1979 album from the Reggae legend. Survival is an album with an outwardly militant theme. Some speculate that this was due in part to criticism Marley received for the laid-back, ganja-soaked atmosphere of his previous release, Kaya, which seemed to sidetrack the urgency of his message.
This Southern California band certainly has reason to be in good spirits lately. Its fidgety brand of ska-punk went kaput a few years ago, and while they watched several of their contemporaries rinse away, the members of Reel Big Fish inexplicably now find themselves on the same label as platinum pop stars Britney Spears and 'N Sync. Good for them. Cheer Up! is the kind of feisty, kinetic album that people stopped making years ago--"Ban the Tubetop" is pure Oingo Boingo frivolity, "What Are Friends For" revisits the tubular splendor of Fishbone, while "Good Thing" wouldn't sound entirely out of place on a vintage Elvis Costello disc. Not quite as knowingly hip as Sum 41, and clearly not as commercially savvy as No Doubt, Reel Big Fish occupy a precarious position, and they know it. The intro to "Where Have You Been?," the closest thing they have going to a Blink-182 song, features an answering-machine message left by a disgruntled record company employee begging for just one "modern rock" single. As if. --Aidin Vaziri
Reggaeton star Daddy Yankee balances dance music with philosophical tunes on this 21-track CD. The engine driving this collection is the smash single "Gasolina," with its basic reggae beat and its catchy chorus "Dame mas gasolina!" ("Give me more gasoline"). Also highly danceable are "No me Dejes Solo," featuring guest singers Wisin y Yandel, and the English-language pop-reggaeton tune "Like You." But Daddy Yankee also reflects on his barrio on "Salud y Vida" ("Health and Life"), a rap tune that questions society's endless pursuit of material things. Like fellow raggeton artists Tego Calderon, Daddy Yankee admires big-band salsa. Among his influences he counts noted singer Andy Montanez, who guests on the track "Sabor a Melao." Montanez's distinctive gruff vocals add a soulful flavor to the track. --Ramiro Burr
When this 1995 LP hit the airwaves, all of reggaedom exhaled, and Banton instantly became the sun around which all other reggae artists revolve. He satisfied reggae music/culture's constant craving for an object of worship by delivering an album that could've come from Bob Marley's canon at the same time that it's quintessentially Buju. Banton's coarse, dancehall-honed bass rap breaks out into song for the first time here, fulfilling Marley's demand that reggae vocals be r-r-r-r-rough, never "pretty-pretty." And what songs they are! From the title track to "Til I'm Laid to Rest" this masterwork is a true soul satisfier. Banton also follows the lead of reggae's holy ghost by perserving his versatility, in particular by not abandoning his dancehall roots. Irresistible "Win' up and skin out" turns like "Champion" elucidate the undeniable link between mountain top Rastaman and dancehall rude bway.