In 1999, Santana released its 17th album, Supernatural. In addition to winning nine Grammys (and three Latin Grammys), the album topped charts around the world and sold millions of copies. Supernatural paired Santana with plenty of guests, which helped the album cross genre lines and win over a variety of music fans.
With its 12th studio effort, add Blues Traveler to the list of artists hoping to recreate some of that Super success. Blow Up the Moon brings in a slew of guests to diversify Blues Traveler's style and, perhaps, spark interest among a range of fans.
From 3OH!3 and JC Chasez on the island-style energy of the title track to the reggae dub style added by Dirty Heads and Rome on "Vagabond Blues"; from the pop-rock influence of Hanson on "Top of the World" to the country infusion by Thompson Square on "Matador" — there is a broad range presented. While some of it works, some of it falls flat.
"I Know Right," a pop-punk song featuring Bowling for Soup tries to be silly, but fails in its goofiness. While it might work as a Soup song, it's too far out of the box for Blues Traveler. Later, Blues Traveler singer John Popper offers the cringe-worthy "I thought I was alone, but you became my homie" on "Hearts Are Still Awake." "I Can Still Feel You" sounds more like Popper guesting on a Thompson Square tune than the reverse.
Too often, songs sound like efforts to land radio hits instead of honest collaborations that work for something more soulful and meaningful.