Saturday, November 26, 2005

"jab jab say..." (3canal) review

i been meaning to say this for a long time now, and finally put the words together (with a lot of help from "jab jab say...")

3canal’s “jab jab say…the soundtrack album from the 3canal show 2005 [JAB in de BOX]” opens with the title track, which makes it very hard to listen to the rest of the album. the immediate response to “jab jab say” is to hit the back button and listen to it again. and again. and then another time or three to maximize the experience.
oh – before considering songs, i should mention that even the visual of this album is decidedly different. after previous 3canal photos one might expect the recognisably serious faces that lend weight to the usually ‘conscious’ lyrics, but “jab jab say…” is a departure. the striking faces inside the cover are mostly the same, but now they’re smiling in a sea of yellow – not that a strong colour choice is a surprise to anyone aware of how this group’s music is linked to their annual j’ouvert band and live show for trinidad+tobago carnival, but these grins are a sign…
the lyrics are still conscious but the sound is simple and upbeat. even occasionally ska-like.
this is about positive vibes and basic choices we can make to improve our collective lives. this is one of those albums that just makes you feel good. you suddenly recall why music is so important to life.
i must confess that 3canal’s “the fire next time” is still one of my favourite and most-listened-to albums, so i can’t help but compare a little. one of “the fire next time”’s still-thrilling aspects is its complexity and variance – no two songs suggest the same style – while “jab jab say…” has a more unified sound and message that come together in tribute to intra- and inter-song arrangement. right down to song-endings of musical accompaniment fading to leave vocals in the spotlight, this feels like a return to less complicated, more youthful times, and in its simplicity it leaves the listener feeling full.
back to the must-multiple-rewind title track – it’s the hardest on the album, driven by bass, drum, and lyrics that deliver the call: “…one song, one sign, one word, one rhyme, one hook, one line, one song, just one song go bring them down…some a dem just cuttin’ a pose but they not for the people…some a dem say they pushin’ love but only promotin’ hate…”
after a powerful attack on those “wearin’ the robes, but (they) not for the people”, the rest of this is for the misrepresented people. these songs encourage positive movement: “now is the time to free your mind…to cross the line and seek and discover and ye shall find…the time is now…”, but rather than feeling preachy, they’re so enjoyable that it takes time to realise how determinedly they stay ‘on message’.
with songs that sound designed to fit together, there’s still dynamics to keep the ears open and vibrating. flowing from the smooth “now is the time”, “build” is a very chant-like contrast. it couldn’t be more clear and direct: “build, build, build our country, build, build, build our family, build, build, build our society, build, build, build a new humanity, build, build, build our nation, build, build, build our region, build, build, build island to island…” – you see where this is going…
“piti pata” laments, but then encourages us to “…arise ‘cause your days are numbered…woe be unto them sleepwalkin’ in this time of reckonin’…”
and “the borderline” is a warning “i don’t give a damn what people say…they can’t push you across the line, don’t you go over” that still reminds us “centre yourself, focus yourself, every day is another day”.
then, an homage to transparency, “a happy song” is just that.
“this is a happy song, a simple little happy song, come sing a happy song, a simple little happy song…a sweet and simple melody with just a little harmony…no set a words to buss your brain so you could sing it again and again…raise your voice make a joyful noise and celebrate this levity…everybody sing a-na-a-na-na-na…”
nothing could say as much about that one as those lyrics do. but then, i suppose that holds true for this whole album.
so, with that said, here’s “lovin’” – “declare love not war…give more…love in everything you do, love in everything you say now…love could cure, love gives more…” – i think that’s a lovely and accurate description.
in case i’ve been remiss in the transparency department, what i’m getting at is that the best thing you can do is listen to it. hear it.
“jab jab say…”
press play.

buy it @ cdbaby.
listen to caribbeanfreeradio interview in which 3canal discuss the show, the album and making them, and select some choice tunes for your pleasure-filled listening experience.

walk good.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice One


1:19 pm  

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