Singer, musician Abdel Wright debuts solid reggae album

As a politically-fueled reggae singer and musician, it’s not hard to imagine Abdel Wright’s idols. With obvious comparisons to influential reggae musicians, particularly Bob Marley, Wright has some great names being compared to him. The only question is whether he can live up to the comparisons.

Reggae, musically, certainly isn’t on the up-and-up. Most listeners aren’t even aware it’s a genre because it’s so sparse. For this reason among others, Wright probably won’t be or shouldn’t be expecting big sales for his first album. Not that the sales are ever indications of the quality of an album, but in Wright’s case, it’s like trying to sail on a broken schooner. Nevertheless, despite the dismal opportunities for his debut, Wright has crafted a fairly interesting and often fun album.

Wright’s lyrics are pretty tongue-in-cheek. Sometimes they can feel forced and awkward in the context of the song, but their sentimentality and poetic rhythm keep them from becoming unbearable. It’s nice to know artists still care about appointing a meaning to their songs, but I think we could do without the political messages in every one of them.

The instrumentals on Wright’s self-titled album are solid but nothing new. Each song has energy and spirit but lacks the depth and creativity you need to really wow listeners. Despite the lack of imagination, you never get the feeling of redundancy while listening to the album.

The atmosphere of a debut album is a rather delicate thing. You don’t want to come off too strong in fear of alienating new listeners, but you don’t want to be closed-minded either; though Wright certainly isn’t one to keep his mind closed. This is a musician who talks about revolutions and apocalyptic times like they’ve just begun. His songs address the “Ruffest Times,” “Troubled Waters” and “Issues” that often sting a musician like himself.

Despite being almost too casual musically, the touch that Wright weaves into this album makes up for its lack of ingenuity. As an artist, Wright has a lot going for him. As a politically-outspoken musician, Wright might want to mix it up a little and keep the heavy criticisms to every other song.

Danny Gordon can be contacted at d.gordon@umiami.edu.