Personnel: Steve Vai (guitar, bass, programming); Julian Vai (vocals); Tommy Mars (organ); Deen Castronovo (drums).
All songs written by Steve Vai.
"Tender Surrender" was nominated for a 1996 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.
ALIEN LOVE SECRETS, which was once the name of Steve Vai's music/philosophy/advice column in a popular guitar magazine, screams open with a big, low, slinky, heavy and hairy groove. "Bad Horsie," which begins the disc, mixes strange sounds, tasteful fretboard acrobatics and a frightful lowness emanating from Vai's bottom 7th string. There is a rambunctious energy here reminiscent of the musical duel at the end of the film CROSSROADS, where Vai played the Devil's guitar prodigy.
Rock guitar fans will not be disappointed with the seven mostly instrumental escapades--many are altogether hummable, each bearing Vai's unmistakable personality and living up to his reputation for fantastic expression. The set is varied enough that each piece is drastically different, complete unto itself and yet completely Vai. The myriad of various voices and emotions he can conjure from six or seven strings, and a few signal processors, is impressive.
Aside from someone's momentary interjection ("Shut up! We know you can play!"), the only human vocals present are on "Ya-Yo Gakk," one of the cooler songs on ALIEN LOVE SECRETS, which features musical gibberish eloquently expressed by Steve's child, Julian. The effect is a successful mix of the goofy with the sublime.
After the disastrous full-band heavy metal project of Sex & Religion, Steve Vai returned to recording solo with Alien Love Secrets. It's a moodier, more atmospheric collection than his masterpiece, Passion and Warfare, which makes it slightly revelatory. With the new sonic textures, the guitarist again demonstrates his fluid technique, which manages to never become completely mechanical. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Entertainment Weekly (3/24/95, p.64) - "...In the liner notes to this instrumental mini-album, virtuoso Vai thanks `all the fine guitar publications'--you know, the ones that print transcriptions of his solos....But even those who don't give a Flying V about guitar heroics will give Vai props..." - Rating: B
Q (6/95, p.130) - 3 Stars - Good - "...has unequivocally restated his claim to sit at the head of the fret-melters' top table."