Saturday, March 24, 2007

Music Goodness: Bob Marley

Do you ever have a day/week when it seems life is dead determined to monkey-stomp everything good to you?

Everyone has been through it. When you go to the store, you get stuck behind the slow-moving, aisle hogging ladies with full carts. At work, your boss pulls a Lumberg and screws you with extra hours. At home, your girlfriend decides to nag you into hanging out with her friends and going to over-priced restaurants.

Such weeks are indeed the pinnacle of suckiness. Fortunately, there is a cure. No, it's not cowbell (it ran out when Saturday Night Live forgot the meaning of "funny"). The answer is chill music.

So upset and in need of a break, I busted out some old Bob Marley and proceeded to mellow into the weekend. As I was listening to his tracks, I thought it'd be cool to do an article featuring some of his songs, talk about the goodness of Marley music and also find out what everyone does to relax when life hits those down points.

So enjoy the music, give some props to Marley, and let's talk about good stuff you do to relieve stress.

Redemption Song
I really like this version of the song, as it was recorded live with Marley and his bros whilst chilling in a studio. Redemption Song can take many different meanings for various people, which is one of its best aspects.

My favorite part of this song:
Emancipate yourself from mental slavery,
None but ourselves can free our minds...
This message is good in its truth. More people need to think critically and independently, not being influenced by what media or pundits try to spin as truth.

High Tide or Low Tide
(Covered by Jack Johnson and Ben Harper)

I'd rate this classic in my top 3 Marley favorites. This version is a cover by Jack Johnson and Ben Harper. If you ever have a chance to see these guys in concert, don't miss it. Both are quality vocalists/guitarists who can cover a song a quite well.

Three Little Birds

I've heard of two possibilities for the origin of this song. One is that Bob used to sit out with his buddies, writing songs and rolling joints. He'd throw the seeds of his herbs to the birds and watch them jump around. Another story is that the "birds" (bird is slang for woman) he reference in the song were his backup singers.

Though I'm not sure which is the case, the song is simple in message. When big things in life have you worried, look to the simple things to remind you everything is still in order. Similar in thoughts given by Nietzsche, getting solace from enjoyment of nature is good, as it will not judge or criticize.

Iron Lion Zion
This fun, upbeat song is rife with basic symbolism and tells a bit of a life story. Following an assassination attempt, most likely for his political involvement and ideas, Marley was forced to "run like a fugitive" to save his life. It seems this song is sort of self-motivational in scope. Marley tried to remind himself, and his listeners, to be strong and stick to your mental guns when things get tough in life. In Bob's belief, the "Lion of Zion" (Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia) was a very strong person to emulate and look to as an example.

No Woman No Cry
This is definitely an excellent song of freedom with a good message. Sometimes life can seem almost unbearable, with so much going wrong in the world and beyond control. Though unfortunate things may happen, Bob reminds us things in our life can still be good. You leave the negative behind, focus on past memories that were good and shared with loved ones, and use your feet to carry you forward.