Trying to Run Before You Can Walk
3rdeadly3rd | Brisbane, Queensland Australia | 04/06/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"On the surface, Shaggy should be the best dancehall performer around at the moment - he has the right image and seems to have the right lyrics. The only problem is that he is not as good as he could be.The main reason for this unfulfilled potential is shown here on this disc. Shaggy is able to create very good singles, however his musical vision - such as it is - doesn't lend itself well to the album format. On "Boombastic", we begin with the Rayvon collaboration "Summertime" - this is quite a good partnership as songs of this nature go (although Chaka Demus And Pliers have perfected the art) but is slightly lighter weight than it should be.The song which really sums up the album is "Boombastic". Here we have a great hit - worldwide number 1 etc - which should set the tone for the album. Certainly it is a standout but really only because the rest of the album doesn't fulfill the promise of the title cut.Don't think that I'm saying that Shaggy is nothing when it comes to dancehall - quite the contrary. Three songs on this album ("Heartbreak Susie", "Finger Smith" and "Forgive Them Father") demonstrate a solid understanding of the attitudes and requirements of the proper toasting DJ.Shaggy falls short here because his net is cast too broadly (a problem with many of the younger dancehall artists). He tries to integrate elements of hip-hop ("Why You Treat Me So Bad") and gospel ("Train Is Coming") among other styles on this album - reggae is not meant to do this.By all means buy this album - it makes a great soundtrack for parties and the like. Just don't claim any great knowledge of reggae or dancehall having listened to it. For a more comprehensive dancehall education, try Chaka and Pliers, Buju Banton or Beenie Man.In short, an artist with great potential who needs to work on keeping things simple before trying new things. From the potential he shows here - I hope he takes this on board because he could be very good."