Mojo (Publisher) (p.95) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "'Marijuanaman' is anchored to the easy-skanking roots reggae of the '70s; 'We Are The People,' meanwhile, updates the form for a 21st century pop audience."
Personnel: Ziggy Marley (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Toni Scruggs, Charlean Carmon, Nicole Morier, Johanna Cranitch, Aaron Nigel Smith, Beezy Coleman, One World Chorus, Kenya Hathaway (vocals); Takeshi Akimoto, Lyle Workman, Ian Coleman, Adam Zimmon (guitar); The Regiment (horns); Lisa Fendelander, Paul Stennett, George Hughes, David Palmer , Zac Rae (keyboards); Brian Macleod , Stephen Ferrone, Khris Lorenz (drums); Michito Sánchez, Rock Deadrick (percussion).
Audio Mixer: Carlos de la Garza.
Photographer: Greg Bojorquez.
Released two years after the elaborate, vibrant, and excellent album Fly Rasta, Ziggy Marley returned with an eponymous release, the self-titling perhaps a reference to the bedroom demo and laptop-studio feel of the album. There are still acoustic moments ("Heaven Can't Take It" is the beautifully written but sad idea that humans are dragging the heavens down) and band-oriented songs that punch out of the speakers ("Amen" being a stomping example), but the opening joy dubbed "Start It Up" is the new commercial ragga, all post-Major Lazer, post-Stephen Marley with the necessary funk and quirk. "Weekend's Long" is filled with true heart and soul, and it's the closest this Marley has come to cutting a Michael Franti-like song that could be shopped to vacation companies and cruise lines for their next television commercial, but charm is at the center of this smaller, more compressed album, and it's a good thing. Ziggy Marley, the LP, shares much in common with Robert Palmer's Pride, Black Uhuru's Chill Out, and even Gregory Isaacs' Night Nurse, as its diminutive, deft, funky, tight, electro-tinged, and sincere. With all these ingredients at just the volume, it's still one single or classic short of being the best-of Ziggy, but the cool temperament and empowering mood of the album offer a life-affirming soul massage through music. For those reasons, this is likely to be some of the artist's fans favorite release. ~ David Jeffries
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