Album Review: Joggo - Conscious Love
by Gardy Stein
So far, I have written almost 50 EP- or Album-Reviews. With an average of 12 titles included on each, this makes a total of 600 songs that I've been blessed to experience before their official release during the last 3 years. Given that this is only a fraction of all the music coming out worldwide, it is really amazing how the few notes perceivable by the human ear can be endlessly combined and recombined to form the touching, exciting, saddening, dance-inducing or soothing songs that we listen to day in day out. A further addition to these manifestations of human creativity is now on its way to us. From the Netherlands, Joggo comes with a fresh delivery of 17 brand-new tracks (16 in fact, as Intro and Outro are versions of the same song) on his album entitled Conscious Love.
This title is programmatic: the singer with Surinam roots presents himself as a conscious Roots Reggae artist on a mission of love, a stand clearly depicted on the symbol-laden cover as well. As a further positioning, throughout the release we find subtle allusions to the King of Reggae: in track four, it's "A whaa, a whaa frighten them." while in Jah Almighty, we hear "I and I build the cabin, I and I plant the corn." - hail Bob Marley!
Joggo had his hands on the whole production process – all of the songs (except The Change and Private Performer) have been produced by his label Joggo Music Productions. That's one of the reasons that the album has a very easily recognisable, persistent sound. But what is that sound? Let's see...
To start with one of the strongest tracks, the feature with Chantalle Ernandez is a wonderful piece, both lyrically and musically. The voices of the singers combine in sweet harmonies while calling for The Change. "I dream we make peace with each other, I dream we find victory together, love without hate, abundance without greed…". A next one to be mentioned here is Take It Slow. This charming track has even entered the Dutch mainstream media as the soundtrack of an educational commercial for the compliance with speed limits. Everytime I Go Away definitely plays in that league as well. Uplifting and joyful in riddim and lyrics, it is a fine song to accompany you on your going outs and coming ins. On a Roots Reggae riddim, Revolution Warriors impresses with well-arranged vocals and an oh so sweet hook line. And the brass section, as most of the other instruments on the album, sounds as if it was live!
As in every release, some songs do not really give us something new. All Around The World, the only cover of the release, is nice to have but it lacks that certain sparkle of excitement. However, these average tracks (Come Down, Rasta Deh Pon Di Rise, Keep It Burning and University for example, despite their good lyrics) are by far outweighed by more inspiring pieces. Apart from the ones mentioned in the beginning, the latter include the topically relevant Can't Breathe (featuring fellow countryman Le Prince), the encouraging When Things Go Wrong, Private Performer and the appreciative Thank You.
Conscious Love is a fine investment for lovers of traditional Roots Reggae. The second album of Dutch artist Joggo shows his continuous artistic development (in comparison to his debut Modern Rockers, giving up the excessive auto-tuning is a big plus, for instance). Good thing that the promotional tour is starting soon and we'll be able to catch this rising artist live as well!
Joggo - Conscious Love
DIGITAL RELEASE [Joggo Music Productions]
Release date: 05/14/2015
02. Come Down
03. Everytime I Go Away
04. The Change feat. Chantelle Ernandez
05. Revolution Warriors
06. Rasta Deh Pon Di Rise
07. Can't Breathe feat. Le Prince
08. Jah Almighty
09. All Around The World
10. Take It Slow
11. Keep It Burning
13. When Things Go Wrong
14. Private Performer
15. Sugar Love
16. Thank You