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Twenty Years of Legend
May 11, 2004 9:47 AM   Subscribe

Marley's 'Legend' turns twenty:

"Legend'' is unique because it's become more than just music. It's an idea, a lifestyle, a web of cultural touchstones spun in a delicate vortex. In the realm of musical-taste-as-statement-of-personal-identity, "Legend'' says: I generally care about world events. I favor cotton clothing. I think stress is bad. I want to stop injustice. I'm all for love. I wouldn't say no to the herb, if you get my drift.
posted by moonbird (28 comments total)

 
I think stress is bad too, which is why I'm not into filling out another form, especially when I've learned over time that these form thingies sometimes don't get you inside anyhow.
posted by raysmj at 9:51 AM on May 11, 2004


I didn't have to log in. Odd. But, bugmenot.com provides this offcolor login and password for the Mercury News: User: fuckoff@mailinator.com, password: fuckoff. Sorry 'bout that.
posted by moonbird at 9:55 AM on May 11, 2004


I know the track order for that album and I've never even owned it. Legend is inescapable. That, and Kind of Blue for people who want to call themselves jazzers.
posted by Prospero at 10:02 AM on May 11, 2004


Along with that Steve Miller Best-of , Legend is one of those cds that I heard so many times while back in college, that I never feel the need to listen to it again (Not a slam on the material itself, though).
posted by stifford at 10:05 AM on May 11, 2004


the marivin gaye of reggae!
posted by Satapher at 10:13 AM on May 11, 2004


well stifford, don't forget the classic "Desperate U.S. Colleges Weigh Emergency Bob Marley Legend Ban" article from the onion. that made me laugh.

for some damn reason they've gone greedy and are now asking for subscriptions to read old articles, or i'd have linked the above. bastards - moving to new york changed them...

by the way, the article linked in the FPP reminded me of a question - what's up with the ``fake quotation marks" style of quoting something in online papers? why fake it when there are perfectly legitimate “curly quotes” available?
posted by caution live frogs at 10:16 AM on May 11, 2004


"Legend'' says: I generally care about world events. I favor cotton clothing. I think stress is bad. I want to stop injustice. I'm all for love. I wouldn't say no to the herb, if you get my drift.

Once upon a time it did. And that may be what Bob Marley wanted to say.

But these days owning it says, "I am dumb enough to think that buying an overpriced CD somehow demonstrates my solidarity with the Third World. I believe that patchouli oil actually smells good. I woship primitive cultures but would cry like a little bitch if my CD player broke. I eschew materialism, but my parents/trust fund supports my nomadic lifestyle/drug habit. I'm a nonconformist who hangs around exclusively with people who look, talk and act exactly like me. I believe in living simply but spent $200 on a six-foot Graffix bong. I embrace Afrocentricity but don't know a single black person."
posted by jonmc at 10:35 AM on May 11, 2004


You forgot "I am adverse to good grooming and hygiene."
posted by keswick at 10:41 AM on May 11, 2004


I'm averse to those things myself, keswick.

And I said all that as someone who owns the Marley Box Set and plenty of other reggae, and at age 15, owned Legend. I like Bob Marley fine. It's just the cult of clueless people surrounding him is incredibly irritating. And that goes triple for white guys with dreadlocks. I always wanna tie the locks together and swing him over my head like a lasso and let him go flying.
posted by jonmc at 10:45 AM on May 11, 2004


Funny, they make me want to reenact the snake charmer gag from "Rabbit of Seville" with electric clippers.
posted by keswick at 10:51 AM on May 11, 2004


as always Jim Goad has the last word...

he's a little rough on reggae in general, but he's on target with the trustafarians.
posted by jonmc at 10:55 AM on May 11, 2004


Heh. Legend was on a list of 30 albums which, if you owned more than 15 of them, made you a member of The Coldplay Generation...according to this article (can't find it, sorry) in The Guardian a while back. What else was on there...Joshua Tree, both Coldplay albums, Legend, Blue Lines, Dido, Beth Orton...
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:28 PM on May 11, 2004


is this the article card cheat?



I will not admit how many I own ;)
posted by efalk at 5:10 PM on May 11, 2004


damn html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,649247,00.html
posted by efalk at 5:11 PM on May 11, 2004


I find glib stereotyping and unfocused anger even less appealing than white dreads.
posted by muckster at 8:01 AM on May 12, 2004


The wording of the post invited parody, muckster. Plus there's truth in me and keswick's statements. Satirizing demographic groups of people shouldn't be off limits here, just because that group may be one that some members of mefi belong to or feel affinity towards. And all parody depends on stereotyping to some degree. And appealing to people has never been my goal.
posted by jonmc at 8:28 AM on May 12, 2004


Yeah, I recognize the parody, but aren't there are a lot worse people to get angry (or ironic) at? Wanting to stop injustice is now risible? I've grown tired of the cynical shtick that just itches to take pot shots at anybody who talks about love with a straight face. I mean, what's so funny about, etc.

Anyway. Here's to Bob!
posted by muckster at 10:44 AM on May 12, 2004


life is a piece of shit when youre a piece of shit
posted by Satapher at 11:08 AM on May 12, 2004


Heh! jonmc, that first post made milk shoot out my nose!
posted by reidfleming at 11:20 AM on May 12, 2004


I've grown tired of the cynical shtick that just itches to take pot shots at anybody who talks about love with a straight face. I mean, what's so funny about, etc.

Wanting to stop injustice is now risible?

No, people who talk a lot about injustice, but who ultimately do nothing but make facile self-serving gestures are and that's who the jibes were directed at.

I'm probably the least cynical and most sincere person I know. The potshots are not at the sentiment but at the hypocrisy. The people who think they're doing something good but aren't : I am dumb enough to think that buying an overpriced CD somehow demonstrates my solidarity with the Third World....I embrace Afrocentricity but don't know a single black person, etc.

Again, I have no doubts that Bob himself was sincere. The people I describe in my comments (and yes I'm aware that it's a broad generalization, but I do know plenty of people like that, and I'm sure you do, too) are not, or at best their clueless about what they're devoted to. I mean it's hard not to laugh at stoned white college kids eagerly bobbing their heads to "We're getting out of Babylon! Movement of Jah People!" Bob Marley's work was as angry and aggressive as often as it was peaceful, but that gets lost in the whole let's-fire-up-some-ganja-and-get-irie vibe that surrounds the reggae audience today.
posted by jonmc at 11:23 AM on May 12, 2004


I do know plenty of people like that, and I'm sure you do, too

In fact, I don't. But I have great friends who dearly love Marley, and I have known people who have died for those ideals. I appreciate your eagerness to point out hypocrisy, and I assume those straw hippies you describe must exist somewhere, but really, what harm does a trustafarian do? There must be more deserving targets for your wit.
posted by muckster at 12:35 PM on May 12, 2004


what harm does a trustafarian do?

Make the sincere and intelligent listeners/holders of those ideals look stupid. Confuse and garble those ideals so that they get miscommunicated.

Look, I know sincere hippies and rastas, too. But watching tie-dyed kids packed into Lexus SUV's on their way to Phish shows gets me a little irked. Or watching drunk middle-aged tourists dance to bad ersatz reggae in Key West cocktail lounges for that matter.

There must be more deserving targets for your wit.

Of course there are. But this thread was about the Legend album and more specifically what Mercury News writer said it signified.
posted by jonmc at 1:05 PM on May 12, 2004


Jeez, muckster, I love Marley and that record in particular, and I have the greatest respect for people who fight injustice, and I found jonmc's rant hilarious. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that not everything has to be Deadly Serious.

The question about the quotation marks is a great one, and I'm taking it to AskMeFi pronto.
posted by languagehat at 1:43 PM on May 12, 2004


You know, unfair prejudice is unfair prejudice, whether you think it's funny or not. Just imagine any minority in the place of the people jonmc was "parodying" and you should be able to see what I'm getting at. There was no sniping in the article, so I didn't understand why he had to add it to this thread.

But anyway--I'm over it, but I did want to point it out. You'll both enjoy the hell out of TC Boyle's Drop City, by the way. Maybe that's something we can agree on. In my experience, talking about a group of people in general terms never leads anywhere worthwhile.

And yeah, I'm listening to Phish's cover of "Soul Shakedown Party" right now.
posted by muckster at 3:02 PM on May 12, 2004


In another post Goad refers to Eek-A-Mouse as a "Jamaican reggae-nigra." Them's fightin' words, yo.

Otherwise, I can agree with some of Jon's sentiment, I purposely avoided Marley when getting into reggae 'cause it seemed like every white frat-boy I knew owned (and only owned) Legend.
So I bought Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker and Toots instead.

I think Peter Tosh's version of "Get Up, Stand Up" is superior because Tosh's delivery sounds like he going to kick your ass!
posted by black8 at 3:14 PM on May 12, 2004


In another post Goad refers to Eek-A-Mouse as a "Jamaican reggae-nigra." Them's fightin' words, yo.

That's kinda what Goad specializes in, black8. But he does it better than anybody else. If it makes you understand better, Goad's infamous Redneck Manifesto was inspired at least partly by a conversation between Goad and Negrophobia author Darius James. Both men have similar aesthetic goals; as Mos Def once said about Richard Pryor, "It's all about makin' you uncomfortable." And we all need to me made uncomfortable every now and then, about everything, especially that which we hold most dear. And that's what I'm sorta trying to do with rants like the above on occasion.

To muckster's credit, he made his case well, and seemed to get what I was saying. It wasn't a personal swipe at Marley or Muckster (who I've met and like). I also (and correct me if I'm wrong) believe that muckster is from Europe originally, where the neo-hippie scene (like the original hippie scene) is far different (and with more at stake) than in the US. I've written (tangentially) on this subject here before.

Oh, and the best reggae/Jamaican song of all time is "Pressure Drop" by Toots and The Maytals, closely followed by Lee Perry's "Return Of Django".
posted by jonmc at 3:46 PM on May 12, 2004


I think I feel ya on where Goad is coming from. But damn, picking on 'white rastas' is like shooting a fish in a barrel. So why cheapen a valid arguement with cheap theatrics?
I often get accused of "acting white" 'cause I don't talk or act like the guys you see on TV, but I believe that the power of the individual is primary. i.e. I'm black, but a few other things first.
Anyway, that's a discussion for another day.
My pick for best reggae song is Toots "Funky Kingston"...
posted by black8 at 2:44 AM on May 13, 2004


local college station has been playing "funky kingston" lately, toots + bootsy collins + the roots (is this what you were referring to, black8, or is this [as i suspect] a remix or re-recording of the song you're talking about?). i really like it. which is odd, as there's also a 3-hour sunday afternoon reggae show on the same station that i avoid, if possible. a lot of it is too angry for me, i think; peter tosh included. but then again, i'm a small-town midwestern white boy, so maybe it just doesn't resonate well with me. would like to hear more from toots and the maytals, though... if the rest of the music sounds like what i've been hearing i'm interested.

as for bob marley, a lot of his music that i've heard is great, in a lot of ways, but i do think that too many people i see in the university listen to marley because they like to get high, not because they think a whole lot about what marley had to say. they just sort of feel that if you're in your dorm room getting baked, you have to play marley.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:21 AM on May 14, 2004


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