Close look at Bob Marley’s Redemption song “Redemption song” was written and sang by the legendary Bob Marley. He was known as a reggae artist who mostly sang about social and political issues. His songs touched people all around the world. This song particularly could be interpreted in so many ways; quite literally, it could be regarded to some people as a song about slavery in the 18th and 19th century.
But the way the message in the song is delivered, the repetition of some key words and the artist’s main message through out his career, indicates that this is a song about being a slave to the modern world where many of us feel almost hopeless. The first element is the delivery of the song. The beginning could easily mislead the reader and give an impression to set the tone for the whole song. Bob tells a story and uses words like: “old pirates”, “sold I” and “merchant ships,” historically referring to the European slavers trading Africans with certain traitor African dealers.
In this first part of the song, the artist gives a vivid picture by telling a story in first-person. Black slaves used to sing Negro spirituals, while or after work, to comfort and motivate themselves through their suffering. They would also sing about freedom, restlessly hoping to get out of the misery. “We forward in this generation Triumphantly” explains how their dreams and constant beliefs came to life, by the abolition on slavery in America. The Artist highlights on the importance of these freedom songs that led to the liberation of a large group people and how it can be used in today’s society.
As the song continues, Bob Marley changes the course of the story and brings us back in present time. With the word choice:” We forward in this generation,” the singer is talking about actual issues that we can work on with the lessons from the past. As the song progresses, he goes on to say:” Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds”, the keyword in this line is “Mental slavery”. In this time, many would argue that there is still a form of slavery since democracy is considered to be the standard political system in many countries.
But it is true that the politicians that we elect don’t fulfill their promises; lobbyism has become the norm that the government meets the needs of big corporation rather than the people’s. The artist means that we have been brainwashed too much that we don’t stand up against those injustices and we let the manipulation happen over and over again . Bob Marley continues to reinforce his message by saying:” how long shall they kill our prophets, while we stand and look. ” This part refers to many important leaders like J. F Kennedy to Che Guevara who were eliminated due to their courage to confront the system that was in place .
Bob Marley is giving a historical example to motivate this generation to get back in control. The second element supporting the idea is the style of the song. As mentioned before, this song is short, simple but yet creatively written. The song has mainly two verses and the third is a repetition of the first one, the artist is able to pass on his message with few words but is able to challenge the listener’s mind by not easily giving out the meaning of the song. There is some sort of spiritual message that speaks to everybody no matter your political, social or cultural status.
The title of the song “Redemption song “ is repeated throughout the whole song mainly towards the end of each verse, he also adds another meaningful line besides that “that’s all we ever had”. These words often reappear for a reason; Mr. Marley reinforces the message, underlines the main idea and intentionally wants the listener to find out the importance of redemption songs, which he later refers as “songs of freedom”. At the beginning of the song, he uses old language like “Sold I” and “Rob I” to start the song with a powerful story by taking us in the past and make the listener have strong emotions and visualize the story as it is told.
Mr. Marley is able to captivate the listener with repetitions and unusual language to communicate his message The third element is the background of the artist, Bob Marley. He challenged the political system in Jamaica and always addressed the social issues that kept the Jamaican people in struggle even though independency had been achieved. It is extremely important to know that Bob Marley was a true follower and ambassador of the Rastafarian movement that emerged out of the depressed social situation in which black people found themselves in the 1920s and 30s.
It is during that time that one of Jamaica leaders, Marcus Garvey, came to light, He believed that black people had lost a big part of their history and that they forgot their spiritual rituals; He believed that in order for black people to achieve a sense of self-pride they had to re-present themselves. Bob Marley emerged from those times and was inspired by Marcus Garvey and the Rastafarian movement. From his other famous songs:” One love. ” Buffalo soldier” and “judge not. ” He used reggae music to talk about issues that were going on in his country and also to call for peace and unity in the world. Redemption song” is a political song that calls for unity; it gives a challenging message to the world without pointing any fingers, and without confusing the listener with a lot of information. Bob Marley, a great freedom fighter that he was, does a great job here in communicating his message to the world in a way that everybody in the world could relate. The main message is to motivate people to stand up and not be scared to fight for what they believe in. References and Sources •http://www. religionfacts. om/a-z-religion-index/rastafarianism. htm. N. p. , n. d. Web. 21 Feb. 2012 •Redemption song. N. p. , n. d. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. http://www. lyricsfreak. com/b/bob+marley/redemption+song_20021829. html •FAIGIN, TOM. NEGRO SPIRITUALS: SONGS OF SURVIVAL. N. p. , n. d. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. <http://www. jsfmusic. com/Uncle_Tom/Tom_Article3. html>. •Bob Marley Legacy and Influence in Music Continues to Produce a Huge Stream of Revenue for His Estate.. N. p. , n. d. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. http://www. rasta-man-vibration. com/bob-marley-legacy. html