Reviewed By Jorge A. Vallejos
When you think of roots reggae who do you think of? Bob Marley? Peter Tosh? All the big names that are now gone? Roots Reggae is alive and well and there’s a Jamaican-Canadian artist, Odel, who has put out a new CD: Redemption.
Drummer for many bands such as Juno award winning Messenjah, Odel has traveled around the world spreading his beats in good fashion. Now, with his second album, he is spreading good words just as he did with his first.
Redemption is different than Odel’s first CD Body, Mind, and Sold which was nominated for a Juno in 2005. The title alone lets listeners know that this is a spiritual album. Odel’s first was more political and hard hitting. Redemption is soft, smooth, and whispers positive melodies into your ear.
“When I was writing the songs for Mind & Body Sold the U.S. was in war times, but now, writing Redemption, the economy has caused a shift in people towards being more conscious and community oriented so I see it as a time of redemption,” said Odel.
With 10 songs, Redemption has a little for everyone: love songs, spiritual songs, and a couple of cover songs originally performed by the famous Jimmy Cliff.
Redemption, the title song, is slow, chill, and old school. Listening to it you remember why roots reggae has made such an positive impact on our world. Its main message is love for humanity, freedom, and unity:
“We’re singing songs of freedom, yes,
We’re singing songs of love, oh!
And yes we sing redemption songs,
Cause grandma and grandpa taught us how to love.”
Love for all is a big message in Odel’s album. So is love for a partner. In Into Forever Odel shows vulnerability by expressing how he feels for a loved one:
“I want to taste your smile,
and savor it for a while,
cause I want to hold you close,
as we dance into forever.”
Odel continues his romantic expression in For The Love of You. With a catchy beat, and female chorus, this is another song to play with a partner during a special moment. While it is roots reggae it has hints of Stevie Wonder with its passionate lyrics and Motown like background.
“I am living for the love of you,
I am giving for the love of you.”
There is no selfishness in Odel’s lyrics, a testament of his true love for music, all peoples, and the world.
Knowing Odel’s history as a musician, the political vibe that was ever present in his first album is missing in his second. Songs of being harassed at the border for being a dredlock of colour, and other songs criticizing the materialism of the world we live in were missed, greatly.
Looking forward to a third album, a mix of the first two with new experiments would be welcomed by longtime fans and ones new to Odel’s music.
Pick up Redemption or download it at http://www.odeljohnson.com. It’s worth your time and energy.