Monday, 18 June 2012

FIFTY SHADES OF GREEN: Theme song “On a Mission” opts for modern-day appeal over nostalgia

No one should be surprised really that Shaggy’s idea of the perfect track to represent Jamaica in the year of our Golden Jubilee is an anthemic, get-up-and-dance party jam. Mr. Boombastic has always had a thing for high-energy fanfare.

So when the Jamaica 50 Secretariat tapped the Grammy-winning megastar to produce the official Jamaica 50 theme song (to get Jamaicans in the mood for celebration and to motivate our London-bound Olympic hopefuls), he came up with “On A Mission,” an exuberant, pulsating four-minute single packed with star cameos and no shortage of Jamrock-style vigour – and regular references to our resourcefulness and countless achievements as a nation.

But after a few listens, for me it’s not the memorable gem I was anticipating. Still, for what it is, it’s a laudable effort that should find favour with its (obviously) youthful target audience.

On the surface, what “On a Mission” captures unequivocally is the spirit of the digital, futuristic-leaning age we now live in. Not old-school Jamdung. Consequently, those mature listeners who were expecting a vintage, “authentic Jamaican roots” flavour will be disappointed.

On the upside, while the track is devoid of all nostalgic appeal, it does boast an impressive mix of real Jamaican performers – icons (Beres Hammond, Chevelle Franklin, Shaggy), young veterans (Damian Marley, Tarrus Riley) and future legends (Romain Virgo, Tifa, Wayne Marshall, Tessanne) – who each make their own solid contributions.

In the end, in spite of its thumping foreign beat (a techno-pop vibe) and clichéd command to “jump jump,” what “On a Mission” has going for it is an endlessly youthful joie de vivre and palpable pride in being Jamaican. But what is perhaps Shaggy and company’s most notable achievement here is shining the spotlight on the road ahead for Jamaica while encouraging us to fully celebrate this Jubilee moment.

>> Listen to the song below and decide for yourself:

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  1. I agree. It obviously has a different, more modern "feel" than the other song... But I know quite a few young people who don't like it. The issue is not really which song sounds best but how the whole thing has been handled. And won't "techno pop" sound old-fashioned and passé in a few years' time? Hardly one for posterity, eh...

  2. Sorry but for me it is way too ordinary and one thing we Jamaicans are not , is ordinary smh. we a nuh common mango! we a straight Julie and East indian so not even school pickney ago waa digest this. A clear miss for me.

  3. We can do better at 50. We are Jamaicans. Why not put this out to a competitive effort like we did with the National Anthem in 1962 or with the JCDC song competition every year.

  4. Look! Jamaica is known all over the world for her music, not for copying other people's music. This is not Jamaican!

  5. Sounds hip and hyped up but not the best that we do in terms of music that represents the root and flavour of Jamaican music . Lyrics , intro, composition not capturing the 50 year milestone...wheel and come again!