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Jah! Rastafari. Something about reggae music just makes me smile, and I don’t smoke pot so you don’t have to be stoned to enjoy the mellow moods sung by Culture's lead man, Joseph Hill. Perhaps, I really liked this album because that it’s filled with very spiritual uplifting music without an overpowering gospel sound. If you like gospel reggae you might enjoy Christafari which is a Christian reggae band with much more of a church choir sound, but Culture doesn’t do that. World Peace is Culture’s thirtieth album of modern reggae rooted with classic guitar riffs and simple beats that will make you want to dance. Though this album sounds just as great as Two Sevens Clash, which was Culture’s second album released in 1977 which made Rolling Stones list of 50 coolest albums.
All the songs were written, sung, and produced by Joseph “Culture” Hill at the Mixing Lab in Kingston, Jamaica. Culture is accompanied by the Firehouse Crew and the musicians from Shaggy’s band which bring together such a classic sound that I can’t really tell if this album is new or just newly released old material which is a great cause Hill stays true to reggae’s classic sound and doesn’t modernized songs to combat with reggae artists like Sean Paul.
The songs talk about universal topics of people rising from poverty, Marcus Garvey, and segregation issues that still effect the people of Jamaica. I’m a white guy from White Plains, so some songs don’t mean anything to me, but everybody can relate to the ideas of “Sweet Freedom” or “World Peace” due to the situation of conflict in the world ocuring today, unless you voted for Bush.
So, by listening to the album twice, I had already memorized most of the understandable lyrics and picked my favorite songs that I’d be singing and dancing too if attending a Culture concert. If you listen to Bob Marley, you may really enjoy tunes like, “Never Get Weary”and “Holy Mount Zion.” These two songs are very reminiscent of songs like “Rasataman Chant” with it’s funky djembe drum beat and melodic chant that is very catchy. The lyrics are very repetitive and simple to memorize.
Overall, World Peace is a good album that I would put in my car for a great summer drive, or chant along to while working out or drawing. Being an overly realistic, sometimes pessimistic person, this music of optimism just makes me smile. Tracks that I can do without are “No Segregation” and “Walk in Jah Light” and it’s not because they are bad songs, but because they just remind me of a young child’s nursery rhymes, with their boring repetitive melodies. The album has a mix of classic reggae riffs, gospel songs of hope, and praise that everybody should listen to if you dig purely uplifting tunes.
If you like Culture, I would recommend other reggae artists such as Israel Vibration who have just came out with their newest album Fighting Soldiers. Or classic albums like Jimmy Cliff’s The Harder They Come Soundtrack which includes songs by Toots and the Maytals, Desmond Deckers Poor Mi Israelites and the Melodians' Rivers of Babylon which most people know from the remake by Sublime.
David Licata is a Contributing Writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.