Reggae standout act Morgan Heritage released its latest full-length studio recording last week. The record, Avrakedabra is a work of sheer musical magic. This fourteen-song record is easily one of this year’s top new reggae records hands down. That is due in no small part to the diversity of the record’s musical arrangements. The lyrical themes exhibited throughout the record are just as diverse, making them notable in their own right, too. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements. Each element is important in its own right as will be displayed here. All things considered, Avrakedabra proves in the end to be, again, pure musical magic.
Morgan Heritage’s new full-length studio recording Avrakedabra is, as already noted, a special new effort from the veteran reggae outfit. It is a record that once again proves why this act is one of the genre’s elite groups. That is proven in no small part through the diverse musical arrangements presented throughout the record’s 14 songs. Yes, the standard sound to which audiences have come to connect reggae is present here, but it is not the primary sound present in this presentation. The group presents a sound that will appeal to Top 40 pop/club fans in ‘Ride and Roll,’ ‘Reggae Night (ft. Drezion)’ and ‘One Life To Live.’ ‘Ready For Love’ and ‘Golden’ exhibit a sound that will appeal largely to R & B fans on another note (no pun intended). There’s even a touch of hip-hop in ‘We Are’ and ‘Want Some More (ft. Mr. Talkbox). Between these varied arrangements and the songs presenting the more familiar reggae sound, the whole of this record’s musical arrangements is a presentation that is certain to keep even the most casual reggae fan engaged and entertained. The record’s collective diverse arrangements are only one part of what makes this record stand out. The record’s equally diverse lyrical themes are just as important to note as its musical arrangements in examining its whole.
The diverse musical arrangements that are exhibited throughout Avrakedabra are clearly a collectively important piece of the record’s overall presentation. From standard reggae to R & B to hip-hop and points in-between, the record’s musical arrangements are certain to keep listeners engaged. The record’s diverse arrangements are not collectively its only key element. The songs’ lyrical themes are just as diverse as their arrangements even with the one underlying theme of unity that connects each song to the next. ‘One Life To Live’ presents that underlying theme alongside the message of making the most and best of one’s life, rather than letting it pass one by or even making the worst of life. ‘Golden’ also presents that message of unity while also using a familiar R & B arrangement as the backing for a positive song promoting a man’s love for a woman. What’s most interesting here is that it isn’t one of those run-of-the-mill over-the-top pieces that so many similar R & B pieces proves to be. It actually does an expert job, lyrically speaking, of presenting that moving message without getting to the point of its counterparts. Another example of the record’s diverse lyrical themes comes in the seemingly socially conscious ‘We Are.’ The group sings here about the next generation thinking for itself and obtaining its own identity rather than letting the media and other sources tell them what to think and say. On the surface, one could argue that is a familiar theme with reggae. To a point, that argument would be right. But there is something in the way the group presents that message here that gives it new life. Keeping that in mind, it still proves to be one more way in which the diversity of the record’s lyrical themes shines through, showing their collective importance to the record’s presentation. Positive upbeat themes of friendship, not fearing police and other topics add to that statement even more. Considering this, it should be clear now just how important the diverse themes presented throughout this record are to its overall presentation. They are not its last important element to note, either. The record’s sequencing rounds out the most important of its elements.
The diversity displayed in Avrakedabra’s musical arrangements and lyrical themes are both critical pieces of the record’s whole. That is because they keep the record engaging from start to finish. As important as that collective diversity proves to be to the record’s whole, the diversity exhibited in the record’s sequencing proves to be just as important. As noted already, the songs’ arrangements are in themselves diverse. Looking even deeper at the songs, the energies within those songs is expertly balanced from one arrangement to the next. This is where the record’s sequencing comes into play. Thanks to the attention to those varied energies, listeners’ engagement is even more assured. The songs never get too upbeat or too slow from one point to the next. From the mid-tempo energies in the record’s first two entries – ‘Want Some’ and ‘One Life To Live’ – to the more laid back energy of ‘One Family’ and the slightly slower ‘Golden,’ the record’s energy stays at just the right level from one song to the next. ‘Reggae Night’ picks things up just enough almost halfway through the record before ‘Selah’ eases listeners back once again. ‘Pineapple Love’ changes the mood even more with its laid back vibe similar to that of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On.’ Things pick right back up again in ‘We Are’ and ‘Dream Girl.’ Even in the record’s last handful of things, the energy fluctuates just enough to keep listeners’ ears with ease. The expert attention to the record’s energy in its sequencing proves in the end to work hand in hand with the songs’ arrangements and their lyrical themes to prove once and for all just how entertaining this record proves to be. All three elements work collectively to prove diversity is the key to the record, making it in whole pure musical magic; one of the year’s top new reggae records, if not the best yet.
Morgan Heritage’s latest full-length LP Avrakedabra is a solid work anchored from start to finish by its diversity. From its musical arrangements to its lyrical themes to even its sequencing, the record exhibits great diversity in so many avenues. That diversity ensures listeners’ engagement and also ensures the record’s place as one of the year’s top new reggae records if not the best yet. It is available now in stores and online. More information on Avrakedabra is available online now along with all of Morgan Heritage’s latest news and more at:
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