Last time Ziggy Marley released a new album was 2014’s “Fly Rasta”, winner for the Grammy Best Reggae Album. Listening to his latest self-titled album, Ziggy better make room on his mantle for Grammy #8, in fact it may be Ziggy’s best album to date. The biggest complaint you’ll get from critics is that Ziggy is veering more toward a more Top 40/Pop style versus a traditional reggae attitude. But when your lat name is Marley and you’ve got a voice that mirrors his father, Bob, he’s already granted a free pass for being authentic to his reggae roots. The lead single, “We Are The People” could not be more timely. The lyrics remind us that “the ballots that we play are like the bullets in a gun” and “we are stronger than one race, one faith”. It’s an exuberant paean to peace, harmony, and universal love which has been Ziggy’s calling card his entire career.
I can’t stop hitting REPEAT for tracks #3 and #6, “Amen” and “Heaven Can’t Take It”. If Bob Marley was still with us today, these are the types of song he’d be recording in 2016. “Amen” has a retro groove that will touch your soul and “Heaven” is a powerful duet with his brother, Stephen that beautifully blends their unique styles. “We Are More” is the album’s biggest misstep with a repetitive chorus that breaks up the album’s flow but the bouncy energy on the next track, “Butterflies” will bring you back. On August 19th, Ziggy made a surprise appearance on primetime TV on CBS’s “Big Brother” to perform “Weekend’s Long” for the final seven in the house, let’s hope the appearance jump-starts some album sales for one of the best reggae albums in the last decade! Grade: A