Album Review: Santana – In Search of Mona Lisa EP

In Search of Mona Lisa will be Santana’s first with label Concord Records, and his 25th album. It’s his first release since 2017’s Power of Peace collaboration with the Isley Brothers. We’re also looking forward to another release later this summer produced by Rick Rubin. This EP includes three new recordings along with edited versions of two of the songs. The first two tracks “Do You Remember Me” and “In Search of Mona Lisa” were inspired by Carlos’ trip to Paris, where he saw Mona Lisa. A few months later after watching his wife play a gig, he woke from a dream with the song lyrics already in his head.


Santana is a Latin Rock band formed in 1966 by Carlos Santana. Of course they came to the world’s eye with their Woodstock performance in 1969. After that, they rose with their #4 self titled album, and a couple more to follow. In 1998, Santana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They’ve earned nine Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy Awards. Carlos as a solo artist, won a Grammy in 1988. Santana as a band has sold over 100 million records worldwide. One of the best selling groups of all time. Fast forward to 2013, when the band reunited their classic lineup.


In regards to In Search of Mona Lisa, Santana’s website describes it as “Three spellbinding and transportive new songs takes listeners inside a magical and deeply personal experience Carlos had when he visited the Louvre Museum and set his eyes on Leonardo da Vinci’s beguiling masterpiece.” And oh my, the story about this seems too good to be true. So Carlos Santana had never been to the Louvre (home of the Mona Lisa). On one of his days off, he decided to visit with his family… “She has her own air conditioning and everything,” he says. “I was like, ‘Damn.’” Once the crowd thinned, he got right in front of “her” (he always refers to The Mona Lisa as “her”). “I’m like, ‘Wow,’” he says. “And then I hear this voice say, ‘Hi’ — and I’m not making this up, like in telepathy — and I go ‘Hi.’ The voice goes, ‘Remember me, when we were lovers in another time?’ And I was like, ‘Whoa.’”


Whoa indeed. Now I’m really excited to see what this album is about.


So of course, Santana IS Santana. There’s nothing like him. When you ask me what this album sounds like, I’m going to tell you it sounds like Santana. I love how he eases into the album, and lays down this funky latin groove. When I first heard of the ten minute opening song with a five minute guitar solo, I thought “oh no, here we go”. To be completely honest, I really dig it. It’s creative, groovy, and it sounds good. I prefer the guitar solo to the lyrics that later come in. Like I’ve said before though, it’s Santana. Not a bad EP at all. I really am concerned if Carlos is in love with the 516 year-old painting though. He’s serenading her in Spanish and such, and I don’t know if he knows this, but she was Italian. He gets more into his story about his eternal love with Mona Lisa in the album’s title track. A tasty, upbeat song. Reminds me more of a Disney tune, but that’s my opinion. Like from Hercules. I don’t have much else to say that you don’t already know about this album. It’s Santana, and that’s what you can expect. He hasn’t changed, and is still the funky Latin type that never lets us down. It’s an odd concept of an album, but that doesn’t make it bad. I think creativity is very important, and leaving creativity in the hands of Carlos Santana will get you something just like this.


As for now, Santana will be touring with the Doobie Brothers. Catch them at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO on July 11th.


“I know that a lot of people dismiss me like, ‘Carlos has a very vivid imagination,” he offers. “But as I say in every interview, ‘My imagination works fine. How is your reality working for you?’”


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