First and foremost, I don’t have any knowledge about reggae music. Only the opportunity I enjoy reggae is at clubs. I wasn’t grown up with reggae. I don’t know its history and background. I don’t know Bob Marley and rasta, either.
Still, this is a good album. A debut album by a young Jamaican rising artist. “Lily of da Valley” by Jesse Royal.
“Lily of da Valley” is a music-oriented reggae album. This is not a dancehall album. It’s rather a listening album so quality matters more than the fun grooves. A variety type of songs entertains the album. Starting with strong, dry, and passionate “400 Years”, the intro with paradise lost melodies “Generation”, impressively catchy and rythmical “Modern Day Judas”, mellow and yeah romantic “Real Love”, possible anthem with light Caribbean melodies “Roll Me Something”, danceable “Full Moon”, laid back and authentic tune probably matched with majority’s image about reggae music “Rock It Tonight”, aggressive “Justice” and “Waan Go Home” (guitar riff is A+)…the mixture of good songs doesn’t make the album boring. Most importantly, Jesse’s hot and passionate vocal is on the center and maintains strong identity on all songs no matter what types they are. His vocal style is soulful rather than smokey. More organized and profound rather than tripping. Yet keeping dopeness. Strong, not weak. His voice expresses the lyrics. Comparing with his previous singles not included on “Lily of da Valley”, the songwriting and Jesse’s vocal are clearly improved. Those improvements are the factors to make the album exciting.
Because of my initial explanation, I can’t describe this album from music side in much depth. Still, Jesse Royal succeeded to gain one fan who doesn’t know shit about reggae with his “Lily of da Valley” album. The reason is simple. Jesse was doing the good music on his debut album beyond genre. And I think liking a new music can be simple just like that. Without prejudice. Without boundary. And hey, most importantly, music has no borders.
OVERALL POINTS: 93/100
- Songs: ★★★★+1/2
- Originality: ★★★★
- Thrills: ★★★★★
- Song orders: ★★★★★
- Vocal: ★★★★+1/2
- Background: ★★★★+1/2
- Production: ★★★★★
- Strong songs: “400 Years”, “Generation”, “Modern Day Judas”, “Life’s Sweet”, “Stand Firm”, “Finally”, “Waan Go Home”
EXTRA (NOT COUNTED TOWARD THE OVERALL POINTS)
- Title: B
- Album cover: A
JESSE ROYAL, LILY OF DA VALLEY