Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers / Ziggy Marley

Fallen Is Babylon

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Throughout the 1990s, Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers had seen their stature diminish from the heady heights of the previous decade. However, even as record sales abated, the group continued releasing exciting and adventurous albums. Their patience was finally rewarded when Fallen Is Babylon was honored with a Grammy. With the songwriting split among Ziggy, Stephen, and brother David, the album is surprisingly diverse, even by the Melody Makers' usual standards. Swinging from a retro '60s sound to dancehall and from R&B to rootsy reggae, and shifting across a myriad of moods and themes, the quartet members prove themselves to be masters of all genres. The majority of the album is self-produced, and the whole set boasts a clean sound that perfectly balances the vocals, instruments, and beats. Cowboy goes hip-hop on one of the most original numbers, "Everyone Wants to Be," which works in snatches of "The Good, the Bad & the Ugly" and a powerful rap from guest star Wyclef Jean. The title track is a sleekly smooth and soulful R&B number, while Stephen and guesting brother Damian toast their way through the dancehall-laced "Day by Day." Among many more highlights is a phenomenal reggae-fied cover of Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready." A masterful album from a group whose sound is forever evolving and maturing.

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