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Published: 2016/07/08
by Jeff Tamarkin

Ziggy Marley
Ziggy Marley

Strange as it seems, Ziggy Marley has been recording for more years than his father ever did—over three decades now. This self-titled effort is only his sixth solo album though, all of them following the several he made with his group the Melody Makers in the ‘80s and ‘90s. What’s immediately striking about each new Ziggy Marley release—and this one isn’t an exception—is its familiarity. It’s a comforting, feel-good sound. Marley, long ago, forged his own style and purpose, eschewing trends that have come and gone—he’s always stayed true to the roots—yet he is also well aware that he is carrying on a cherished legacy and takes great care to honor it. As has always been his preference, this latest set is stocked with anthems, some addressing topical, contemporary themes (“We are the people, we’re not corporations,” starts off “We Are the People”), others are more universal or personal (“Better Together,” “Amen”), and each track is accessible and lean in structure. Self-produced, Ziggy Marley finds the artist in particularly strong, commanding voice and leading a group of musicians who know innately how to serve him well. On “Weekend’s Long,” the first single from the album, keyboard spurts mimicking steel drums fill in around Marley’s vocal lines as the rhythm section, never deviating, provides an immovable platform from which the singer can emote to his heart’s content. For others, it might have turned out trite; here, it’s a winning, age-old combination of elements that asks for nothing more complicated than the listener’s love for unsullied, honest reggae music.

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