and drums, this song is the perfect ear candy.

Another notable track from this album is the infamous “The Wind Cries Mary”.
This song, despite the misleadingly solemn beat and composure, is intended as a
conciliatory love song for Hendrix’s ex-lover. It is an apology of sorts, his way of
pushing past his differences with his lover and making things right. Kathy Etchingham,
Hendrix’s ex-lover, was thought to be his muse for another renowned song on this
album, “Foxy Lady”. The origin behind the song, “The Wind Cries Mary” is quite
striking, for sure. A night began with Kathy making a home-cooked meal consisting of
mashed potatoes, and ended with her smashing the plate and walking out the door,
after Hendrix criticized Kathy’s efforts. Once he was all alone, he sat down that very
night and wrote the song that would become “The Wind Cries Mary”. Mary was
Kathy’s middle name, and Hendrix would only refer to Kathy as “Mary” when he was trying to get on her nerves, but in the context of this song, the gesture shows how much he truly cared.

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