I have not listened to 'Strange beautiful music' 'Time machine' and 'Not of this Earth', but I have heard all of Satch's other albums, and for me this is probably the greatest album he has ever done. If you've heard 'Surfing with the alien', this album will be no different, but Satch has many more different, interesting songs here. Straight-ahead shred-rock (Back to shalla-bal, One big rush), some funk (Bells of lal part 2, Strange), a bit of folk/country (The feeling, Phone call) and a bit of 80s metal (Big bad moon). Don't worry, Satch still delivers the crazy guitaring with fantastic solos. The solos in all of his songs are brilliant, with fast out-of-control ones, to melodic slow solos. He also includes his famous double handed tapping tecnique in the beautiful 'Day at the beach' and the not-so-good 'Headless'.
But also, Satch does a bit of singing now. Some may not like the idea of that and I wasn't sure if i'd like it at first, but I found some of the vocal tracks to be just as enjoyable, from the punky 'Can't slow down' to the ballad of 'I believe' they are all great, but one of my favourites is the mid-tempo rocker 'Ride'. He also sings in 'Phone call', 'Big bad moon' and 'Strange'. Satch's voice isn't as bad as everyone says, his voice is suited to the songs (maybe with the exception of 'I believe'). You can still sing the songs, no matter who sings them.
So, if you want to listen to Joe Satriani, i'd try 'Surfing with the alien' first, but this is also a good album to try as well and my favourite of Satriani. It just has a wide variety of songs and it's a great 70-minute listen.