Review: Chronixx – Chronology

Arguably the face of modern Reggae, Chronixx has been touring the globe playing small clubs to major arenas. Off the back of the success of ‘Who Knows’ and successful hits such as ‘Here Comes Trouble’ ‘Alpha & Omega’ and ‘Smile Jamaica’, tunes have been bubbling since 2015 at Skyline Levels Studios in Jamaica which has been placed onto this new album, Chronology. 

There have been frequent mentions of Spanish Town in Chronixx’s music and he even recorded ‘Spanish Town Rocking’, which kicks the album off. Based in the former English and Spanish capital, St Catherine Parish, Chronixx lets us into his roots and history in this album with mentions of De La Vega where he grew up. We also see features from not Justin Bieber, not Beyoncé, not Jay Z but his dad Chronicle.

By Liam Monaghan

I was excited to hear the album, Chronixx has a great band that are called the Zincfence Redemption band who tour with him also. He also has a great circle of producers apart from being a producer himself. Winta James has been integral in Chronixx’s rise to stardom over the last few years with some of the biggest Reggae productions in some time. Rather than expect a huge audience, Chronixx started small in the UK with very small capacity venues and organically built his following here. It’s a huge shame that so many artists come here led by promoters to play 1200 capacity venues and sell 200 tickets, hand in hand with this is the issue of money, its not just Artist > Manager > Booking Agent anymore, there’s levels of people who are always after a piece of the pie. The difference here is that Chronixx has his structure in place, great producers, great tour managers and names such as Daddi Barnz & Alex Rivas help him on his journey.

Spanish Town Rocking
Kicking off the album, Spanish Town Rocking, instantly you expect Barrington Levy to come in with Prison Oval Rock but nope! This is Chronixx. I like this tune and you can understand why it did so well around the world, the riddim is nice and chilled and has some nice hard hitting drums and a soft bounce throughout which gives Chronixx platform to tell us about growing up in Spanish Town. His unique style and delivery of lyrics generates a flow that sets him apart from artists currently.

Big Bad Sound featuring Chronicle
Father Song combination for the second track in which is entitled Big Bad Sound, I really like this track, the introduction is futuristic but then a blues like piano starts abruptly running through the track before a small bridge before Chronixx Deejays his way through the rest of the track. Chronixx teams up with his father Chronicle for this track and Chronicle being a veteran knew what was expected of him in this track. I couldn’t imagine a prouder father in the world in the last few years. With hints of Dancehall and upbeat one drop sweetness, a great track!

Skankin’ Sweet
Slightly more chilled from Big Bad Sound, Skankin Sweet is the third track in, videos emerged recently that went across the likes of facebook and sessions on the BBC already gave fans some exposure to this track. The chorus on this track is extremely catchy and the hook is one of those where the band cuts out and a festival of 20 thousand shouting Skankin’ Sweet, everyone wanna feel irie!

Ghetto Paradise
There’s quite a contrast in the title of this track that sets the tone of the track. Jamaica no doubt is a beautiful island but maybe isn’t as clean and chirpy as the photos look in the Thomas Cook or TUI travel brochures. There’s social issues and the simple message in this track is don’t be fooled by some photos and this impression that everyone walks around all day playing reggae and getting high. The riddim is very calm and minimal and there’s an air of darkness around this track.

Country Boy
Hailing out of Middlesex, which is primarily a countryside location in Jamaica, You can’t help but Chronixx is talking about someone he may know in this track. There’s quite a contrast of countryside and big cities in Jamaica so there’s different ways of life. The riddim is different from what we have heard already on the album, which is an almost Hip Hop-esuque with an altered tempo and some nice drum arrangements. Farmer Man and Rude Boys do not go hand in hand, this song addresses both attitudes in Jamaica.

Smile Jamaica
Arguably one of the biggest Reggae tracks of the modern time we have Smile Jamaica. This track has been out for a fair amount of time so I didn’t really listen to it as I’ve heard it 100+ times however i really I enjoy this track, I’ve seen Chronixx perform it live 3 times and its my mothers ring tone! The soft relaxing riddim sums up the chilled consciousness of Reggae music whilst Chronixx’s positive uplifting lyrics really make you smile and cheer up your day.

I Can
A slightly different way to kick off the track, Mr. Peter Tosh recites Psalm 121: “The sun shall not smite I by day, nor the moon by night” . This track really shows Chronixx’s versatility as the riddim isn’t strictly Reggae at all, more EDM/Pop. It was a given that something like this track would feature with the huge EDM influence over the Atlantic. That’s not a bad thing though, its nice to mix up the album!

Selassie Children
Some simple drumming in this track with some gentle plucking just brings the mood down a little whilst Chronixx does his thing. A deep conventional track that is a easy listen, I assume this is not for a live show but I’m guessing a track that Chronixx really admires, he produced it and it’s a salute to the rise in Rastafari in the modern day.

Black is Beautiful
At a time in the world when there is war, separation, racism, homophobia and discrimination is rife, lots of artists are taking to the microphone to voice their views on issues and also some call for peace. This track is an emotional plea from Chronixx to recognise the racism that is happening around the globe and its beautiful to be black. I feel some artists wouldn’t touch this song however with the crossover fans that Chronixx has, fair play and salute to Chronixx for reaching out with this track.

Think old school soul and blues in this track, with fragments of similarity with Otis Gayle’s 1971 Studio One classic ‘I’ll Be Around’ (originally sung by the ’70s soul group The Spinners) Chronixx pushes that versatility a little further and this rendition is an ode to a persona or just one for the ladies. There’s a video to this track directed by directed by Che Kothari and Chronixx, its set in a rustic cabin surrounded by the lush Jamaican scenery of Strawberry Hill Together in the parish of St. Mary.

When this record kicks off, you really don’t expect a Dancehall-esque riddim. Its quite a deep song that really speaks to its listeners, I think listeners will be able to associate the lyrics which will create a bond with the track. We’re back on the border of EDM/Reggae/Dancehall, which keeps the album fresh. Its hard to discuss the track as you need to draw your on conclusions on how you feel about the track, for me personally… quite sad!

Social media is taking over the world and its taken over your phones, installed fear, depression and addiction into life. The riddim is built in a dancehall style. Ironically the majority of artists about today especially abroad wouldn’t be heard if it wasn’t for social media and likes  and on top of monetizing videos and profiteering from videos. I do like the song, its catchy! The premise of the track is also good. I agree with Chronixx that social media is ruining our day-to-day life and I miss how life was 16 years ago where people spoke face to face and the influx of social issues wasn’t escalated and controlled by others. A good track and I’m sure Chronixx’s nearly 1 million organic social media followers will also agree. (we hope that we as “media men”, don’t interpret Chronixx Wrong 🙂 ).

Tell Me Now
We’ve moved back to a familiar hip hop-inspired tune and continuing that versatility. This track has all the key features of a Chronixx production, strings, guitars, piano, bass line and solid drum arrangements. The production quality is second to none. Chronixx discusses Optimism, the future and pride. All in all a nice easy listening track which starts to bring the album to a close.

You really have to listen to the lyrics in this track. Chronixx tells us about the lack of recognition for making a change. It’s actually quite a thought provoking record. Chornixx claims you make simple changes and you can be a hero. Chronixx is a normal ordinary person and people have greatness but these people never make the news. There are mentions of the BBC and other news outlets also in this record who ‘don’t show it’

Some good Soul & Blues to finish off the album. It’s been an interesting journey with Chronixx and he’s has brought us on a roller coaster of riddims but we end on a love song.  Christina is a concoction of gospel, soul and blues, which has appeared in much of Chronixx’s productions and work we’ve heard on this album. It’s a nice song overall and a great way to end the album.

In summary, Chronology hasn’t been a let down. There’s been much hype about this album; Chronixx has always been successful with his mixtapes and productions and he’s grown his fan base organically and his music touches millions. One can only hope that he continues on this journey and the money and suits stay away. There’s plenty of talented artists in Jamaica that need celebrating and I’m hoping this album really kick-starts a series of forward thinking albums that challenge the listeners and radio stations.