October 26, 2020

Santana - Marathon (1979) - €10,00

Marathon is the eleventh studio album by Santana. This marked the beginning of the group's commercial slide, in spite of having the Top 40 hit "You Know That I Love You". Alex Ligertwood, who would sing with the group throughout the 1980s, joined the group for this album.

Marathon marked the addition of keyboard player Alan Pasqua and singer Greg Walker's replacement by singer/guitarist Alex Ligertwood in the Santana lineup. Otherwise, the album was notable for consisting entirely of band-written material, although those songs were in the established R&B/rock style evolved on albums like Amigos, Festival, and Inner Secrets

On Marathon, Santana as a group lose everything that made them great except their instincts for pop hooks and the guitar. The first victim of this Santana outfit to go up the creek is good taste. This is a tired work-out, entirely made of kitsch.

So you get indistinct vocalists (or is it just one? makes no difference) singing terrible terrible lyrics on top of melodies straight out of empowering volleyball commercials on what is essentially a washed-up disco-funk record, brimful with pedestrian pop choruses, awful instrumentation and synths overall, and frankly, the guitar sounds lost, limp and assimilated in this context.

Oh, they put in some jazz-rock instrumentals and rockier pieces with „latino percussion“. But just think of a Las Vegas-mobster in a white trenchcoat and  pink crocodile leather pants writing down every possible cliché that gives funk-rock a bad name, who then injects Carlos with horse sedatives and forces him into the studio. This sounds like a computer-generated parody of one of my favourite 1970s bands, with programmed disco-beats, the „funk-rock“ guitar cliché switch on, and nasty „jazz sections“ courtesy of synth hell.

No thought has been given to find a decent vocalist or, say, to write lyrics. Oh wait, that’s not true, here’s a taste: „ If we help each other / we shall reach our destination, yeah / with love! / more love! / all we need is loooooooove!“. I don’t usually quote lyrics to dismiss a record (partly because bad lyrics can’t ruin a great record, partly because taking lyrics out of context, removing their musical and emotional frame, is an unreliable and unfair move), but the fundamental emptiness of every single line on this record just stresses how much this was an effort equally designed for commercialism as it was shambled together by uninvolved marketeers. That’s what it sounds like anyway.

I should mention that this is professionally played music, with okay craftmanship in the recording and some „catchy“ hooks.

Side A
A1. Marathon - 1:28
A2. Lightning In The Sky - 3:52
A3. Aqua Marine - 5:35
A4. You Know That I Love You - 4:26
A5. All I Ever Wanted - 4:03

Side B
B1. Stand Up - 4:02
B2. Runnin' - 1:38
B3. Summer Lady - 4:23
B4. Love - 3:22
B5. Stay (Beside Me) - 3:50
B6. Hard Times - 3:58

Release:  1979
Format:  LP
Genre:  Latin Rock, Fusion
Label:  CBS Records
Catalog#  86098

Vinyl:  VG
Cover:  VG

Prijs: €10,00

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