Apple Music 100 Best Albums

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Are You Experienced

The Jimi Hendrix Experience


A guitar-driven classic that fused blues with futuristic psychedelia.

Like a lot of science fiction, the futuristic qualities on Jimi Hendrix’s debut album—his sky-kissing use of feedback and noise and imagery—are offset by familiarity. He wasn’t experimenting with modern classical music like The Beatles or high-minded pop orchestration like The Beach Boys; he wasn’t even tapping into out-there psychedelia like Pink Floyd. Instead, he took the simple, gut-level sounds of the Muddy Waters and Little Richard records he grew up on and turned them into something new, foreshadowing the Black psychedelia of Prince and Outkast, not to mention almost everything blues-related that came in his wake.

Of all the endlessly sanctified albums that came out of the late 1960s, Are You Experienced is one of the few that still feels like a dynamic, living thing. At the very least, the concept of hummable, three-and-a-half-minute songs tricked out with sound effects is as good a definition of 21st-century pop as it was of Hendrix’s music 50 years earlier.