To coin a footballing phrase, Bob Marley and The Wailers’ Exodus is an album of two halves. Side one eases you gently into a chilled state of calm. But the second half sees the performance level raised, scoring hits left, right and centre. The heartbeat of the record is a bouncing reggae rhythm, setting the pace of play. Subtle percussion and keyboards provide the support, but singer Marley is the star performer.
Approaching eight minutes long and sharing the title of the album, Exodus is a grand political statement. This marching anthem describes masses of Jah people (Rastas) leaving western society (Babylon) to return to the homeland of Africa, encouraging more to do the same. It provides a powerful, driving end to an otherwise gentle first side.
Jammin’, with it’s catchy chorus, is a fun and upbeat tune, but Wait In Vain and Turn Your Lights Down Low show a softer side. Three Little Birds is a beautiful and uplifting song, the simplicity of the lyrics adding to their strength: “Don’t worry about a thing/’cause every little thing gonna be alright”. One Love/People Get Ready offers a magnificent closing statement of positivity.
Great at a party.