Apple Music 100 Best Albums

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Bob Marley & The Wailers


Songs about the tension between the hope that every little thing will be all right—and the worry that it won’t.

In the years leading up to the recording of Bob Marley’s ninth album in early 1977, Jamaica had experienced a tremendous swell in political violence, with gang and paramilitary groups affiliated with the country’s two main parties—the Jamaica Labour Party and the People’s National Party—killing each other in triple-digit numbers. Marley had stepped in to try and alleviate the mood with the Smile Jamaica Concert shortly before the country’s elections in December 1976, only to be shot during a home invasion two days before the show. He played anyway.

What you hear on Exodus is the tension between the hope that every little thing will be all right and the creeping worry that it won’t. Marley recorded the album during a self-imposed exile in London, a distance that cast his optimism about Jamaica in a cautious light. And while his politics had never been of more public interest, the album’s most uplifting songs turned inward toward matters personal, romantic, and spiritual: “Three Little Birds,” the lovelorn “Waiting in Vain,” the legacy-defining “One Love.”

Exodus is Bob and the band’s most groundbreaking record in terms of what it did for them as artists and what it did for the music in general… It was such a revolutionary sound.”

Ziggy Marley