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Day 233: [Various Artists] – Soundtrack to The Harder They Come

19 Oct

You Can Get It If You Really Want

Nope, that’s not the name of some obscure band trying to be clever.  While it would be hilarious if a band stylized as [Various Artists] did release an album called Soundtrack to The Harder They Come (believe me, mental note = made), I actually did listen to a movie soundtrack today.  This is a monumental Swole Ear post for a few reasons.  Not only is this the first (real) soundtrack that I’ve listened to for the project, but it is also the first time that I’ve dealt with a record put together by more than two different artists.

No, I’ve never seen The Harder They Come (the film), and due to a power outage, I’m writing this post way past my bedtime, and just don’t have the time to do my usual pre-album research.  Suggested in the comments of yesterday’s post as a way to enhance my ska knowledge bank by teaching me about the music referred to as rock steady, I’ve come to think of this genre as a tad more accessible than both reggae and ska.  With faster beats and catchier harmonies than the (limited) reggae that I’ve been exposed to, I understand why I was advised to listen to this album.

While five different artists put this soundtrack together, Jimmy Cliff steals the show as the performer behind half of the record’s twelve tracks.  (However, I do understand a few more references from The Lonely Island’s Ras Trent thanks to Desmond Dekker’s contribution).  Everyone knows Cliff’s You Can Get It If You Really Want, which works really well because of its rare combination of catchiness and guiltlessness.  That, along with most of Cliff’s other (similar) tracks, leads me to believe that that rock steady may actually have more to offer than ska.