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Album Review

With its wistful chorus, the title track to Julian Marley's Awake invents a new sort of reggae-emo sound. Influenced by the passing of his grandmother, Cedella Marley Booker, the song is a beautiful plea for the youth to open their eyes and let peace, love, and harmony into their heart, but this melodic mix of emo-pop and island music is an anomaly, opening up an otherwise unsurprising Julian Marley album. Less adventurous and more traditional than his stepbrothers Damien and Stephen, Julian is the sibling to satisfy the more roots-oriented fan, although he does carry a healthy R&B influence like so many other contemporary reggae artists. The silky "Oh Girl" would sound just right on any urban radio "pillow talk" program, while the spiritual highlight "Just in Time" falls somewhere between Barrington Levy and Wyclef. The remaining big numbers are straight-up Jamaican with "Violence in the Streets" sounding like a worthy follow-up to brother/guest star Damien's "Welcome to Jamrock," while the smoker's song, "Boom Draw," offers "A little bit of draw was on Solomon's throne" as the already deep drum and bass get soaked in reverb. Well-rounded and yet firmly in the genre of reggae, Awake is a comfortable, familiar success with Julian anchoring the Marley Family legacy once again.

Customer Reviews

The Rebirth of Reggae

With "Awake," Julian Marley brings back the same style of reggae that made his father a legend, all the while blending it with the dub sound that has made his brother Damian a popular artist in his own right. On songs like "Awake" and "On the Floor," the similarities between Julian's voice and Bob's is almost eerie (in a very VERY good way). On songs like "Violence In the Streets" and "All I Know," Julian sings over beats that sound more dub and hip-hop than reggae (again, in a very VERY good way). The genius production of Stephen Marley is once again on display, as every track brings something different and delicious to the table. Julian has made vast improvements from his past albums "Lion in the Morning" and "Time & Place," which had a novice sound, especially compared to his latest release. Something interesting to note, Julian has multipe tracks that pay homage to his Rastafarian religion, something that brothers Ziggy, Stephen, and Damian haven't overtly displayed on their solo albums, and something Bob Marley used to ALWAYS do on his. Also, he's incorporated female backup singers on several tracks, another similarity to his father's music (The I Three's) that his brothers have left out on their solo endeavors. Overall, I can't say enough how impressed I am with Julian's work on "Awake." To me, he has not only surpassed his brothers as the most talented Marley, but has made a strong case for the best Jamaican Reggae artist currently making music, rivaling artists like Jah Cure, Mavado, I Wayne, and Stephen and Damian Marley, among others. The best tracks on this album are as follows... 1) "On the Floor" 2) "Violence in the Streets" 3) "Awake" 4) "A Little Too Late" 5) "Boom Draw" 5b) "Things Ain't Cool"

new favorite artist

i really was never familiar with any of julian's songs until now, and let me tell you i have been missing out! awesome record and every song is great. if you love reggae, you must get this album!

This one really sounds like a Legend

This album is so current and real. It has a resounding feel- don't miss this one, this will be a classic some day!


Born: June 4, 1975 in London, England

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The son of reggae legend Bob Marley and Lucy Pounder, Julian Marley grew up away from his half-brothers Ziggy and Damian, having been raised in England with his mother. He still visited his father and Rita Marley in Jamaica, and by 1989 became involved in Ziggy and Stephen Marley's production company Ghetto Youth International. Stephen executive produced Julian's debut album Lion in the Morning, released by Tuff Gong in 1996....
Full Bio
Awake, Julian Marley
View in iTunes
  • $6.99
  • Genres: Reggae, Music
  • Released: Jan 01, 2009

Customer Ratings