Jimi Hendrix's second album doesn't resonate through rock history the way its gatecrashing predecessor,Are You Experienced?
, does. In places, it almost seems as if Hendrix is cruising, albeit sublimely. Yet it's a vital album, containing some of rock's molten milestones. There's the fluid psychedelia of "Castles Made of Sand," the viciously funky "Little Miss Lover," and the so-beautiful-it-hurts "Little Wing." Hendrix really hits altitude with "If 6 Was 9," where he waves his "freak flag high" over a tidal wave of guitar and a cacophonous army of Moroccan flutes, and he ends with "Bold As Love," based around Hendrix's typically far-fetched hankering for the axis of the planet to be tilted, thereby transforming life on earth. It works up into a head-melting frenzy of distorted guitar, a precursor to the staggeringly expansive leap forward he would take with 1968'sElectric Ladyland
. Hendrix dreamed the impossible and achieved it on his guitar.--David Stubbs