June 9, 2010
June 7, 2010
While most probably barely knows that Sweden exists and even fewer knows or care about our homegrown Reggae scene it's bigger and better than one might think. Out of all acts there's only one who has really made any noise internationally, the French/Japanese Million Stylez from one of Stockholms many suburbs. Whit one album behind him and countless singles he's back whit his latest album, "Everyday". High of some healthy national pride, who am I to not review it?
Let me start whit letting y'all know this is an album of an more modern, dancehall-esque nature, first song on here is "Love we a deal whit" one of the albums more rootsy songs, an catchy uptempo song, whit a more distinct back beat than some of his songs (and much dancehall in general nowadays). I guess one could call it roots-reggae light (and i don't mean it as an insult) whit a pop sensibility to it. I was positively surprised as i was not amazed by anything i heard on his first album (although I thought it was okay).
Next is the title track, "Everyday" who has an even stronger Roots feel to it but is an dedication to all hustlers and thugs out doin their dirt on the streets, it somehow has more of an positive approach to the subject than your average gangstarap song does. Nowadays words like hustler & thug has transcended their original meaning so perhaps he's not exactly mean to dedicate this song to criminals. He stepped things up a notch whit this song.
Skip one to track 4, "Young gunz" whit fellow Stockholm dancehall artist "Joey Fever" is one of the best songs on the album, it's very, very catchy and has an definite cross-over hit appeal to it while still keeping it 100 % authentic. U feel strong early 90 ies, late 80ies vibes over this track, i absolutely love this song. It has previously been out as an 7" so you might have heard it if you're into buying vinyls or downloading from blogs.
Believe it or not but he follows up whit an almost as good song, "Dancehall nice again" who also easily could be a hit. Were talking big time good vibes on this one, it's a song whit a big heart, the kinda song to play when you're in a crappy mood to get you back on your feet again. I'm starting to be seriously impressed whit this album by now!!!
Im not so sure that things get worse but they def. changes up a little bit as a bunch of songs that feels more contemporary Jamaican dancehall than the previous, u know the type whit autotune singing, no distinct reggae beats etc..... I'd say the arab flavored "Ya habibti" is my favorite of these songs, it's about an steamy night (i mean more steamy on the dancefloor than in the bedroom) "Million Stylez" had whit an Persian dancer. What folks don't know is that there's quite an Persian/Iranian presence in Sweden, esp. in suburbs like the one he comes from.
By the 10th song there is an return to the rootsier vibes with "Born in the system", an "it's tough in Babylon" typa song, a much wellcomed song if u ask me. The way the electric guitar performs in this song kinda reminds me of Bob Marley's "Could you be loved" (well, at least a little bit). More rootsy vibes follows in "World crisis" which gotta be the biggest and most positive surprise on here whit it's guest feature from legendary "Don Carlos", it's far from an obvious colaboration choice and i could easily see this not working but it's a very good song and they match each other good. "Million Stylez" sure proves his artist name is a fitting one, an very versatile artist.
Another big collaboration follows when he teams up whit "Gentleman" on "Help is on the way", not bad at all and whit positive lyrics and a slightly melancholic feel but somehow the chemistry of the previous track is not there. A few more positive and rootsy tracks follows along whit a love song where the melody seems similar at times whit "Damian Marley & Nas" collaboration "Africa wake up". Well, to sum things up, i like this album a lot and is very positive about it. Im not going to deny it's probably partialy due to the fact that this guy is Swedish. It makes me hapy that at least one artist from my country seems to be making a name for himself internationaly.
Million Stylez make singing Reggae and Dancehall seem so natural and effortless, sometimes (even whit artists i like) Swedish Reggae can feel a bit forced, as if it's a pastiche of the Jamaican thing and every Patois word uttered is followed by an effort equal to give birth to a baby. No such things here, Million Stylez does not try to be the real deal, he is the real deal. But let's look at things in a more sober way, this is not the best album ever, not a classic but for sure a very good album, absolutely one to buy, skip the illegal downloads on this one.
June 6, 2010
Posted by Krikon at 8:26 PM