review - 02.04.2010 13:47

The reggae queen's sixth album definitely manages to impress.

Not to be confused with the single of the same name, PUSHIM’s sixth album RENAISSANCE came out in November 2008. It had been over two years since she had released an original full album, so to say it was anticipated by her fans is an understatement. Next to various songs from her previous releases, the album also contains a fair share of brand-new songs, totaling up to fifteen songs.

The first track is one of those previous released songs, RAINBOW, which came out as a single in July of the same year. It starts with a rather loud, thumping beat that leads the song. It’s rather obstinate at first, but PUSHIM’s voice weaves an interesting melody around it, and it turns into really enjoyable track with a laid-back, easy-going feeling.

LOVE THIS MUSIC edges into ska territory with a merry, quick beat. The song features JING TENG, a reggae singer that gets his chance to gain some recognition with PUSHIM. It is a fun track, though it lacks in any depth. The following song, Asunaro ~Mental Poverty~, totally makes up for that as it is basically the complete opposite. This moderately paced reggae track has a very serious, grave feeling and a whole lot of tension. It’s exactly this ambiance that makes it such an interesting song that fascinates the listener from beginning to end.

Next up are another two previously released songs, My name is… and HEY BOY, both from the HEY BOY single that came out in 2007. My name is… continues with the same laid-back and relaxed reggae rhythm from the previous song, but is very gentle and soothing. HEY BOY, on the other hand, is an upbeat dancehall track that follows the same style as RAINBOW: the rhythm and percussion are rather repetitive and obstinate in that way, but with PUSHIM’s vocals, it becomes a fantastic track that is sure to get the mood going.

DANCEHALL RUN DI PLACE keeps the party spirit up and adds a layer of seductiveness. The track features the Jamaican dancehall deejay Spragga Benz, whose toasting - a mix of rapping and talking - occasionally joins in with PUSHIM’s vocals. Although his part in the track is rather minimal, it is certainly another opportunity for PUSHIM to get more recognition in the worldwide reggae scene with this collaboration.

Next up is Bubbly, also fast-paced and suitable for dancing, but it has a serious topic and feeling to it. With Oh, My Brand New View, you get a moment to rest as it’s a slower reggae song with a warm, merry atmosphere. TEXT BOOK ONE is not a very memorable song; it has a nice drive but fails to really leave an impression. CRASH, on the other hand, is more straightforward with a spicy rhythm, but this also fails to keep one’s attention for long as it is rather monotone.

Contrary to its title and theme, Killa sounds quite sweet with a moderately paced reggae rhythm. The sweetness peaks with So Much in Love though, a cover song. The original song came out in 1963 by the American soul vocal group The Tymes and has been covered countless times since then. PUSHIM’s take on the song is - of course - a reggae version, though she keeps the same moderate tempo and only the melody is slightly different. It’s definitely an outstanding song on the album, partly because it’s such an extraordinary sweet song, and because PUSHIM does a great job at covering it. Try not to listen to it too often though, as it tends to become boring after too many times!

Another song from the HEY BOY single is up next, the stirring and brisk reggae track SURVIVAL FUTURE. The album’s title track and also previously released single RENAISSANCE follows. The slow song has a very warm feeling, and PUSHIM’s voice is simply amazing. The best part of the song, however, is the bridge near the end, as the usual verse-chorus pattern breaks and there’s a change in the melody that adds in just that little extra something to make it great.

The album ends with the short track Niji no ato, which is barely two minutes long. It is a dreamy song with background vocals reminiscent of African chanting. The intensity of PUSHIM’s voice is enough to make shivers run down your spine, and it is a pity that it is so short and placed at the end of the album.

PUSHIM’s sixth album definitely manages to impress, featuring a whole lot of very strong tracks that show all of the Queen of Reggae’s multifaceted skills. With this album, she definitely lives up to her name, and we are eagerly looking forward to another original full album.
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