Ever since Eric Clapton’s cover of Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” topped the charts in August 1974, reggae music has been synonymous with summer. From the Police and UB40 to Shaggy and Sean Paul, reggae’s infectious one-drop rhythms have fueled many a beach party or a dance under the stars, and today artists like Drake and Rihanna rely on the dancehall to give their latest tracks some tropical flair. Two new tracks this week come from a Canadian reggae fusion band and two of Bob Marley’s sons.
MAGIC!: “Red Dress”
Led by frontman Nasri, Toronto’s MAGIC! topped Billboard’s Hot Digital Songs chart in 2014 with “Rude,” which has the distinction of being only the second reggae song to do so. The four-piece band has a new album coming out called Primary Colours and its latest single, “Red Dress,” is one of the catchiest things you’ll hear all summer. The song’s accompanying video admirably celebrates women of all shapes, colours and sizes.
In keeping with the song and video’s theme, MAGIC! posted a photo on Instagram with all four members of the band dressed in black against a red backdrop.
Ziggy Marley: “Heaven Can’t Take It” feat. Stephen Marley
The eldest son of Bob Marley and Rita Marley, Ziggy has been building on his father’s legacy ever since forming the Melody Makers in the mid-1980s. His eponymous sixth studio album features plenty of gently swaying songs espousing love and togetherness. This thoughtful track, featuring Ziggy’s brother Stephen and sweet acoustic guitars, leans more toward the social commentary associated with his dad—and even quotes Bob’s “Zion Train.”
Over on YouTube, Ziggy has posted an animated lyric video for another song from his new album. This one is more of a pop-flavored feel-good number and perfectly captures what’s best about summer reggae: a cool message with a great groove.
Hello! music columnist Nicholas Jennings surveys the pop landscape each week to find the most dynamic tracks to add to your playlist.