Album Review: Uwe Kaa - Eine Liebe
by Gardy Stein
That's not Reggae! Except for 2 or 3 tracks, this release might seem a bit misplaced in our review section. Still, Uwe Kaa definitely deserves a place here, having released some wonderful Reggae tunes during the past 15 years. His new album Eine Liebe pushes the borders of this tolerant genre ahead once more, bringing to our attention 12 tracks of diverse musical stampings. Recorded and produced under the auspices of the enterprising Irievibrations Records, their high quality output is reflected in the instrumentation and arrangement of the present work. Most remarkable for me are the clever lyrics which the singer delivers in his clear voice, crisp articulation and, yes, a re-discovery of Rap. They are exclusively in German, though, so the inherent wordplay will be difficult to access if you don't have a good command of this language - many of the puns and rhymes are hard, if not impossible to translate!
The first piece Zeit Kommt ('Time Comes') gives a smooth entry, reflecting our past, present and future. It's a pensive track, asking us how we define the little term damals ('back then'). With an acoustic guitar intro, Für Immer Rebell ('Rebel Forever') will make you nod your head along with the beat once it settles in. The song tells you not to give up, even though you are faced with challenges every day.
Eine Liebe ('One Love' or 'A Love' - it can have both meanings in German) is not only the title track, but also the heart of the album, finding its equivalent in the red heart on the cover. It has hardly started and makes me smile already. As you might imagine, that's because it is one of the tracks that do pick up a Reggae beat. Also, it proves the excellent songwriting skills of the artist, having all the right notes in all the right places.
While Sonnenblende ('Sunshade') has a rocky festival feel, Schwarze Taube (is there actually such a thing as a 'Black Dove'?) is dominated once more by an acoustic guitar and Uwe's distinctive voice. That brings us to my favourite track, not only of this album, but generally: Dein Hass ('Your Hate') managed to climb to the Top 1 position of my mobile's "most often played songs" in no time. Aaaaah! Oh so true lyrics on an oh so sweet beat - it's not exactly a love song, but contains an ironical sidekick against the duality and double standards that make so many people act almost contrary to what they say.
From irony to downright sarcasm, Supermann Ist Tot ('Superman Is Dead') treats a very serious topic that is not much spoken about in western civilization, probably because it seems so normal. Using the sad story of Clark, who actually stands for any child, it tells the cynical biography of a kid in our competitive, performance-oriented society. In a desperate attempt to give their offspring as much advantage as possible, parents often push too hard, shortening a period of life that doesn't deserve the name childhood anymore in those cases. "Vorbei die Tage, an denen nichts passierte, an denen Clark nichts außer seiner Seele spürte." ('Gone are the days in which nothing happened, in which Clark felt nothing but his soul.'). Let's bring them back!
Vollkommen ('Complete') is another text-heavy monument that asks us to see every moment as a perfect one, this gentle upliftment being continued in the victorious V, while Andenken ('Souvenir') strikes a more melancholy tone. Only feature of the album, Wurzeln & Flügel ('Roots & Wings') invite Zos and Iriepathie to add their voices to the whole – and they skilfully do!
The final notes are contributed by a song that wasn't intended to be on the track list at all, since Nichts Zu Verlieren ('Nothing To Lose') is the result of a casual Jam Session. A tune strong in its simplicity, it brings to my mind images of beach, campfire, guitar (which in this specific case is played by Mr. Kaa himself!), empty bottles and a circle of friends. In this pleasant spirit, the dozen leave us to ponder and press replay. Oh, and while you're at it, try to solve the riddle present in the cover art: 12 pictograms, 12 songs. Does that ring a bell?
Eine Liebe is one of those creations that you'll just have to hear for yourselves because it is hard to describe or categorize. However, great music doesn't need drawers or labels, but should be noticed exactly for what it is – great music!
Uwe Kaa - Eine Liebe
DIGITAL RELEASE [IrieVibrations Records]
Release date: 10/17/2014
01. Zeit Kommt
02. Für Immer Rebell
03. Eine Liebe
05. Schwarze Taube
06. Dein Hass
07. Supermann Ist Tot
11. Wurzeln & Flügel feat. Iriepathie & Zos
12. Nichts Zu Verlieren