Wednesday, May 7, 2008

After Much Internal Debate Number 8

It is time for number 8 on my all time album list. For this spot I wrestled with myself for a while on which album to include. There was really 2 debates going on inside my head. The first debate was based on the fact that this album is more recent inclusion into my favorites. It has only held a place of great esteem in my collection for the past six months. I struggled over whether it was too new to be included my top ten. There are many albums that I had listened to in the past that would be knocked out of my top ten if I included this, but on the other hand this is all I have listened to for the past 6 months and I will always love this. I finally settled on including it in my top ten.
The second debate was that the album was not one album but several different albums by the same family. Reggae has quickly become a favorite genre of mine, and of course when one thinks of Reggae they immediately think of Bob Marley. Bob Marley is the legend in Reggae. But not many people will know that Bob had about 11 children and 5 of them do music and do it well. They each through their own flavor on Reggae and I love every one. Ziggy is the most like his father in that he does more roots reggae, while Ky-Mani is the farthest away by doing hiphop. Julian is a lot like Ziggy. Stephen and Damian both add hip hop, dancehall, and jazzy elements while keeping the Reggae. Of the sons, Damian is my favorite. He has released 3 albums and 2 have won grammys. It is his 3rd album, "Welcome to Jamrock" that I love the most. That album and Bob's album exodus have battled in my mind for which album should hold this place. I am going to give a short review of both below and then make my pick at the end.

In 1999, Exodus was voted as the most important album of the 20th century by Time magazine. This is the visionary Bob Marley's masterpiece, a concept album that distills the myriad experiences of both our daily lives and collective unconsciousness into 46 minutes of aural perfection. Of the 10 tracks, 7 were released as singles, a feat not copied until Michael Jackson's Thriller. Exodus was written and released in 1977 as Bob Marley was literately in hiding for his life, after an assassination attempt. Marley was always known for being very spiritual but it seems as though the hit on his life brought him closer to his faith, songs like the angelic 'One Love' the equaly big hit 'Three Little Birds' and the albums incredible opener 'Natural Mystic' are excellent examples of this. Marley had also been known as some what of a rights activist for his people, but living in another part of the world seemed to have brought peace to his mind about the harsh conditions back home because he was more focused on his universal truths such as fate.

Songs like 'Jamming' and the beautiful 'Waiting In Vain' brought Marley & The Wailers to the masses. These songs along with basically the rest of the album made the group giants in the United States and in the U.K. To me you can't help but be lifted emotionally and spiritually while listening to this album. Bob was a Rastafarian most of his life but in the latter days he joined the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

Below is one of my favorite songs.

Damian "Jr Gong" Marley is the youngest son of Bob and maybe the most talented. His album "Welcome to Jamrock" released in 2005 is an amazing mixture of dancehall, reggae, hiphop, and jazz. It was controversial because it brought attention to the poverty of Jamaica. Also like Bob Marley, this album is uplifting. I can not listen to this without smiling. The first track is the only weak spot in the entire album. The title track was the biggest single but other stand outs are Keep On Walking featuring Nas, Beautiful featuring Bobby Brown, The Master Has Come Back, and Move with a sample of Exodus.

This album went on to win the Grammy for best Reggae album and best Urban Performance. I have listened to this album almost everyday for the past 3 months.

So who will be number 8? Will it be the Legend? Or will the son trump over the father?

Drum Roll........................................................................

Coming in at number 8 is Damian Marley's Welcome to Jamrock.
While Bob Marley is definitely the legend and exodus is his best album, I prefer his greatest hits album, Legend( which I would put in my top 3 greatest hits albums) So therefore I am going to give this spot to his son. When I listen to the album it lifts me up. While this is Jamaican it reminds me of the Philippines.
Both albums are amazing and I encourage everyone to go get both of them and make up their mind for themselves which they like better.

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