Sunday, March 10, 2013

Discography: Etana

Perfect. If you make two albums, and only two albums, and both of them come through as, at their very WORST, prime contenders for Album of The Year in their respective timeframes, then you have my attention. You don't have to do anything else. However, if you do make a third album and, at some point in mid-March of a given year, that album is the leading candidate to, once again, be the finest release of the year… oh and you consistently make good music all of the time anyway, well then although I know people like me throw around words like "legend" entirely too much, but even knowing that I won't hesitate to point it, in the future sense, in your direction. This is the case today only for Etana, whose three-album catalog includes, in my opinion, two AoTY, a Modern Classic, and another album which seems poised to, at least in my opinion, make her 3/3 for best albums. She's also been thoroughly delightful and a POWERFUL voice and face for the next generation of Reggae music. Today we take a look at the album catalog of a landmark individual who, in her brief time, has already given us landmark moments. Discography: Etana
The music of Etana
"The Strong One" [VP Records - 2008]

'Warrior Love'

Won't forget. If you sat very quietly and  motionless you could probably still feel the reverberations left by Etana's very first album which was full of tunes which would announce the songstress' arrival on the biggest stage of the music and play a major role in introducing her and her fantastic music to the masses. "The Strong One" album, even now, remains a personal favourite of mine and, in its time, was so widely acclaimed that it almost seemed as if people were not only reacting to the actual music on the album, but also the prospect of having someone like Etana around on a most consistent basis. Nearly half a decade later and she's fulfilled on every drop of potential heard here. The release was full of highlights but definitely bubbling around the pinnacle were tunes such as previous hits 'Wrong Address' & 'Roots', the Kemar McGregor produced 'I Am Not Afraid', 'Caltariba System' and 'Warrior Love'. One of the best debut albums of all time and a bonafide modern classic - "The Strong One" was the best album I heard in 2008.  

"Free Expressions" [VP Records - 2011]


Thinking freely. Looking back, Etana's sophomore set, "Free Expressions", very much came through like a story. Perhaps it was a matter of just how extremely VISIBLE that album was or some other wonderful characteristic, but it definitely seemed very well planned out and done so for a specific purpose. And that certainly isn't to say that it was monotonous because, as its title suggests, "Free Expressions" dealt with a very wide variety of topics and, by its end, was a thoroughly satisfying album. Also, I feel like saying that despite how absolutely lofty it was, I think it may've been even better than most of us gave it credit for being (if such a thing is possible in this case). Shining brightest here were tracks such as 'Free', 'Mocking Bird', 'Happy Heart', 'War' ["there will always be that church - who believe that their way is the only to Jah Jah"], 'August Town' and  quite a few others (including ‘I Got You' which I am LOVING at the moment). Though maybe slightly underrated, "Free Expressions" was the best album I heard in 2011.  

"Better Tomorrow" [VP Records - 2013]

Queen. We'd gotten into the habit of referring to Etana as and seeing and hearing others refer to her as "princess". Presumably that was a matter of age and her not actually having the time to accomplish the work of a "queen". Were that the case, then I think that Etana, who is approaching the thirtieth anniversary of her birth (and looks sooooooo good doing it, she is a STUNNINGLY beautiful human being) crossed that border with the recent release of her third album, the absolutely seamless "Better Tomorrow". Along with carrying a song called 'Queen' (the best song on the album in my opinion), the Shane Brown produced album shone from beginning to end and was probably her most personal release to date (which is saying a lot if you're familiar with the first two albums on this list) and it was also a live record, which made its sonic appeal very high (great sonic appeal of great music = usually something special). Songs like the golden ‘Reggae', 'Strongest', the title song and… pretty much every song on this album carried the listener on one beautiful emotional journey which, perhaps, reached its peak in the crowning of Etana as THE reigning Queen of Reggae music. It's way too early to proclaim it so, but someone will have to do something really special in the next eight months and three weeks to keep "Better Tomorrow" from being the best album I hear in 2013. 

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