Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Five Best Reggae Albums of The First Quarter

In case you haven't noticed (and I'm sure you have), March is gone! That means that one quarter of the new year is complete and from a musical side, it was quite impressive. Already we've seen a nice variety of artists from different stages of their careers, respectively, turn in excellent work and we have also gotten the news of some big names still to come. As of right now, however, we take a look back on the first 25% of the year and narrow things down with the Best Reggae Albums of The First Quarter of 2013

#5. "Free Indeed" by Midnite [Higher Bound Productions - January]

The scrolls. Vaughn Benjamin & Midnite kicked off the new year in a mighty way following up what was an equally forceful 2013 with their brand new album, "Free Indeed". The album would also be the first and most popular of what eventually turned out to be a very impressive quartet of albums from Higher Bound Productions. In retrospect, the "Free Indeed" album (which was very popular and still is), much like the next entry I'm going to tell you about here, just covered so much ground in its fourteen tracks, making it not only a good album, in general, but A GOOD MIDNITE ALBUM which, arguably, puts it in an even higher class. Also, buried within its tracklist may just be my favourite tune from 2013 thus far, the MAMMOTH ‘Hemp Scroll'. 

CD + Digital
 #4. "Dredlocks Time" by Army [382 Music/Higher Bound Productions - March]

This time. Though more attention has been given and likely will continue to be given to Midnite's "Free Indeed", it was another Cruzan powerhouse on Higher Bound Productions who, in my opinion, served up an even stronger effort and a piece which may even find itself ranking higher on a list like this before the year is done. "Dredlocks Time" became Army's very first album in half a decade or so and it proved to be worth  the wait as the venerable vocalist would treat listeners to absolutely wonderful display of his immense talents. Tunes such as 'Push De Limit', 'Jah Will Guide', 'Blood Deh Seek', the conquering 'Modern World' and eleven others on the fifteen track release (yes, every song was good) were highlights. 

CD + Digital
#3. "Bring Back The Vibes" by Lion D [Bizzarri Records - March]

So beautiful. Italian based English chanter, Lion D, returned and proved the melody was still burning with his sophomore set, "Bring Back The Vibes". The Lion had to go quite a far way to provide something even suitable to follow up his debut set, 2009's top ranking "The Burnin Melody"… but apparently no one told him that such a pressure existed, because what he came up with alongside Bizzarri Records was wholly effortless and throwback genius (and I don't have a lot to say about this album at the time, because I haven't stopped listening  to it just yet, but you can well expect a REWIND before the end of the month). 

CD + Digital
#2. "Better Tomorrow" by Etana [VP Records - February]

Queen. The very fact that she had a forthcoming album, essentially, reserved a very high spot on any type of 'best of' list for Etana who delivered her much anticipated third album, "Better Tomorrow", earlier this year. As it was in the case of its two predecessors, the new album was nearly flawless and was a project which is of a great quality, for itself and is also one which is fully fitting of someone of Etana’s stature and abilities. She is of a quality where she really has no business at all making substandard music and… she doesn't. Billed as a set which was live-recorded, "Better Tomorrow" delivered as a wildly impressive sonic experience pinnacled by tunes such as the declaring 'Queen', 'Reggae', 'All I Need' and many, many more and I would not be surprised to see it rise to the only spot on this list which I have not given it - just like its two older siblings. 

CD + Digital
#1. "New Name" by Jah9 [Rory Stone Love - February]

Legitimate. Jah9 may have very well wrapped up the title of Album of The Year as early as February when she and Rory Stone Love brought to fruition her MASSIVE debut album, the fittingly titled "New Name". What the former (and current) poet did was to weave together one of the most lyrically impressive sets in a very long time and, in doing so, pushed her name even further as someone to watch. If you've been watching albums in 2013, at least so far, no one has given you a better show than the brilliant Jah9 whose "New Name" would get my vote as the Best Reggae Album of The Year - if the year ended today. 

CD + Digital

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