For his Supernatural follow-up the Grammy guru gets his metaphysical groove on
”It’s kind of like making love for the first time again,” says Carlos Santana of reentering the studio, after a year’s sabbatical, to record the follow-up to his megasuccessful Grammy magnet of a comeback album, Supernatural. ”The song we recorded last night, the feeling was like watching someone give birth. If you’ve ever been in a room where someone gave birth, you get the divine and the physical. The divine smells like lilacs, and the physical smells like chicken soup.” Questions of metaphysics and aromatherapy aside, the guitar guru admits he has high expectations for the album (which may be called Shaman): ”As I said to Mr. Clive Davis, with Supernatural, we knocked on the door. With this, we’re gonna walk in.” Not to focus too much on crass showbiz concerns, but are there any high-wattage guest stars scheduled? ”There are gonna be some guests, but I can’t tell you who,” says an uncharacteristically reticent Santana. ”I can tell you some of my African brothers and sisters such as Femi Kuti and Angelique Kidjo may have some participation in writing or performing.” Santana says that J Records chief Davis, who executive-produced Supernatural, is once again taking a hands-on role with the new album. As for a release date, Santana is hoping for early spring, but nothing’s set in stone: ”When the baby’s ready, it will come out.” We can almost smell the lilacs.
Hip-hop’s mad professors conduct a course in Phrenology
The Roots aren’t your average hip-hop crew. For one thing, they play instruments. For another, they don’t rush to put out repetitive albums every year, preferring to take time and explore new sounds. ”With every album, we manage to shock people in some way,” says drummer and bandleader Ahmir ”?uestlove” Thompson. After years as alt-rap heroes, things finally came together on 1999’s Things Fall Apart, as mainstream audiences hipped to their smart, jazzy grooves. On Phrenology, due June 29, the ”illadelph” crew aim to surprise once again. ”This record is turning out to be our most aggressive and personal—it’s almost like a rock record,” says Thompson. Guitar-driven rave-ups like ”Rock You” and ”The Seed,” featuring underground funk-rock freak Cody Chestnut, will definitely raise eyebrows. Collaborations with Nelly Furtado and Project Pat of the Three 6 Mafia will keep pop and hardcore-rap fans on board. And the possible cover of the Rolling Stones’ ”Miss You” will provoke an appropriate cry of ”Say what?!”
After a long wait, the rock chic(k) finally fashions a new Come On
Crow was going to call her new CD Songs From the Waiting Room, a title that evokes Muzak versions of ”Norwegian Wood.” That, not surprisingly, isn’t the vibe she was aiming for. ”It’s a throwback to summer classic rock,” she says. ”I wanted it to feel like the music of my summer youth: Rumours, Steve Miller, Lynyrd Skynyrd.” Now tentatively retitled Come On, Come On and due in late March, the CD features collaborators like Lenny Kravitz, Liz Phair, Don Henley, and Dixie Chick Natalie Maines. The likely first single, ”Soak Up the Sun,” is a Beach Boys-ish ode to not taking it all too seriously, while her duet with Kravitz, ”You’re an Original,” takes on teen pop. ”It’s a retort to what’s going on on MTV, fabricated pop stars,” says Crow. ”I think people are ready for more substance. If everything depends on wearing the skimpiest outfit and dancing with a reptile, then we’re all in trouble.”