Jimi Hendrix has been dead for the past 40 years, but his "new" music sounds as good as ever. Though Hendrix released just three albums before his death in 1970, the extensive recordings he left behind have been mined by his estate for 12 more albums. People, Hell and Angels (out Tuesday), a 12-track album cobbled together from previous unreleased studio recordings, may be the guitarist's most impressive posthumous release yet. Listen to "Somewhere," the first single from Hendrix' new album:
How "new" are these songs?
Many of the tracks on People, Hell and Angels are actually just alternate renditions of songs already heard on a variety of posthumous releases over the past 40 years. These versions, however, are "bolder and more exotic" than any recordings that fans have heard before, says Marc Myers at The Wall Street Journal. Throughout the album's 12 tracks, Hendrix can reportedly be heard experimenting with horns, keyboards, percussion, and a second guitar. And unlike many other, lesser posthumous Hendrix releases, People, Hell and Angels isn't padded with live recordings; instead, the album consists entirely of remastered studio tracks, from sessions that were originally recorded in 1968 and 1969.
What do critics think?
This album "captures Hendrix […] in an exploratory mood," says Marco R. della Cava at USA Today. "You're reminded that Hendrix could have gone in so many directions," agrees Rolling Stone's Patrick Doyle. "I even hear flashes of modern jazz. Hendrix is almost mythological for a reason." This existence of this album is "a testament to Hendrix's enduring appeal," says Stephen Thompson at NPR — and, admittedly, an equal testament to "the eternal struggle to maximize the clout of a lucrative catalog." Still, it's a can't-miss for anyone who needs yet another reminder as to why Jimi Hendrix is one of the all-time guitar greats.