Thursday, September 9th, 2021

Santana, Rob Thomas and American Authors – Move

Not fun not fact: when “Smooth” came out, your editor thought Rob Thomas was singing “like seven inches from a minty sun.”


Ian Mathers: It’s… not a hot one, I’m sad to report.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: As a fan of a shockingly large percentage of Carlos Santana’s 50 year catalog I am happy to discover that he absolutely still does have it. His play on “Move” is exciting, a masterclass in his signature style of jazz and blues-indebted latin rock guitar. Unfortunately everything else about “Move” is deeply unpleasant. The vocals are split between the faux-soul guy schtick of Rob Thomas and the completely anodyne presence of American Authors, the drums and horns sound like karaoke presets, and Santana himself is relegated to a marginal presence on the track. On his best work, from the late 60s onto the early 2000s, his music blended Latin and Anglo rock tendencies into an ambitious, almost-prog fusion. Here, he’s an exotic garnish appended to tired alt radio bait.

John S. Quinn-Puerta: A curse on the incessant beeping synth and overly busy horns and backing vocals for removing any potential this had to be a hot one. 

Nortey Dowuona: The swinging guitar created by Santana over the loping bass barely holds Rob’s electrified voice and the heavy drums, before the soaring horns sweep down, with the background singers and the shuddering bongos emerge at the second verse, before American Authors snatch the song back, before Santana pries their finger loose and swirls everyone around his startling guitar, launching us all into the air, even letting American Authors get in on the jam, and they land gently on the ground.

Juana Giaimo: I’m sure someone else will make the same joke, but this is definitely not smooth. Rob Thomas sounds too loud (maybe screaming at me to move won’t actually make me move) and Santana’s guitar is just randomly pasted and never fully blends in with the rest of the song. 

Jeffrey Brister: I’m honestly at a loss. No idea what to say. It’s not good, but it’s not bad. It moves along pleasantly, operating on the assumption you’ll be thinking about “Smooth” the entire time. It’s not plodding, it’s not annoying, but that also means there’s nothing distinctive about it at all. “Move” is flavorless paste infused with something that makes it smell like food. Not terribly filling, and certainly not worth revisiting, but it provided meager nourishment.

Alfred Soto: How much you wanna bet these clowns chose “Move” as a title because it sounds like their megahit a generation ago? At least Carlos Santana sounds like he’s — well, if not moving, then swaying in place to those sour notes he plays, his specialty. The rest is a horror of massed vocals and ill-placed drums.

Anna Katrina Lockwood: Since my dominant personality attribute is no longer Very Serious Teenage Radiohead Fan, I’ve developed some fondness for “Smooth,” and was honestly kind of looking forwards to reviewing this second collaboration from Santana and Rob Thomas. Here on “Move,” unfortunately, the pivotal production choice seems to be the absolute wall of autotune every vocal glissando from Rob Thomas is slammed through. It sounds pixelated, every note a shelf you could stack your books upon. The effect is so distracting that I’m struggling to remember any other feature of the song — probably not the effect anyone was going for on what is ostensibly a Santana record. There was definitely guitar present, some decent hooks too, but, nothing lyrically as sticky as that honest-to-god pop magic opening line from the OG. Feels like I’d like this better if I heard it on AM radio, perhaps?

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