Bob Marley - Legend Remixed
You'll hear the phenomenal Bob Marley's voice clear and true in "Legend Remixed," but it has been chopped up and tossed with different rhythms, beats, and samples, re-imagined and remixed. The success of this album depends on what you look for in Marley's music; if you believe that the machine of capitalism has incarcerated the legendary master and put him on display like a wild animal in a zoo you'll be outraged, but if you're just looking to have a good time, you'll want get up and dance.
"Legend" is the world's best-selling reggae album having sold over 40 million copies. Rolling Stone named it number 46 on its "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list. It is second only to Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon" for longest-charting albums in the history of Billboard magazine. The critics hail Marley as well. TIME magazine called "Exodus" the greatest album of the 20th century.
This remixed album is full of the tricks you expect: Driving beats, repetition, reverberation and the scratching back and forth of vinyl. Since the DJ is the star in this situation, style may supersede substance.
Marley made music to uplift and entertain, but he also made music to inform, inspire, and change the world. So you'll have to admit this is ironic. According to Dave Thompson's book "Reggae and Caribbean Music," Marley was "a ghetto kid who dreamed of Che Guevara and the Black Panthers." But according to the "Legend: Remixed" publicists "Three Little Birds... serves as the worry-free anthem for Hyundai's new Assurance Connected Care program, a new suite of features that allows drivers to feel safe and secure and enjoy a stress-free ownership experience."
Are these remixes true to the "legend" that is Bob Marley? Or are they the commercialization that has demeaned him beyond recognition? It helps that some of these tracks were mixed by two of Marley's sons; you figure they would have some idea of the meaning behind their father's work.
Stephen Marley's mix of "Three Little Birds" is masterfully ebullient, and it's hard not to feel the pure joy of the song. Part of the reason for this is the familiar accompaniment of guitar and steel drum that are absent in some of the other mixes. But Stephen's mix of "No Woman No Cry" should be accompanied by a mirror ball and laser lighting.
Roni Size remix of "I Shot the Sheriff" is a stylistic charmer that evokes blaxploitation movie soundtracks. You can imagine women in skin-tight jumpsuits with huge afros running around with guns.
Inevitably, this album will introduce new listeners to the great Bob Marley, but it doesn't really evoke a fight for freedom, justice and equality. Instead of coupling with the civil disobedience of smoking marijuana as a sacrament to your god, these tracks seem to pair better with raves and ecstasy.
Bob Marley and the Whalers
Island/Tuff Gong/Universal Music Enterprises