Fly Rasta – Ziggy Marley

fly rasta cover

The follow-up to Ziggy Marley’s 2011 album “Wild & Free” was made available for pre-order in January 2014. However, the album was not due for a release until April 15th in the States and April 18th in Australia, so it was most definitely quite difficult to wait four whole months just to hear something new from Ziggy Marley. A lot of opinions were initially undecided after hearing the end result, as certain songs were so different to what one may expect from Ziggy Marley. Although, he doesn’t like to limit himself to just one single genre, so it’s best to keep that in mind when listening to his music. Eventually it was time to say a few words on the album, so without any further or due here is my own personal analysis of Ziggy Marley’s “Fly Rasta” CD, beginning of course with Track One:

I Don’t Wanna Live on Mars: When you first hear this song, you feel as if you’re about to take off into another galaxy, as it begins with an epic countdown from ten to zero. At exactly 28 seconds in, the drums come in with an even bigger bang as if to indicate some kind of explosion. Ziggy then comes in with his vocals and is backed with some killer rock guitar riffs: “I don’t wanna live on Mars, I don’t wanna drive space cars, I just wanna be with you…..” The song eventually calms down a little, but then it goes straight back to rocking in the chorus. Overall the song serves as an ode to the planet and Ziggy does a great job with delivering that message to the listener.

Fly Rasta: Legendary reggae artist U-Roy pops in to add some dancehall chants to this brilliant title track, which sees Ziggy directly singing about his beliefs: “Take that vow of separation unto The Lord, drink no strong drinks…. let no razor come upon your head.” He’s never really sang about Rasta before, but now he feels like it’s time to do so. U-Roy also reminds us that Rastas don’t like isms and skizms, which needs to be reinforced, as a lot of people often refer to their faith as “Rastafarianism,” which is a term that they find to be quite insulting.

Lighthouse: Next up is a very different kind of song from Ziggy, which is mostly an acoustic pop ballad, although there are some reggae undertones if you listen carefully. It seems to be quite a sad, reflective type of tune that’s about the state of the world, perhaps even the planet itself. Ziggy is going to “holding up that fire like a lighthouse on the ocean.” He caps it all off with, “ooh one love.” Was that intentional? Or did his daddy just so happen to creep up in there? If so it’s not surprising, he’s been quoting him his whole entire career.

Sunshine: “Life can have its cloudy days, it doesn’t mean you’ve lost your way.” How true that is. Reggae music is most definitely an uplifting form of music and this song is certainly no exception. Just put this on and dance around the room so you can feel good about yourself, dammit!! Ziggy just so happens to say, “Cause Miss Misty Morning just can’t stay” towards the end of this tune, which again makes you wonder…. coincidence? Or intentional reference to his father? Great tune though.

Moving Forward: Another reggae artist named Beezy Coleman (Ziggy’s lead guitarist) is featured on this next tune to deliver some backing vocals. As the title suggests, it’s about moving forward. For some reason, this song sounded a little aggressive in places, especially the drums and even the way the chorus is delivered: “I’m moving forward!! The pain made me stronger!!! Can’t stop me no longer!!!” At one point Ziggy hurt his knee while playing soccer. This song may have been inspired by that particular event. Even if it wasn’t, anybody can relate to what Ziggy is saying: Let go of the past and move forward with your life. Sounds a bit like this one was inspired by the song “A Sign” on his last album, “Wild & Free.”

You: Who is Ziggy singing about here? His wife? Or God? Could be both knowing The Marleys. It’s most definitely another one of those sunny songs that just makes you feel really uplifted. At one point, Ziggy mentions planting some seeds. It just so happens that some “wild flower seeds” were included with this album.

ZIGGY

So Many Rising: Time to go in another direction. This time around Ziggy has presented us with an acoustic folk song, which is really just a commentary on people being upset, greed, the air being polluted and things of that nature. If so many are rising, then that most probably means that they’re all choosing to rise above all of that stuff, which is cool. Truth be told, at first this here reviewer found this song to be far too reminiscent of John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Jack & Diane.” Ziggy is an eighties kid after all, so it is possible that that song was on his radar when he wrote “So Many Rising.”

I Get Up: Did Ziggy use profanity in this song? Oh, right. He’s actually saying “We’ve been through a lot of SHIFT.” In that case, we’re safe. So then, with all of that in mind, he’s decided to give us this next jam which is really all about getting up each and every day and starting out each and every day of our lives, regardless of all of the trials & tribulations we might face. The horns on this track are classic reggae horns. He’s never really used horns in his music before has he? This is certainly a first then. Great tune.

You’re My Yoko: Still have mixed feelings about this one. Sometimes it sneaks up on you and you catch yourself singing: “Ya ma Yoko,” which is (almost) exactly what’s printed in the lyrics sheet. But then you kind of think, “Yeah, but this song’s a bit corny for some reason.” You can’t really put your finger on why though. Probably because he’s comparing his woman to Yoko Ono of all people. Ziggy said that he wrote this song for his wife when they were still just girlfriend and boyfriend. His sisters Cedella and Sharon sing backing vocals on this tune, along with another female Melody Maker by the name of Erica Newell.

Give It Away: No, it’s definitely not a cover of the Red Hot Chili Peppers song! It starts off almost like a ballad, but then it gradually builds up to a very mellow reggae riddim. “Only if we give it away, can love be love.” Of course, what else would it be that Ziggy wants to give away other than love? It’s a good closer.

Verdict: Damn! That’s it? After waiting for almost three whole years, he only gives us 10 songs? Hopefully when Ziggy releases his next project, there’ll be a few more songs on it, because at just ten, it most certainly leaves you wanting more. But all of that said, even though he released an album in 1988 called “Conscious Party” with his siblings, it doesn’t mean that anything else he’s ever put out has never been socially conscious, because when you really think about it, every Ziggy Marley album is a conscious party! Yes, even his children’s album “Family Time” has conscious messages in the lyrics. “Fly Rasta” is most certainly no exception. As to whether or not it’ll be a big hit, unfortunately it won’t, people don’t want to hear stuff like this anymore, which is a shame, because it’s good music!! Real music by real musicians all right. Wins every time.