Reggae music expands, entertains reviewer
February 15, 2007
In case anyone hasn’t sent you the memo yet, reggae music is so much more than Bob Marley and the Wailers. God forbid that you think of Shaggy when you think of that genre!
But don’t worry, k-os (pronounced chaos), a Trinidadian Canadian, is making sure you never make those generalizations again. His third album, Atlantis: Hymns for Disco completely melds the rhythms of reggae with rock riffs and dance hall beats.
The album has been making serious buzz throughout Canada since last year, and will finally be released in the U.S. Feb. 20.
However, you might have heard his songs before on NFL promos and commercials that have aired stateside.
When I finally got the entire album downloaded, it felt like just another morning. But it wasn’t long before I noticed the sun was coming out a little bit, and I opened my shades. I directly contribute that energetic, “It’s all going to be okay” attitude to the beats on the CD.
It was completely refreshing to hear in a hip-hop world that’s being drowned in Akon songs that all sound the same. None of the songs on Atlantis carry the same beat or flavor. You could play this album all night at a club, and I don’t think anyone would leave the dance floor.
There are many other influences besides reggae that shine through the songs. The fifth track called “Equilizer” uses a sample of the intro from Elvis Presley’s song “Jailhouse Rock.”
It took me a long time to remember where those two opening chords came from, but I knew they were familiar. It just goes to show how k-os can delicately mix his songs to create something completely new and catchy.
By far my favorite song on Atlantis is called “Fly Paper.” After the third time I heard it, the hook and chorus were already in my head and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was for the rest of the day.
The album’s first single, “Sunday Morning” is also very catchy. Though the rhythms are simple enough to bounce to, the lyrics are deep and thoughtful; not something that mainstream hip-hop is known for.
This album also does a great job of mixing traditional instruments like harmonica, piano and guitar with drum machines and samples.
K-os has the smooth, sexy voice of Ben Harper while capturing the energy and soul of Andre 3000. I know, it sounds unbelievable and too good to be true, but I would never pull my readers’ legs like that.
Like k-os sings, “We like to party, we don’t start trouble and we don’t bother nobody.” And in a musical world that’s been saturated with bitches and hos, and bad pop singles, this is exactly the kind of album I’ve been waiting for.
Jenna Lee is a student at UW-River Falls.