Hawai’i ’13 – The Green

Hawai'i '13

In 2013, The Green released their third album, “Hawai’i ’13” on Easy Star Records. The title most likely reflects where they are from: Hawaii, with an emphasis on the pronunciation of their neck of woods and the year in which it was released. Initially the album was available as a digital download on iTunes before it was eventually released on CD & vinyl. Yes. Vinyl as in LP. Thirty-three and a third. The album is book-ended by two traditional Hawaiian folk songs, which, sorry to say, I don’t really care for… but that’s just my opinion of course. Given that it was the vinyl record that I was listening to, I have decided that I will review the album as such. So, without any further ado, here’s my LP-styled review of the album, beginning with……

SIDE ONE:

1. Even Before: Very smooth, relaxing opener to the album. There are references to sand being washed away by the tide on an ocean, which puts you in a frame of mind of being swept away on a secluded island. However the song is really all about trying to hook up with somebody who is currently out of reach, but it’s only a matter of time before you’ll get with them regardless.

2. Good One: One close listen to this song’s lyrics will tell you that it’s about a young fellow waking up from a pretty wild night out and hoping that things didn’t get too out of hand. He then decides that he just wants to get on with starting his day out, as his body’s still half asleep, so he ignites a huge spliff so he can lively up himself. Wouldn’t that make it worse? I guess not if you’re used to it. With that, it’s onto Track 3.

3. Something About It: Very much a “How you like me now” type of song: “I bet you didn’t know that one day I’d be gone leaving you alone. While I face a dozen spotlights you’re crying at home.” Best lyric: “If love is a mess, then I am a cleaner.” Listen to the drummer pounding out that furious Dancehall style beat @ 2:44. With a chant of “Never give up the fight” you just know that this is Hawaiian Rebel Music. Comin’ at cha. Play this one really loudly and raise your fist.

4. Power In the Words: “If you don’t think about what you say….” Exactly! This is most definitely, as Rastas and reggae musicians would say, an Ital Message, as in a VITAL message. Positivity comes your way when you think before you speak, but negativity comes your way when you don’t give any of what you are about to rattle off some thought. We’re only humans, though, we’re going to make these mistakes. My favourite song off the album. No doubt.

5. Good Vibe Killah: Let’s keep it real here: The distorted intro to this song was initially quite annoying. However, with a title like “Good Vibe Killer,” that could have been the intention. The lyrics are about a man who gave away his love, yet the other person involved in the situation chose to brush it off and wash it off. Therefore, in the eyes of the singer, they are a “good vibe killer.” He brings his point across even further by using the phrase, “I saw all your ridiculations.” Obviously there’s no such word, but anything is possible in the world of reggae music.

SIDE TWO:

1. Chocolates & Roses: Here’s something totally different, it’s a very jazzy type of ballad that has no trace of reggae at all. It’s obviously a love song which is very soulfully sung with plenty of high falsettos and of course references to… no, not smoking but chocolates, roses and Valentines Day. Does that description sound too mushy? Not to this reviewer. This song sounds so good on vinyl, the acoustic guitars are real nice and you can really hear the bass in those drums.

2. Hold Me Tight: This song begins with the voice of a computerised Aussie girl saying: “Legalise the green” and then you hear somebody coughing their guts out. Clearly they’re talking about the way it feels when you smoke weed, a substance which they have initially personified as a woman, but then at the same time, they’re saying that it makes you choke and gives you head spins. Smoking is bad for you, children!! On second thought, are these guys called The Green because they love marijuana that much? Yes, that’s most probably the case. That said, it definitely makes you dance. Great tune despite the weed smoking theme. Really digging the horns on this cut.

3. Take Me On: One of the first singles lifted from the album. It’s most definitely what you would call Rub-A-Dub music, as it has that really deep bass line running through, which pulls you in almost immediately. Seeing as how we’re being treated to a love song, or rather one in which the two people are so engulfed in one another’s presence, this is exactly the type of vibe you need. Brilliant.

4. Forgive Me: The dub vibes continue on this next tune, which also has a really great horn line. Lyrically it’s about a fellow who has been told that he will “pay the price” for his wrong doing. Yet he is not allowing himself to be frightened by the other person when he is confronted by them. Indeed, quite an important message. If somebody does you wrong, do not be afraid of that person, stand up for yourself, talk it over, confront them if you must.

5. Count To 3: Another breezy love song from this Hawaiian reggae outfit. The guy is in love but he can’t understand why they can’t count to three and magically appear together. I guess because it’s not that simple? Not a bad track from The Green.

6. Always & Forever: This song is definitely sunny and upbeat. It’s reggae with rock & pop elements… and definitely a lovey dovey type of vibe. Throw in a dancehall chant while you’re at it. That would complete the track. It’s a nice closer for the LP. Why not end things on a happy note? I was going to say on a high note, but let’s not start any shhhhhh.

VERDICT: Even though there are other songs on the CD & digital editions, if you only listen to what appears on the LP record, you are still left with a relatively good reggae album. Or rather, as Undercover Brother would say…. SOLID. Big up The Green.