Love Is My Religion

Ziggy Marley

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Love Is My Religion Review

by Jeff Tamarkin

More than two decades into his successful career -- yes, he has now been recording for more years than his dad Bob did -- Ziggy Marley should not have to fend off comparisons to his iconic father. But like his also-performing younger brothers Damian, Julian, and Stephen, one supposes he always will, and one has to wonder just what Bob Marley would have made of an album as disappointing and insignificant as Love Is My Religion, Ziggy Marley's second album outside of his group the Melody Makers. With the Melody Makers -- comprised largely of other Marley offspring -- Ziggy proved that he possessed a voice of his own (even if its physical qualities were eerily similar to those of Bob's). On albums such as 1988's Conscious Party, the Melody Makers broke far enough away from the familiar Marley style to demonstrate that Ziggy was developing into a formidable songwriter and vocalist, without losing sight of his legacy. Fast-forward nearly two decades, and Ziggy Marley has not grown much -- if anything, he has seemingly run out of forward-looking ideas. With his familial genre-defining roots -- and more contemporary reggae variations -- still underpinning his songs, Ziggy is never afraid to step out of bounds. But as he did on his first solo album, 2003's Dragonfly, Ziggy again takes the safest routes, watering down the arrangements and the playing until the tracks veer close to lounge-reggae territory. More appalling is that Marley's lyrics have become sophomoric at best, cliché-ridden faux anthems that one might have expected from him as a teenager but certainly not as a seasoned adult artist. With Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, in particular, having reached the top of the charts with his monumental, cutting-edge Welcome to Jamrock album in 2005, it would seem that Ziggy, once the great hope for the next generation of Marleys, has been surpassed

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