One criticism that some people have of reggae is that it can be a bit formulaic. Even if that is the case, some bands create reggae that is anything but formulaic. On the new album Crazy for Jane, Locos por Juana shows that a reggae album doesn’t have to follow any particular pattern.
For example, a lot of reggae is great for when you’re chilling on your patio or by the pool and you just need something mellow. The addition of the Latin component on this album makes this a reggae album that is better suited for dance clubs. “A Light in the Morning” is one song in particular that would get people sweaty on a dance floor.
On “La Solucion” the guitar and keyboards provide a dub melody with a bit of psychedelia. The rhythm is enough to get you bouncing even if you’re sitting down. However, it’s the horns and the lyrics that provide the real twist in this song. The horns give the song a Latin feel that meshes perfectly with the Spanish lyrics.
There is a fair amount of hip-hop in this album. “Roots! Roots!” is a song featuring Mayday where you you really hear the hip-hop influence in both the beat and the delivery of the lyrics. “Me Dolio (Bye Bye)” is another example. You don’t have to understand any of the lyrics to understand the hip-hop influence on the song.
Mayday isn’t the only guest artist on the album. Freddie McGregor appears on “Don’t Tell Me No”, a bright song that is perfect for enjoying with your favorite beverage. Common Kings appears on “Crazy for Jane”, a song that is excellent for chilling in a different way with the lyrics, “When I light you up, troubles fade away.” If you’re looking for a song for your good summer vibes playlist, this would be a fine addition.
This is a fun album because it incorporates sounds (and themes) of traditional reggae with cumbia and hip-hop. Even if your Spanish is a little rusty, you can enjoy the bright, bouncy sounds throughout this album.