Thursday, January 24, 2008

473. UB40 - Signing Off (1980)

Track Listing

1. Tyler
2. King
3. Twelve Bar
4. Burden Of Shame
5. Adella
6. I Think It's Going To Rain Again
7. 25%
8. Food For Thought
9. Little By Little
10. Signing Off
11. Madame Medusa
12. Strange Fruit
13. Reefer Madness


This is, strangely enough, not nearly as horrible as I expected. We all know UB40 and what we know of them is quite awful, but this is widely considered their best album by far, and there is really no reason to doubt that.

No track here is actually shitty or even bad, all of it is quite competent if slightly boring Jamaicana. Some of the tracks are even quite good... shock! awe! So if all you know of UB40 is stuff like Red Red Wine you should give this a try for general knowledge purposes, although you won't necessarily want to put it in your iPod.

So, not bad at all, but also not that good, just genuinely surprising for anyone who knows the later UB40. And in terms of influence they do belong on this list, a lot of the shitty Big Mountain style music of the 90's wouldn't exists if it weren't for the UB's. So a worthy inclusion if not an excellent album.

Track Highlights

1. Burden Of Shame
2. Tyler
3. Strange Fruit
4. Food For Thought

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Signing Off was UB40's first album and it features a mix of reggae and dub material which was lyrically politically charged and socially conscious, while musically was reverb-heavy, doom-laden yet mellifluous, best exemplified in the hits "King" and "Food For Thought" as well as the searing "Burden of Shame".

"King" was a song written about the late Martin Luther King, questioning the lost direction of the deceased leader's followers and the state of mourning of a nation after his death. Perhaps the biggest success of the album was the song "Food For Thought", which charted high in the UK and subsequently was also a prominent feature of UB40's 2005 Live 8 appearance in Hyde Park, London - 25 years after the song had been first released. The original vinyl album included an additional 12-inch record with the tracks "Madam Medusa", "Strange Fruit" and "Reefer Madness".

Signing Off is considered by many to be by far UB40's best album, as well as one of the finest reggae albums by a British group. In 2000 Q magazine placed it at number 83 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.

Some BNP supporter has put up Tyler... confused? Yes, he must be:

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