Various Artists

Strictly the Best, Vol. 46

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Switching it up a bit from previous years, the Strictly the Best volumes from 2012 -- Vols. 46 and 47 -- landed as two-disc sets instead of one-disc collections. That blunts their impact a bit, but the second disc should be looked at as a bonus, one filled with "old-school hits" according to the label, coming from ancient history years like 2008 and 2010. Maybe that's a comment on the rapidly changing world of dancehall, but shifting the focus to the new material, Vol. 46 satisfies with Busy Signal's "Reggae Music Again," a nostalgic romance of reggae radio that dominated 2012 and quickly became the Jamaican superstar's signature tune. Add Gyptian's "One More Night" (smooth lovers rock with a heavy R&B influence), Tarrus Riley's "Lover's Leap" (a ska revival, and one right from the source), and Jah Cure's "That Girl" (a wonderfully loose and lazy love song), and the collection is well worth even the casual reggae fan's attention. The second disc is fantastic, with hits from Jah Mason ("Princess Gone"), Junior Kelly ("If Love So Nice"), and Etana ("Warrior Love") at the top of the pile, but it hangs off the set like a scattershot collection of excellent extras, so keep that "bonus" mindset handy.

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