Reggae’s mellow rhythms branch out to encompass all kinds of themes – whether it be for the love of Jah, the love of love, or the love of weed, there’s always a ballad to sway to. Rarely, however, is there a song in the reggae genre that’s slows the tempo down for sorrow.
The subject, sung ever so sweet and smoothly, is not a new one: everybody plays the fool sometime.
Thrive’s new single “Broken”, featuring harmonically talented Hirie, incorporates singin’ the blues between reggae rhythm guitar strums. The subject, sung ever so sweet and smoothly, is not a new one: everybody plays the fool sometime. However, the most essential part of the message is how you “pick the pieces back up”, “look fears in the eye” and get back in the game. Now Thrive and Hirie don’t promise the process isn’t cyclical; if anything, their repeated admittance in the chorus of being “broken before” is a signifier that relationships do ultimately fail time and time again. But that is the way of the blues: life is a self-perpetuating circle of playing the game of chance – and sometimes, you lose. Yet, the song instills hope. Ending abruptly after a few soft whimpers, listeners feel as if the song has cried it’s last tear for itself.
“Broken” isn’t all about the numb feeling of failure though. The song is definitively soothing and motivational, reminding its audience that it’s human nature to constantly break and regenerate. This is also why I find it overly fitting that the song is released in the midst of springtime, coming out of the ‘broken’ season of winter. If the band meant to display such an analogic comparison between their product and the calendar, they get even more kudos from us here at Top Shelf Reggae than just having a great new single.