Ziggy Marley’s Fly Rasta, just the young Marley’s fifth solo studio album, is so varied that it almost seems like a collected release rather than an album. Yet, while it doesn’t have a coherent sound to unify it as a whole, it’s parts are great on their own. The songs range from mainstream pop songs such as “I Don’t Wanna Live on Mars” (deep message and all) to the more specific “Fly Rasta.” If there is anything that holds this eclectic mix together it’s the songwriting, which is compelling throughout.
“Lighthouse” is one of those songs that surprises you by its mix of pop-song presence and excellent lyrics, a family trait in songwriting it seems. Lines such as “Caesar’s always Caesar” and the chorus of “holding up the fire” remind us just what a great lyricist Ziggy is. So you have that reggae sound and its joyful sound backing some lyrics that can make you pause and think.
Listening to the Lyrics
Foremost of the songs that require you to pause and consider lyrics is “So Many Rising,” as close to a classic as a new release can be. With its acoustic accompaniment and pared-down style, “So Many Rising” is reminiscent of some of his father’s best work and begs a comparison with “Redemption Song.” Of special note is the line “The Shepherds are wolves protecting their goods,” though the whole song is a songwriter’s resume.
“Sunshine,” “Moving Forward,” “You,” and “Give It Away” are all standout tunes as well. “Give It Away,” the final tune on the album, is classic Marley from any era. Regardless of the variations between the songs and the absence of a single sound, this album is a joy for fans of that sunny sound.