Review by Jen Cheshire- Reggaewerx PR
“Picture Perfect”, the third album by Bugle (birth name Roy Thompson) is an epic 20 track album containing two distinct parts, traditional roots reggae but with a modern vibe and an upbeat conscious and clean dancehall selection.
In preparing for this review I made a list of the tracks to enable me to pick out the ones I wanted to highlight. After listening to the album 3 times, I realized that I had highlighted (literally) the complete list of tracks.
The album opens with the powerful vocals of Kingson’s Dub Poet, Ras Shadai, illustrating the strong Rastafari influence throughout the album.
Gramps Morgan joins Bugle on “Encouragement”, a song which starts with lyrics like “If your friends na motivate you, get some smarter friends” and goes on to remind you of your responsibilities to those less fortunate than you when you do make it. This song was produced by Buju Banton’s son Marcus Myrie, whose name is mentioned in the lyrics.
There are two love songs on the album, the first is the title song “Picture Perfect” featuring Jada Kingdom, a sweet, sexy Lover’s Rock song and “Replay” featuring Shuga, a track previously released in 2018, with a sexy theme but a declaration of love and support unconditionally. Although both are love songs, the difference in the vocals makes them very unique..
Another song previously released is “Rise Again” featuring Kabaka Pyramid. This song illustrates some of the trials that people at the top go through to get there, but they never give up. This is a theme we can all take strength in, an anthem of sorts that you want to join in with.
“Unbothered” is also a song about life’s trials but as Bugle sings “Life has a way of working itself out.” “Why worry when you can pray, mi say mi leave all mi problem with Jah Jah”.
“24 Hrs” has an interesting, thought-provoking concept. Bugle asks what would happen if we all wanted a rest and didn’t go to work. He makes you consider how it would affect other people and the need to take your work seriously no matter what your job is.
Looking back on his life in the song “Memories”, Bugle combines his low melodic voice with the beautiful vocals of his backing singers. This track really shows his versatility.
“Dancehall Style” illustrates that dancehall music can be conscious, clean and uplifting, making fun of the hype nowadays associated with Dancehall music, “Them so funny them a cartoon” and “Them full of s*** like bathroom”.
Another standout Dancehall track, “Zaddy”, a previously released track, is a tongue in cheek song about how he attracts the ladies but “I’mma married, Sorry!”
“Celebration” is a track with excellent lyrics about love for all. This song is a celebration of love and life but what spoiled it for me was the overuse of autotune.
Bugle has taken a detour into the newly popular AfroBeat style riddim, from Little Lion Sound out of Switzerland with “My Way”, a lively love song about loving in the right way.
I’ll end with my two favorite tracks on the album. “Life Saviour” featuring DJ Noah Powa and Norman Alexander, follows the career of Bugle and highlights some of the artists he has interacted with along the way. This is a very personal song about the struggles in the music business with a beautiful choral soundtrack and a memorable chorus by Kingston R&B singer Norman Alexander, who’s poignant lyrics and sound gave me that tingle down my spine that only a special voice does.
My other favorite track “Appreciation”, is a song about showing your appreciation to your family, friends, and others because “Life is no game thing”. This song was previously released on the “Lion Pride Revisited” riddim which in my opinion is destined to become a classic riddim.
There are a few tracks I haven’t mentioned but they are by no means inferior. Bugle has given us an outstanding album with “Picture Perfect”, illustrating his growth and showing us what a phenomenal artist he truly is. A future Grammy to come? I wouldn’t be surprised.