It took Collie Buddz a solid 10 years to drop another LP, although he did offer up two (fairly) dense EPs between. Good Life (Self-released, 2017), slings more from the club crooner, although this album offers a dark side to Collie we haven’t quite seen yet.
While he’s under the reggae label, Collie is sometimes more hip-hop/R&B than roots. For instance, Snoop Dog guest stars post the Snoop Lion saga, but no popular reggae artist is featured. CB flourishes over club-ready beats rich with cracking snares and kicks, plunky synth, and fat basslines. I’m generally not really into this style of reggae, but Collie Buddz has me hooked. This album is tight, but way out of my wheelhouse; Collie Buddz is often singjaying about parties at clubs, rising with the sunrise, and juggling multiple women falling over him. Can I relate? Not quite, but other than a lot of pop music that promotes this lifestyle as a means for street and professional cred., Collie sings about this nightlife instances with humility. His gratitude for his life caresses Good Life through and through.
The title track is a prime example. “Fourth shot fi bring in party season,” he offers; “fifth shot mi take just for no reason.” Rolling out this scene is done over stripped down, slinky reggae riddims; a strange and yet classic-Collie juxtaposition. It’s restrained, and restraint is always something CB’s done well.
Collie seems plagued by some demons he’s never admitted to before. One of the album’s best songs, and the opener, “Control”, offers, “For all my failures/ please don’t judge me/ I’m trying my best,” and on “Part of My Life” he begins, “It’s 3am/ I’m fucked up… Lately, I’ve had no luck.” The chorus reports, “Sometimes that’s how it goes.” Despite the veneer, CB’s ability to get personal on a lot of his songs is a solid strength, something partially done here and I’d recommend more of in the future.
To close out Good Life, Collie offers “Glass House”, far and away the album’s best song, and it’s no wonder: straight reggae rock steady, rich bass, and Collie flowin’ like a river. He’s at his peak when he steps out of the limelight and offers sincere societal criticism from behind the shadowy mic. No synth beats or guest stars needed, (okay, maybe a little Autotune, but whatever): “Mouth runnin’ like a 12-year-old on Snapchat,” he pulses; “You live in a glass house/ no fling pebble.” Hot fire.
Good Life is not Collie Buddz’s masterpiece, but that one’s coming, for sure. This is more refining of his craft, sometimes so spot on, and overall a great listen. At least five of the songs could receive gold medals for catchiness, (especially “Save Me From The Rain”, featuring Kat Dahlia’s infectious chorus). If you like Collie, you’ll love this.