various artists :: Reggae Gold 2007 :: VP Records
as reviewed by Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania

Let me start off by explaining something – in my part of the world right now, the weather sucks. Big time. Seriously, the summer has not shown up this year – and, even though it isn’t even the end of July yet, the weather forecast has told us all that there is, effectively, no hot sunny weather on the cards for 2007. It feels as though Rihanna’s tune, "Umbrella", is the most appropriate song in history – it rains almost every hour. Of every day. Of every ‘summer’ month.

Then "Reggae Gold 2007," the latest instalment in the (fast-approaching) legendary compilation series, came into my life and, potentially, saved me from spearing the sharp end of my umbrella-ella-ella through my dome. Ever since, I have been in a much better mood – the banging dancehall riddims give me the feel of a hot steamy Kingston night; the lush reggae grooves bring the shade of a palm tree, as I swing peacefully on a hammock between two palm trees... And, on the real, this is one of the best in the "Reggae Gold" series – it gets better with every listen.

The album gets off to a stellar start, with a strong triumvirate of a solid new Sean Paul (when is his LP due??) track, "Watch Them Roll"; the superb Blackout Remix of the huge MIMS anthem "This Is Why I’m Hot", featuring Junior Reid (screaming his blessed little lungs out) and Cham; and "Top Shotta Nah Miss" by Mavado. Dis is why we HOOOOOOTTTT!!!

That man Mavado pops up again in a couple of tracks, with the (potentially) superior and more understated "Last Night". Elephant Man usually kills anything he sets his sights on – business as usual on "Bring It". Buju Banton, who seems to have been making reggae since before dinosaurs roamed the earth, delivers his trademark crazy shit on "Bobby Reds". The fire continues, track after track. Yet as the music smoothes out, it only gets better.

Sticky blesses the album with a wonderful cut, "Jah Cure," and Gyptian uplifts the spirits with the marvellous "My Fadah Seh". Yet this sweet couplet is merely paving the way for the song of the album – "Hide Away", beautifully performed by Tessanne. It is a remarkable track and must be heard to be believed. We are entering the romantic moonlit passage of the selection now, and choice cuts from Pressure, I-Wayne and Alaine round off the album nicely. But wait – the one and only Shaggy pops up with an exclusive, the solid-as-ever "More Woman".

Also jam-packed into the mix is a bonus DVD, including interviews and some small features on the casting process for choosing the album cover’s model, and tour of the Kingston nightlife. This Reggae Gold instalment is, indeed, solid gold. It does everything it needs to, and the sequencing is logical as it become progressively mellower. Thoroughly enjoyable – allow dis weather, ya kno wha me seh?? As long as I’ve got music like this to keep me afloat, keep your sunshine – I can get transported to Jamaica anytime I want now.

Music Vibes: 8.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8.5 of 10

Originally posted: July 24, 2007