Review Summary: Despite a deadly illness, Bob keeps us positive as he takes his final bow.
One of the 20th century’s most iconic and uplifting souls ascended from his earthly bonds in 1981, leaving behind an influential legacy and some seriously good music. Though 1980’s Uprising
would be Marley’s last official studio album while he was alive, it would not be the last original record released under the unit’s moniker. Two year’s following his death, 1983’s Confrontation
was released, marking the last studio outing before an onslaught of compilations and greatest-hits followed Bob’s ever-rising popularity into North America and the U.K.. Marley’s music was never marred by the onset of his illness, and thus Confrontation provides no insight into the tragedy, rather continuing to spread the infectious positivity that became his trademark. With an album cover depicting Marley slaying a dragon representing Babylon, the Legend leaves us with another outstanding offering.
Though undoubtedly best known for its track Buffalo Soldier
, there is a surprising consistency throughout the disc. For a posthumously released outing, one might expect at least a few pitfalls here. Instead listeners are treated to patented Marley at his best, putting forth ten tracks that never seem to take a backseat to each other. The discs opener for instance, Chant Down Babylon
, shows no loss of steam from Marley, putting forth his classic sound with perhaps a slightly moodier undertone. That sense of moodiness would be found scattered at various points of the record, though whether or not this is relative to Bob’s illness would be pretty hard to ascertain. There really is no gloom here; just a darker undertone that further motivates the messages trying to be conveyed here. Music with soul was something the Legend was synonymous with, so the abundance on Confrontation should come to no surprise to relatively new fans. Probably due to the era it was released in, the album makes use of some elements of production not found on earlier records. A good example of this style can be heard on the outstanding I Know
, a key highlight to the album, and a composition that sounds a little different than the other work by the band.
It might be a stretch that the Confrontation for which this album was named, on a micro scale of course, is related to Marley’s furthering disease and the manner in which he was choosing to handle it. There is such an uplifting spirit within this music it’s hard not to get lost in it. The music also just gets better after repeated listens, unfolding new layers along the way. They’re not all classic tracks on the disc, but a good number of incredible Marley and the Wailers tunes are hidden under the shadow of the undeniably fantastic Buffalo Soldier
. If you’re all ready coming from a reggae or Wailers listening background, you know what to expect out of this record. For new comers, this would be as good a place as any to start dabbling in Marley’s work, as it radiates the trademark spirit and positivity that made the man’s music so damn good.