The Story of Light

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The Story of Light
The Story Of Light.jpg
Studio album by Steve Vai
Released August 14, 2012 (2012-08-14)
Recorded 2010–12
Genre Hard rock, instrumental rock, progressive rock
Length 58:30
Label Favored Nations
Producer Steve Vai
Steve Vai chronology
Real Illusions: Reflections
(2005)Real Illusions: Reflections2005
The Story of Light
Modern Primitive
(2016)Modern Primitive2016
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
PopMatters (6/10)[1]
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[2]

The Story of Light "Real Illusions: ...of a..." is the eighth studio album by guitarist Steve Vai, released on August 14, 2012 through Favored Nations Entertainment. It is Vai's first full-length studio album since 2005's Real Illusions: Reflections. On May 23, 2012 The Story of Light was made available for pre-order through Vai's official website with an instant download of "Gravity Storm". The track "John the Revelator" contains a sample of Blind Willie Johnson's song of the same name.[3] "The Moon and I" was initially released as a VaiTunes digital only single in 2010. However, due to the personal nature of the song, Vai decided to remix it and include it on the album.[4] The album debuted on Billboard 200 at No. 78.[5]


The Story of Light is the second installment of the Real Illusions trilogy, a "multi-layered melange based on the amplified mental exaggerations of a truth-seeking madman who sees the world through his own distorted perceptions",[6] according to the booklet introduction. In an interview with ClassicRock Revisisted, Vai explained:

When I started Real Illusions, which was my last studio record, I wanted to do a concept record, but I didn’t want to do it in the conventional way. I wondered what I could do in order to make it different. I wanted it to span a long period of time, as it is probably going to be one of my life’s greatest works. I wanted to break it up into little pieces and put it out, not in a linear way. If you listen to Real Illusions, then you will just hear a studio album, as you will not be able to put all of the pieces together. If you read the liner notes, then you can start to put little pieces together. The idea is the same with The Story of Light. It is like Real Illusions, as it is a studio album. That said, the songs are all based on characters in the story, but they are not in the right order. The third part of the trilogy, which I will do sometime in the future, will be similar.[7]

According to Vai, "Captain Drake Mason... at one point writes a book. He presents his book, which is titled Under It All, to the town. The first chapter is called "The Story of Light". On the record, the lyrics are printed in English, but I didn’t want to present them that way because it is too obvious. I wanted to do them in another language to add mystique. I went through all of these languages in my head trying to find the right one. Every language has a dynamic to it. Italian sounds like music, and French is effeminate, so it sounds beautiful, in a way. German has a lot of rough edges and comes off very masculine. All of those had too much of a tilt. Russian is such a beautiful language because it has just the right amount of rough edges and just the right amount of romance. Still, there is an authority to it. That is why I decided to do it in Russian."[7]

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Steve Vai, except where noted.

No. Title Lyrics Length
1. "The Story of Light"   6:15
2. "Velorum"   6:09
3. "John The Revelator" (traditional gospel) Traditional gospel 3:40
4. "Book of the Seven Seals" Paul Caldwell, Sean Ivory 3:56
5. "Creamsicle Sunset"   3:30
6. "Gravity Storm"   5:33
7. "Mullach a' tSí" (traditional Irish Lullaby) Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin 3:56
8. "The Moon and I" Vai 7:18
9. "Weeping China Doll"   6:11
10. "Racing the World"   3:45
11. "No More Amsterdam" Aimee Mann 4:15
12. "Sunshine Electric Raindrops"   4:15
Total length: 58:30
Japanese edition bonus track
No. Title Length
13. "People of the World"  



  1. ^ Ezell, Brice (31 August 2012). "Steve Vai: The Story of Light < PopMatters". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Thomas, Fred. "The Story of Light - Steve Vai : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "Interview: Steve Vai talks The Story Of Light track-by-track | John The Revelator". 2012-07-02. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  4. ^ "Interview: Steve Vai talks The Story Of Light track-by-track | The Moon And I". 2012-07-02. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ CD booklet, p.1
  7. ^ a b Wright, Jeb. "The Story of Light. An interview with Steve Vai". Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  8. ^ CD booklet, p.10