Music Features

On This Day: Bob Marley and The Wailers Made the Greatest Reggae Album of All Time

The groups international debut, “Catch a Fire,” was released on this day in 1973.

On this day in 1973, Bob Marley and the Wailers released Catch a Fire, their Island Records debut that put Reggae music on the map and established Bob Marley as a revolutionary leader and budding pop star.

The album became a staple of the Reggae genre and is widely regarded as one of the greatest musical projects of all time. Bob Marley and The Wailers possessed uncanny ability when it came to fusing anarchist protest music with mainstream pop sensibilities. "No chains around my feet but I am not free," Marley calls out passionately on "Concrete Jungle," over dark layers of synths. "I know I am bound here in captivity!"

Songs like "Slave Driver" and "Stop That Train" are so melodically dulcet that western audiences didn't initially pick up on the group's chilling political anecdotes. "Every time I hear the crack of a whip, my blood runs cold," Bob Marley coos out on the former. "I remember on the slave ship how they brutalized our very souls." This was the group's secret weapon. They were such a talented group of musicians that their messages could be spoon-fed to western audiences simply by embedding it within the uplifting sound of roots reggae. They had found a way to unify the messages of the internationally oppressed with normally docile westerners. It was a talent that would prove to be insanely marketable.

Bob Marley & the Wailers stop that train archive footage Edmonton Tour 73 www.youtube.com

As Bob Marley's movement surged in Jamaica, Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, the white son of a Jamaican sugar heiress, connected with the singer's politically charged music. He had previous experience in importing reggae singles to the U.K. and had curated chart-topping songs from acts like Cat Stevens and Traffic. The unity between Blackwell and The Wailers seemed like a match made in heaven, but the record head had a very specific idea for what the band should sound like. Founding Wailer's members Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer didn't find Blackwell's expectations to be in line with those of the group. But Blackwell had paid in advance for recording sessions in Jamaica, so they entered the studio begrudgingly.

When the group emerged with nine finished songs, Blackwell enlisted a pair of white musicians to aid in post-production and remixed the entire album to appease white audiences. The Wailers found this reprehensible; Marley was more lenient with the idea. "I felt the way to break the Wailers was as a black rock act," Blackwell told Rolling Stone. "I wanted some rock elements."

The changes initially worked, as Catch a Fire was a breakout success, but the original Wailers wouldn't last. They were "derailed within a year over questions about their career trajectory" and authenticity as a result of Blackwell's "modern overdubs" and edits. Island Records also focused more on making Bob Marley "a stand alone figure," which did not sit well with his band. Regardless, Blackwell's edits couldn't strip Bob Marley of his messages, and as long as that was intact, Marley felt that everything else was malleable.

Revisit this iconic album below:

Catch A Fire

Hokusai

It's 3 AM, and your hangover is already starting to set in.

Your head throbs as the guy laying next to you, who looked much cuter in the bar only a few hours earlier, prattles on about how him and his buddies are planning to rent a cabin upstate to, y'know, "get away from it all" for a few nights, and do you want to come with?

Chinstrap


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Music Lists

The Best Bob Marley Songs in Honor of his 75th Birthday

The Reggae icon, who would have been 75 today, made some of the greatest protest music ever made.

While it's nearly impossible to put a cap on the number of hits reggae legend Bob Marley attained in his career, there are a few songs that universally take the cake–and no, "Three Little Birds" is not one of them.

The Reggae icon, who would have been 75 today, made some of the greatest protest music ever made, and he inspired international social justice as a result. "His artistic fearlessness and social commitment remain an inspiration to activists, musical and otherwise. His songs of freedom have become universal hymns," wrote Rolling Stone. In honor of his birthday, here are some of Bob Marley's biggest hits.

No Woman, No Cry (Live)

While there are plenty of live recordings of Bob Marley's moving anthem, the Lyceum Theatre performance in London in 1975 was an iconic moment in the career of Bob Marley. The original Natty Dread version was much more upbeat, but on Live! Bob Marley slows the song down to give it a blues edge. That's not to mention the addition of organs, gorgeous harmonies from the I-Threes, and that goosebump-inducing audience chant. It elevated the song to new heights, and even now it's the preferred version to the original. The song itself is about England's colonization of Jamaica, giving the moment that extra umph when you realize he's in London.


MUSIC

Afrobeat Artist Taiyel Premieres “Enemi Say”

In the end, persistence pays off.

Taiyel

Press Photo

Now living in Brooklyn, Nigerian Afrobeats artist Taiyel released her swaggering new single, "Enemi Say," via the DemGully Entertainment label.

Taiyel's captivating voice rides a bass-heavy rhythm, as "Enemi Say" infuses funk and jazz beats. Commenting on the song's concept, Taiyel says, "It speaks to the values of persistency, and it is about that feeling of triumph and defiance in the face of people who want you to fail as soon as they see you doing good, without considering how hard you've worked to get even a sliver of success."


Follow Taiyel Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

MUSIC

HIRIE Talks Addiction, Bipolar Disorder, and Spirituality on her Album "Dreamer"

Tropical-pop singer-songwriter releases third album ahead of headlining her U.S. fall tour.

Tropical pop singer HIRIE's third album, Dreamer, is a sonic journey base-lined by islad beats that celebrate the bold, joyful, and even messy impulses that drive the female experience.

This album marks the first time frontwoman/vocalist Trish Jetton has collaborated with other songwriters. The body of work covers a multitude of topics and themes like self-care, the struggle of dealing with addiction and indulgence, and the "wild woman archetype."

Popdust was able to chat with Jetton about the album and how a present from a fan inspired Dreamer.

I love how vibrant yet simplistic the video is for your song "She Go" and how it features many badass women and beautiful tropical scenes. What was the conception process like?

So for that song, it's interesting because there are so many different messages in it, so I left it open to interpretation. But you know the hook in itself, "she go." It's a term we use a lot in Hawaii; it's like, say, if the waves are pumping, you know the waves are going off. Somebody might be like, "Oh, she go." Like Mother Nature, she go, like she's getting it right now. Or like if there's a beautiful you know girl walking on the street, and she's just totally owning it and paying no mind to anyone: She go. It's an endearing term you see, whether it's about... a human being or just nature in general.

And then the song itself [goes], "Put down the gun," which is meant to mean, "Put your ego down." I co-wrote that song with a couple of guys from The Drive. At one point in the day, we were discussing the gun violence that was going on around the time we wrote the song. I believe there was a mall shooting. So it just blurted out of me like, "Put down the gun, you know, be sensible." Let's cut the drama and let's get it. So when I did the video, I didn't want something that felt egotistical. I just wanted to show or highlight women that were just badass.

I didn't want anything that seemed like we were trying too hard production-wise. We kept everything low-key and minimal. The director, producer, videographer Tim Slusarczyk, he was just so humble. He did everything himself with one camera, one lens, and we got it all done pretty quickly. We wanted to keep it organic.

HIRIE - She Go (OFFICIAL VIDEO) www.youtube.com

As for "I'm Messed Up," it's evident in the lyrics and live performance what the song is about, but how does it fit into the album? What are some of the elements and themes that you hope people pick up on in the project?

I think we introduced some elements that we haven't done before. "I'm Messed Up" is the only song with a mariachi band in it, for example. In others, we added in violins and were able to tie that into songs like, "Message in a Bottle" and "Frida Kahlo." I think, though, when it comes to authenticity, "Messed Up" was one of the easiest to write. There was just so much; it was just so close to home, and I probably could've easily written ten verses. I think the way that it ties into the album is just the honesty and authenticity in the lyrics and the emotion behind it all.

So it's safe to say that that authenticity is consistent throughout the album?

I think that with this album, I allowed myself to express almost everything that I feel...I'm a proud bipolar person, and I go through swings of depression and anxiety and then epic bliss. On this album, I did collaborate with songwriters, and I felt like they helped me convey the emotions I was feeling in a way that I think people will be able to understand. I was guided, and that helped me communicate more clearly. I'm a very metaphorical person, and when I write sometimes, I'm almost too poetic. They'd be like, "Hey, I don't think everybody knows that word or understands that phrase. Maybe we can find something else or use something different." Overall, it was cool to write about all of the highs and lows of the human experience.

I think the last track on Dreamer, "Stay Wild" was one of the songs that spoke to me the most.

Ironically enough, I almost a named the album Stay Wild! That tune kind of started the creation of this album. One of my fans gave me this book called Women Who Run With Wolves, and it's a book about the wild women archetype and how throughout history and different cultures, women have been suppressed and made to believe that if you're wild or eccentric, [then] you're mad, or crazy, and you deserve to die or don't deserve a quality life. You can see the unfairness between male and female promiscuity and how we judge genders. When I read the book, things started flowing out of me, and I felt all of these different emotions that led me to write Dreamer in the way that I did. In the book, I was reading that it was okay to feel these things that other people avoid. "Stay Wild" has a folklore vibe to it, and it's based on all of these women. I'm so proud of those lyrics, and that's one of the few songs that I wrote [solo] on the album. It's the least mainstream in a sense, but it's last because it's the one I love the most.

In the end, why did you end up naming the album Dreamer?

In the book, I read a passage that talked about how there are two types of spiritual people. There is the Dreamer, and there is the Seer. The Seer can see your aura and see the future right in front of them. They're the kind of people that can anticipate the future. For The Dreamer, for example, the Native Americans would ask them a question, or they'll ask themselves a question and have a dream or lucid dream that they would then interpret. I started to think about how my dreams are super lucid and how in the past I'd write them down and understand them too. It came to a point where I was like, "Okay Trish, what is the strongest, most important message? What are you going to call this album?" I woke up the next morning, and literally, the first word that came to mind was "dreamer."

No way!

I didn't even know why! It didn't occur to me what it meant to me, so I wrote it down on a memo on my phone and forgot about it. Later that day, one of my band members was trying to quit. He was one of my oldest band members, and he was saying, "I can't do this anymore. We're not making money, and we're struggling. I'm ready to stop doing it." I was like, 'I can feel that something is right around the corner. Don't worry about it.' He kept on saying how it's just a dream, and all we are are dreamers, and I had this, like, Keanu Reeves 'a ha' moment. I'm supposed to be a dreamer. And that is what we are. He just said it in such a kind of a negative way at the moment; I realized that it wasn't negative. It is what we are. We are dreamers, and we have to keep believing.

Be sure to check out HIRIE's latest album Dreamer below and be sure to catch her on tour!

HIRIE will embark on a headline U.S. tour starting October 13th in Huntington Beach, CA and stopping in cities like Orlando, Washington D.C., Seattle, San Diego, and more.

Dreamer

October 13 – Huntington Beach, CA @ On The Water Fest 2019

October 18 – Corpus Christi, TX @ House of Rock

October 23 – Orlando, FL @ The Abbey

October 24 – Stuart, FL @ Terra Fermata

October 25 – Melbourne, FL @ Florida Institute of Tech

October 26 – Jacksonville Beach FL @ Surfer the Bar

October 27 – Greensboro, NC @ Blind Tiger

October 29 – Virginia Beach, CA @ Elevation 27

October 30 – Washington, DC @ Union Stage

November 1 – Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory

November 3 – Somerville, MA @ ONCE Ballroom

November 6 – Detroit, MI @ El Club

November 9 – St. Louis, MO @ Blueberry Hill

November 10 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown (Front Room)

November 14 – Garden City, ID @ Visual Arts Collective

November 15 – Spokane, WA @ The Big Dipper

November 16 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile

November 17 – Portland, OR @ Holocene

November 20 – Sacramento, CA @ Holy Diver

November 21 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst

November 23 – San Diego CA @ The Observatory

MUSIC

INTERVIEW | My Silent Bravery Spins Out Positive Vibes On 'Willing To Try'

Music that inspires, helps and motivates others to overcome challenges

My Silent Bravery is the musical project of singer-songwriter Matthew Wade, who recently finished a new album, called Willing To Try, co-written with Jim McGorman. The album will be released as three EPs over the next year. Willing To Try – Chapter 1 just dropped and is out now and includes three Billboard hit singles.

The positive vibes emanating from My Silent Bravery's music reflect his passion for "paying it forward," giving back to the world through music.

Popdust caught up with My Silent Bravery, asking him about his musical influences, his social awareness, and his new music.

How would you describe yourself?

Fun, passionate, and driven.

What's your backstory?

It's a long story! The short version is that I started making music when I was 18. I wrote my first song for a high school project of all things! I was traveling in Australia a few years later and working out in the gym and ended up herniating a couple of discs in my neck. The injury led me to do a lot of soul searching for pain relief which led to me to spirituality, more specifically Kabbalah. As a result of my studies in Kabbalah and working on myself, I realized I wanted to give back to the world at large and music was the vehicle I wanted to use to help spread a positive message. I think everything happens for a reason. My injury was the biggest challenge of my life so far, but from the biggest challenges also come the biggest blessings. The injury helped me recognize it's important to pay it forward and help others. I want to create music that inspires, helps, and motivates others to overcome their challenges

What is the most trouble you've ever gotten into?

Good question. I have never been asked this one before! When I was a teenager, I believe I was 13, I pierced my ear without my parent's permission and against their will. Big mistake lol. I got punished big time. 3 months grounding, 2 months no allowance, 1 month no TV.No Bueno lol.

What's your favorite song to belt out in the car or the shower?

It changes constantly pending what I am listening to. But right now, I have been belting out songs from the latest Red Hot Chili Peppers record, "The Getaway." I am loving this record and it actually works out well for me vocally as Anthony Kedis has a very similar range and I love the inflections in his voice. He is one of my favorite singers.

What musicians influenced you the most?

I would say my biggest musical influence is Bob Marley. I love how he promoted a message of peace and unity with his music. It's something that I try to adhere to with my music. Also, there is a philosophical, spiritual vibe to a lot of his music and lyrics. I have some of that in my music, but built with my own way and beliefs. In addition, I am a big fan of Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, John Mayer, Ed Sheeran, The Police, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, 311, and countless others.

How, if at all, do your musical influences shape and impact your music?

Growing up I was always a huge fan of music, from Bob Marley (positive vibrations) to Dave Matthews Band (acoustic guitar driven) to Pearl Jam (Alternative Rock), my tastes were diverse and I appreciated a well-written song that inspired and could make you move or feel something emotionally.

How would you describe your style of music?

Inspirational Acoustic Alternative pop rock music!

Where do you find inspiration for your songs?

Most of my inspiration comes from life experience. I feel I really have to be connected to a song emotionally in order to go out, perform and promote it for an extended period of time. Every song has its own story and inspiration. I find I need the songs to resonate internally if I want others to be moved by them.For me, each song is a story, and I try to tell the story to the best of my ability. I then hope listeners connect with the stories, get drawn into them and relate emotionally and how it applies in their own lives.


What is your songwriting process? Do the lyrics come first, or the music?

I write the majority of my songs on the guitar. I usually come up with a chord progression that feels good and that is somehow inspiring to me. Then, I'll come up with a melody for the lyrics over that. Usually, the lyrics are the last thing to come and it's a lot of refining from there. It's like putting puzzle pieces together, but it's an unbelievable feeling when the puzzle is completed.

You obviously have a social conscience. Why is it important for artists to make their voices heard in socio-cultural issues?

I think it's important for artists to make their voices heard because a lot of people look up to artists and are inspired by their work. I remember when I was a kid. If an artist I liked started bringing an issue to the forefront, I was much more likely to pay attention. I remember when Pearl Jam was fighting ticket master or the Beastie Boys organized the Tibetan Freedom Concert.My last single "Girl You Think You Know" tackled some of the pressures people encounter with social media and how they feel the need to post things in order to get the most amount of fanfare. In particular, how difficult it must be for the younger generation and women in particular to grow up in this day and age with the pressures that come with being on social media.

I really like your music video "18." How did it come about? There's a retro-1980s vibe to the music video. What inspired you to move in that musical direction?

Thanks so much! I wrote "18" with my good friend and producer Jim McGorman (Gwen Stefani, Avril Lavigne, Goo Goo Dolls) a couple years back. Ironically, it was the first song we ever wrote together and it's my favorite on my new record, Willing to Try. We wanted to write something anthemic and about that feeling of what it was like to be young and free. It took on a nostalgic feel as well with some of the pop culture referenced in the song which led to the idea of the music video.Making the music video was sort of a long and arduous process to bring the vision to life until my mgmt. and I connected with the guys at Ocelot.My manager, Evan Stein, and I were very involved with the vision of the video and gave some flexibility to the guys at Ocelot to bring it to life. It was inspired by the neo-eighties aesthetics of shows like The Americans and Stranger Things. To me it's like a high school rom-com or short John Hughes movie.


You just dropped a new EP, called Willing To Try. What makes this EP different from your previous releases?

Yes! The new album is called Willing to Try, which I co-wrote with Jim McGorman as mentioned. The album features twelve tracks and it will be released in 3 separate EPs over the next year or so. The first one just dropped and features three Billboard hit singles! Sonically, the new songs blend modern synths and keyboards along with acoustic guitars and atmospheric electrics.I think what makes it the most different is that I co-wrote this whole new body of work with Jim. My first several albums I wrote the majority of the material on my own because I felt like in some way I need to have complete ownership of the material. The last couple of years I have been co-writing nearly all my material and it has opened me and my music up to so many different possibilities and ideas and I feel the music has benefitted significantly. I think my brand and message has stayed consistent over the years.I am still all about "paying it forward" and feel like my mission in life is to help inspire others to do the same by delivering a positive message to the masses through the music of My Silent Bravery.

Will you be touring soon?

Yes! I have tour dates this weekend supporting Trapt. I also have a summer tour booked which I will be announcing very soon!Be on the lookout on my website and socials.

Follow My Silent Bravery on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

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