Written by Jen Cheshire Reggaewerx PR for Island Stage
Jamaican artist I-Taweh released his third album “Reload” on January 3rd, 2020. The album presents an eclectic mix of old and new styles without straying from I-Taweh’s conscious roots.
The album opens with “Danger Zone”, previously released as a single in October 2018, a track with a simple but hypnotic bass and drum calling us to attend his shows and listen to his message.
“Reggae Lions” blasts out from the previous track with a full band sound telling how reggae music has spread despite “Babylon” trying to hold it back.
A topic very much at the forefront in Jamaica at this time is addressed in “Another Bram Bram”. The song talks about unemployment which has led to increased alcoholism and violence in Montego Bay. I-Taweh not only speaks to the youth involved but also condemns the government for failing to address the root of the problem.
A dream of returning to Africa is the theme of “One Day”. A beautiful, haunting flute accentuates the longing to return to his homeland
“Home Sweet Home” has a heavy ska influence and a beautiful sax solo by Isax. It is describing the idyllic beauty of Jamaica, his island home. Although ska is still very much in the forefront today this track seems to evoke a nostalgic sound from an early era.
A guitar played by I-Taweh opens “Sunshine In My Eyes”, a song previously released as a single in June 2019, in which he sings of his love of life and family.
Another previously released single “Rolling Stone” is a reflection of life on the road and missing home and family “I’m like a King without a throne”. It gives us a touching description of what it’s really like to be on the road, the excitement of performing in new places but the loneliness of being away from loved ones.
“No Mediocre Vibe”, previously released as a single in June 2018, assures the massive that I-Taweh will not be bringing mediocre vibes with his music. He sings that he has to keep up his game as the younger ones are coming up and he won’t be left behind. The proof of this is the song, which is definitely not mediocre.
A change of pace comes with “Not Just In Memories”, a love song to a girl he hopes to one day be with. A standout line in this track is “Stop playing hide and seek inna mi head”.
“Reggae Greetings” is a lively song about the benefits of reggae music. This song is destined to be an anthem song at festivals. It’s catchy and easy to sing along with and is bound to get a response with lines like “Sing yeah if you love reggae, say reggae. Say yeah if you want more reggae, say reggae”.
The simplistic “Jah Will”, with its solo guitar and drum, is a reminder that Jah will meet our needs and provide for the children when the government cannot be relied on.
“Mr. President you’re in the wrong chair” is a line from “Code Red (We Tired)”. This is a politically motivated song about how we are tired of war and killing. Echoing the thoughts of many of us I-Taweh calls for an end to the fighting that governments drag us into. It’s a quietly powerful track that illustrates the tiredness we all feel but encouraging us to rise above it.
“Reload”, the title song, is the obligatory ganja song on the album but with a more spiritual vibe. I-Taweh sings of the chalice needing to be reloaded and calling all branches of Rastafari to share in the sacrament
There are 3 dubs on the album, “Reload Dub”, “Reload Vocal Dub” and “No Mediocre Dub”, so the dub lovers have been catered for too.
I’ve had “Reload” on repeat for 3 days in preparing to write this review and have realized that this is one of those albums in which your favorite track changes. I-Taweh’s Nyabinghi roots are evident throughout this 16 track album and he plays 5 different instruments on it. It’s very evident that he is a man of many talents. There isn’t a track that’s any weaker than the other so you would be missing out if you don’t buy the complete album.
I-Taweh has given us an album that will become a staple in any reggae connoisseur collection and is a definite contender for next year’s Grammy nominations.
Past and Upcoming shows