Julian Marley - Awake
I always approach the Marley family albums with some reservation. How can any of Bob Marley's kids ever hold a candle to their father? Bob paved the path not only for Reggae to reach the masses but pretty much guaranteed that any of his kids who picked up the mic would be shadowed from his past. Many of the Marley boys have seen some success: Ziggy is the most well known, more recently Damien "Jr. Gong" has made a name for him with his awesome Welcome to Jamrock album. Julian has been making albums for a few years but I predict that Awake should make him a little more famous. It's got a great flavor and is very reminiscent of his father's music. Julian's voice is close to Bob's and the reggae songs are as close to Bob's as most of the other family member's releases.
Awake is a good all around album. It's got some really good upbeat tracks as well as the cool slow jams. The music is well produced and has decent arrangements. Look to one of Julian's singles, "Boom Draw" for an example of the premium quality you will expect from the rest of the album. "Oh Girl" is more of a hip hop track than reggae featuring a member of Lost Boyz, it ends up sound a little more like Marvin Gaye rather than a Marley song. But he follows this up with a great reggae track, "Violence In The Streets".
Julian takes on good times, politics and pretty much everything else on Awake. Basically, he's telling you to be mindful of your actions and take responsibility for what you do. Awake is the best reggae album I've heard this year.
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