On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Damian Marley – Welcome to Jamrock (2005)
Welcome to Jamrock is a Grammy-winning reggae album by Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley. The album was released on September 12, 2005 in the United Kingdom and September 13, 2005 in the United States. Marley won two 2006 Grammy Awards for the album, Best Reggae Album and Best Urban/Alternative Performance (for the track ” Welcome to Jamrock”).
We’re leaving the UK today, dear reader, and taking a long flight across the Atlantic Ocean and heading back to Jamaica. We have been to this amazing island a few times on our list with Bob Marley being the undoubted king of reggae music that originated here. When Marley died in 1981 his youngest son, Damian, was not even 3 years old but he would follow in his father’s footsteps and is our guest today. We join Damian in 2005 with the release of his third album, Welcome to Jamrock, and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the title track.
Welcome to Jamrock is Marley’s commentary on the hardest hit parts of Jamaican society. The song is designed as a juxtaposition of the view of Jamaica beyond its shores where the rest of the world thinks of an exotic holiday destination. Instead, Marley tells us of extreme poverty, violence and corruption on the streets, a stark contrast to a holiday retreat. Drugs are prevalent on these mean streets, while education is not in school but in real life and it is hard out there to survive. The song keeps coming back to how innocent people are being murdered yet the government does nothing for they are corrupt as well and bereft of any empathy or compassion for their own people.
It was heartwarming to hear Welcome to Jamrock and to find that Damian Marley is very much continuing the legacy of his late father. Bob Marley was also concerned about the plight of his people in Jamaica and his spirit lives on through his son’s own lyrics. Welcome to Jamrock would be well received upon release, especially the lyrical content though this was frowned upon by many in Jamaica who did not take to Marley’s unflattering depiction of his home.
Favourite songs so far: