Bob Marley: Chant Down Babylon
It's been a long, long road to redemption, children. But finally, it's official. [B]BOB MARLEY IS OK TO LIKE[/B]...
Obviously we're too crap to get into such eminently accessible mainstream reggae by ourselves, so we need someone cool to say it's OK. Step forward, then, Bob Marley's son Stephen and his brothers, to rope in the great and the good to create this "labour of love to honour our father" as the press release would have it. Thank Jah for that, then. For one awful moment we thought it was a cynical attempt to make yet more money out of a dead legend.
This, however, is not a cover version album. Just so we don't get too bored with all those laid-back old-fashioned reggae vibes, the Marleys have remixed the original tracks, adding hip-hop-ish beats, in a Jive Bunny stylee, and then a bom-bom-biddley-one-time-yeah-here-we-go rap from a guest artist.
However, these contributions are of varying substance. For example, Aerosmith join in on 'Rock, Roots, Reggae' with Joe Perry improvising aimless licks and Steven Tyler going "yeah yeah" in the background. Cheers. Rakim, Busta Rhymes and Guru prefer to take the opportunity to make scattershot religious sermons, not all of which you suspect Bob Marley may have agreed with. But most wasteful of all are Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu's contributions to 'Turn Your Lights Down Low' and 'No More Trouble' respectively. They are reduced to background echoes, which makes you long for the traditional cover version-based tribute album, which might at least have given them something to get their tonsils into.
Alternatively, of course, we could all go out and pay the ultimate tribute to Bob Marley, and buy the original records. If anyone questions you, tell them NME said it was OK.
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday