Many have dismissed Jefferson Airplane as west coast USA Hippie one hit wonders. Although they weren’t as consistent as some other scene blazers of the time, this album is widely considered a classic of psychedelic rock. But, does it still match that target today? Let’s find out.
We begin with She Has Funny Cars with its memorable drum beat and clanging guitars, before the rest of the band kick in. It sounds quite good, with a wide array of diverse sounds, vocally and musically. The lyrics are a straightforward thing of the time. A nice song to begin this album with, and the mixture of male and female vocals (the latter from contributor Grace Slick) are pleasant and this is a really good start to a psychedelic rock album. The guitar solos here in the fade out are exciting.
Next is the pop classic Somebody To Love which has been covered many times in pop/rock music, and is instantly recognizable and still a good song today. A really well thought out singalong and good piece to hear, Jefferson Airplane do very well here. A good tune, and suitable as a crossover track from the group to other music listeners who do not know a lot about the music of Jefferson Airplane and the hippie scene in general. The guitar solo sounds super druggy, with some intricacies about it. Nice tune.
My Best Friend sounds like Burt Bacharach attempting a country tune, rather odd if you think about it. Undeniably, it is another good laidback and well done effort by Jefferson Airplane. It is a refreshing listen, and was likely an attempt at a Grateful Dead sort of piece. It has some slight tempo changes in it, making this somewhat different to other listens out there. The whole thing works well, and the mix of male and female vocals show that one can approach a wider audience with this sort of music.
Today starts with some deep and melodic acoustic guitar, before a lone vocal enters the scene. This is super mellow, and no doubt hippies especially those in California would have dug tunes such as these. It’s not so much a psychedelic statement as a personal one. Refreshing, different and original is this tune. This has a real sense of romanticism about it, which is really cool. It is somewhat of a vocal plea of a love song, but hey, this is good and different music.
Next is the acoustic led Comin’ Back To Me which has some really great melodies on said acoustic guitars in the intro, before a flute like organ sound comes through. Lyrically, it is super trippy, even if there is an air of melancholy about it. It may be about a hallucination itself, but it is a relaxing and superb listen. Too bad the world of music doesn’t do such great albums as this one anymore, the Jefferson Airplane were great Hippie musicians. It’s a rather extended music piece, but all the same, it is suspenseful and melodic enough to be a touching listen. Great piece of work here. It is a song about love and the desire that comes with it, a nice tune.
Following is 3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds which is a more straightforward tune and is a lot more exciting, danceable and up tempo than a lot of other music at the time. It is a cheerful song which doesn’t make a lot of sense lyrically, but is pop/rock goodness. A great and danceable listen with a slide guitar (possibly backwards) solo, it sounds gorgeous. Funky hippie stuff for you to hear nearly 60 years later, another great listen.
D.C.B.A.-25 begins with a descending bass guitar pattern before going into a good mellow piece, perhaps proving that you do not need to crank everything to full to get a good sound, something most pop artists should take a note of. It is a good song with the mixture of stunning vocal performances, beautiful melody and a great sense that the group here were doing well. Excellent song. It sounds diverse and unique, which is a good thing to hear.
How Do You Feel begins with beautiful flute, acoustic guitar, gentle basslines and sings more romanticism. This is way different from many other bands before or since, the romanticism here is infectious. A nice and very listenable music piece, it sounds top. The flute riff throughout is very cool, obviously the Jefferson Airplane were listening to many different types of music at the time. It has a lovely guitar solo that sounds wonderful, both the electric guitars and acoustic guitars on this record are sweet.
Next is Embryonic Journey which has a fingerpicked acoustic solo that sounds well played and amazing. It is really excellent playing and precision of rhythm and melody here. A nice and welcome change from the songs that make up the majority of the album, it is short and sweet.
The big song of this album is White Rabbit which is a two and a half pop song which sounds very interesting, with a subdued intro to it. It talks directly about drug use and refers to the story of Alice In Wonderland and it also has an eastern melody about it. A great idea of a song, and talks about real and fictional drug use, it is a great and wonderful piece with an awesome vocal performance from Grace Slick. A must listen. Feed your head, indeed.
Plastic Fantastic Lover has a mixture of acoustic guitar playing, slide guitar and musically is a great effort. It is a strange Hippie song, but it sounds great, particularly the lead guitar playing here. It’s not easy to make good music, but Jefferson Airplane never fail to disappoint on this album. A fresh sounding listen.
This is a great album that although seemingly to some may be merely psychedelic rock, it is much more than that. The album is a musical treat, uplifting, emotional and above all, a great listen. If you dig Hippie music and ideals, be sure to check this album out. Re-releases have a bunch of bonus tracks on them, so be sure to check those out, too.