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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Zombie

Fela Kuti

1977

Zombie

Album Summary

Zombie is a studio album by Nigerian Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti. It was released in Nigeria by Coconut Records in 1976, and in the United Kingdom by Creole Records in 1977.The album criticised the Nigerian government; and it is thought to have resulted in the murder of Kuti's mother Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, and the destruction of his commune by the military.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.45

Votes

5935

Genres

  • Funk
  • Soul
  • World
  • Jazz
Reviews
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View Author
Thu Apr 22 2021
5

YES this is the kind of music I was hoping to find on here - artists/music/genres I've never heard of but instantly like and appreciate. This musician's bio was awesome to read - he's had such an influence on so many people

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Sat Feb 13 2021
4

Politically charged, yet makes me wanna party. Thats a combo I can get down with.

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Fri Mar 05 2021
5

I’m keeping this one. You can have it back later.

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Wed Jun 23 2021
5

I love me some Fela Kuti, but I've listened to his early-70s stuff more than the rest. My favourite album is "Gentleman", and I stand by that as being his best work. However, "Zombie" is close behind, and I hadn't fully appreciated it until now. The album was a critique of the Nigerian military, and it resulted in violent suppression of Kuti, his family and his followers. But the music is also worth holding up on his own terms. The original record has two 12-min tracks (the other two are reissue bonus tracks), and as usual they are energetic explorations of funk and jazz, matched with African rhythms and call-and-response. "Gentleman" has an even better elastic energy to it, but "Zombie" is a little more polished. Many of Kuti's albums do follow a blueprint, but it's such a good and original blueprint that it doesn't matter! Perfect 5 for this one.

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Thu Mar 11 2021
5

This album delivers the 2 things I felt were missing from Monday's Fela album, so I have no choice but to give it a 5. The album cover alone is worth a 5. Sue and I drove to Toronto in 1987 to see them at Lamport Stadium and the concert was cancelled due to "VISA issues" which, in retrospect, I understand to mean the Nigerian government didn't want Fela travelling the world singing about Zombie Soldiers. I have a much greater appreciation listening all these years later, after hearing his influence popping up in the 3 decades of Acid Jazz that have been released since.

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Thu May 20 2021
5

Great for cooking and chilling

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Fri May 07 2021
5

LOVELY, thicc jazz

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Fri Oct 29 2021
5

The mighty Fela! You have to admire a man who can marry 27 women and still survive another two decades after that. This album is one of a bunch of classic releases by him in the 70s. The original only have two pieces on it, each slightly under 13 minutes but both having such an impact both politically and musically. If you ever wondered where the Talking Heads got a major influence from. Even McCartney talked about seeing Fela play when flew to Lagos to record Band on the Run. I usually try to rate just the original album but that would already have received 5 stars. The bonus tracks I think add to the original release and the album still maintains it's original vibe with them added. If you're looking to get into more of his music checkout out Roforofo Fight, Gentleman, Sorrow Tears & Blood, or Expensive Shit. All of these along with Zombie are probably his strongest releases.

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Fri Oct 29 2021
5

Wow, this was just... amazing. Really hit that jazz craving I need every so often. Reading the background of the album was essential to this as well. Definitely going to seek out more of his work.

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Fri Sep 16 2022
5

A phenomenal album with a funky sound, an artist with an admirable commitment to freedom, and lyrics that are easy for an English speaker to understand but with hidden depths and a biting political message. No complaints.

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Thu Feb 18 2021
4

Did a quick Wiki on this and mad props to Fela Kuti. He showed integrity and the importance of making your voice heard through your art, and he suffered so much from it. The music itself lacking context is also really good

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Sat Oct 02 2021
2

Very long, horn-y songs

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Sat Mar 12 2022
5

Fela you've never done me wrong. African Jazz is some of the best shit we, as a species, have ever come up with (not that I can take any credit for it). ONE OF THE FEW ALBUMS ON THIS CURSED LIST THAT IS TOO SHORT INSTEAD OF TOO LONG.

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Tue Oct 11 2022
5

Wow, very into this. I’m gonna be looking up the discography. My first 5 star moment. Come through Fela!

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Mon May 03 2021
4

This is generally not my genre. That said, the sheer unbridled energy brought to music on this album is infectious. It's 100% a protest album and also 100% and act of creative freedom. It was his way of saying "screw you I'm going to be me and be free no matter what." And you have to respect that. Even so, it really really wasn't my jam. So I can't give it full marks.

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Tue Feb 09 2021
4

Zombie was the most popular and impacting record that Fela Kuti & Africa 70 would record -- it ignited the nation to follow Fela's lead and antagonize the military zombies that had the population by the throat.

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Mon Feb 01 2021
4

What a groovy, fun album! The first track Zombie is the more upbeat of the half, with a clear blueprint for the incredible opening track Born Under Punches on Remain In Light, released three years later. Clearly an important political album, criticizing the Nigerian military of the day. It's impossible not to appreciate such a cornerstone.

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Thu Mar 11 2021
4

I was going to say, as a joke, that a nice change from the Fela album we heard a few days ago is the half dozen or so of his wives who joined to sing back up vocals.  But after reading wiki, they might all actually be his wives. Fuck I'm funny!   On general principle, I can't give the same same artist two 5s in one week even though I like Zombie more. I feel like the boxing judge who is worried he scored an early round wrong so makes up for it by fudging the score in a later round. 

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Wed Jun 09 2021
4

When I first saw it was only four song, without checking the time length, I assumed it was a fairly short EP. Then, before I knew it, I had listened to almost an hour of some pretty groovy jazz. Enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would (especially since the album cover is less than appealing). Not going to add it to my library as I don’t imagine I will ever listen to it again, but it was definitely a great album. 4/5.

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Tue Sep 07 2021
4

Zombie is a studio album by Nigerian Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti. It was released in Nigeria by Coconut Records in 1976, and in the United Kingdom by Creole Records in 1977.[1] The album criticised the Nigerian government; and it is thought to have resulted in the murder of Kuti's mother Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, and the destruction of his commune by the military. The album was a scathing attack on Nigerian soldiers using the zombie metaphor to describe the methods of the Nigerian military. The album was a smash hit with the people and infuriated the government, setting off a vicious attack against the Kalakuta Republic (a commune that Fela had established in Nigeria), during which one thousand soldiers attacked the commune. Kuti was severely beaten, and his elderly mother was thrown from a window, causing fatal injuries. The Kalakuta Republic was burned, and Kuti's studio, instruments, and master tapes were destroyed. Kuti claimed that he would have been killed if it were not for the intervention of a commanding officer as he was being beaten. Kuti's response to the attack was to deliver his mother's coffin to the main army barrack in Lagos and write two songs, "Coffin for Head of State" and "Unknown Soldier", referencing the official inquiry that claimed the commune had been destroyed by an unknown soldier. Kuti and his band then took residence in Crossroads Hotel as the Shrine had been destroyed along with his commune. In 1978 Kuti married 27 women, many of whom were his dancers, composers, and singers to mark the anniversary of the attack on the Kalakuta Republic. Later, he was to adopt a rotation system of keeping only twelve simultaneous wives.[2] The year was also marked by two notorious concerts, the first in Accra in which riots broke out during the song "Zombie," which led to Kuti being banned from entering Ghana. The second was at the Berlin Jazz Festival after which most of Kuti's musicians deserted him, due to rumors that Kuti was planning to use the entirety of the proceeds to fund his presidential campaign.

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Wed Sep 15 2021
4

Apparently this album is a "scathing attack on Nigerian soldiers using the zombie metaphor to describe the methods of the Nigerian military" and its release resulted in the military attacking Fela Kuti's home and studio, beating Kuti and killing his mother in the process. . The album is comprises only two tracks. Both are powerful and funky with politically charged lyrics. The metaphor is clear once the context is known, and both tracks appear to be questioning soldiers following orders like the titular zombies and Mr Follow Follows. Away from the heavy context, considered just as a piece of music, this is an enjoyable and fun listen. With the context this is powerful and engaging. 4/5.

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Tue Oct 26 2021
4

I appreciate this. I read up on the story behind the album and the meaning of the songs and it feels like a powerful and enduring work. However, there's shallower layer where Fela Kuti also reminds me of when it's the 90s and you're hanging out with a dude and he keeps playing his Fela vinyl and he's digging it more than he's digging you and it triggers an existential crisis. Maybe we could have had a 1001 albums date.

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Tue Mar 02 2021
3

Refreshment, and yet another African record that I imagine being cool live.

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Fri Oct 02 2020
2

More African shit

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Tue Aug 02 2022
2

Wow, this album seems to have quite a tragic and bloody history, which I guess makes the lyrics some of the most potent ever. Musically, there's nothing I don't like, per se... but if you were to cut off ~4 minutes at the start and end of every track (leaving the call-and-response vocal bits) I'd probably rate it a lot higher. It's the kind of music which, if a live band was performing it, I'd have an absolutely great time dancing to for 5-10 minutes... before gradually losing enthusiasm over the next hour until I was swaying out of habit only; a little dead behind the eyes and secretly, desperately wondering when it was going to end. 2.5 stars.

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Mon Aug 22 2022
2

Definitely not my style. This music maybe better suited to being played during the ending credits of a 70’s cop show or blacksploitation karate movie.

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Tue Feb 15 2022
1

Steely Dan is an ok artist with about 3 decent songs. His album with reeling in the years on it was acceptable. This is just pushing it. It’s alright but there is nothing that says to me ‘this is in the top 1001 albums ever written’

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Sat Apr 17 2021
5

This guy used his craft to stick it to the man and paid the ultimate price for it, then got back up and did it again. An incredible story. The songs are bangers, too. Best track: Zombie

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Mon Mar 15 2021
5

So good, great rhythms and beats.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

fantastic, nog nooit so naar afrobeat geluisterd en wat dit album heeft gedaan voor nigeria echt top genieten van begin tot eind

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Fri Mar 05 2021
5

The first song reminded me of the first time I listened to the Stray Cats for some odd reason and I just got all types of fired up

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Sat Feb 27 2021
5

Zumbi

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Fri Apr 30 2021
5

Awesome! 4 songs of funky goidness!

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Mon Mar 29 2021
5

Rhythm is gonna get you.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

Caught me by surprise. Amazing stuff.

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Thu Mar 18 2021
5

Pretty tight, I guess I like Jazz

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Thu Jan 21 2021
5

awesome

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

Fuhhhh

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Mon Feb 01 2021
5

How have I never heard of this guy?

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

Deadly album, great to put on in the background and chill with a cup of tea.

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Thu Jan 21 2021
5

Good Afrobeat

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Fri Feb 26 2021
5

So good.

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Sat Feb 20 2021
5

Yes yes yes. love it

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Mon Feb 01 2021
5

Deadly jazz album

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Fri Mar 05 2021
5

so much fun! great vibes. love all the brass

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Tue Mar 23 2021
5

Really enjoyed this.

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Sat Feb 27 2021
5

Can’t go wrong with some Fela in your ear.

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Fri Mar 12 2021
5

Absolutely slaps to high heaven.

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Wed Mar 10 2021
5

I love this album. A jazz maestro at his peak, blendign African rhythms and backing with his own genius playing.

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Thu Apr 29 2021
5

Really great, really groovy

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Fri May 21 2021
5

Had an absolute vibe to this whilst was studying. Firm favourite.

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Tue Jun 01 2021
5

i fucked with this heavy, it took a couple days to get to but this is going right in the study music rotation

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Mon Jun 28 2021
5

i don't know how to rate this, but it FEELS awesome, so i bet it IS awesome. Also this dude had like 27 wives

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Thu May 27 2021
5

Huge fan of this album, iconic material.

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Fri Jul 30 2021
5

Quizá mi calificación para este disco sorprenda, pero hay una justificación interesante: el estilo musical de Fela (al menos en este disco) es una mezcla de Jazz y Funk con ritmos tradicionales Yoruba, y la música afrocubana tiene una influencia importante de los ritmos Yoruba. A pesar de que sus canciones "duran mucho", tienen una musicalización y una vocalización que las hacen muy agradables, casi casi dan ganas de bailar, lo cuál contrasta significativamente con los motivos de su letra. Seguramente la situación política de Nigeria en los 70's fue muy complicada, y no justifica lo que el gobierno hizo con Fela, pero la verdad el amigo si estaba medio loquito. Es una fortuna que su "locura" abonara a la creación de este disco tan interesante.

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Fri Sep 03 2021
5

Afrobeat legend

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Mon Sep 13 2021
5

First two songs definitely the standouts, but this whole album is a jam. Remember dad playing this, horns and drums killer and the limited vocals all hit hard.

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Mon Sep 13 2021
5

I’ve been a Fela fan for a long time, so was really happy to see this album. Love side one (that’s song one and two for you youngsters who didn’t grow up on vinyl). Side two was good, but didn’t have the catch of the other two songs. The interplay of the Sax, organ, drums and guitars are phenomenal. I even like the brass here; usually horns are not my favorite. Afrobeat jamming at its best. This is a 4.5, but I’m rounding up due to the artist and the album’s superiority to Kate Bush and Super Fury Animals. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Listworthy? = 👍

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Tue Sep 14 2021
5

Saved Prior: None Off Rip Tier: 2. Mr. Follow Follow 1. Zombie Overall Notes: This was really really good. Brave politics and boomin' beats. 25 minutes of vital music.

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Thu Sep 23 2021
5

Otra joya de estos masters

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Mon Oct 11 2021
5

1978 - Funky reggae JAZZ!

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Mon Oct 25 2021
5

great music if you like jazzy tunes

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Sat Nov 13 2021
5

groovy spunky specfunkular, even 10/10

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Mon Nov 15 2021
5

Killer funky afrobeat album with a powerful antimilitaristic message on top. Definitely a classic worthy of this project.

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Mon Nov 15 2021
5

Class

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Fri Nov 26 2021
5

Loved this!

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Sun Nov 28 2021
5

Really loved it, never heard of him but got pleasantly surprised. Only 5 songs in the album, but around 12/13 mins each. Early rock/soul vibes, very chill with good riffs, loved it.

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Mon Dec 06 2021
5

Amazing

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Tue Dec 07 2021
5

5/5. Historical, crazy backstory, great percussion n bass. Might be fav Kuti

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Sat Dec 11 2021
5

Endlessly repeatable. Great great afrobeat album.

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Mon Dec 20 2021
5

This is the kind of music that deserves 5 stars just because of its existence. It's not the best Jazz album that I listened to here on this list, but that has very good songs with some meaning. The Wikipedia article here is essential to understand the album.

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Tue Jan 04 2022
5

epic!!

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Tue Jan 11 2022
5

Outstanding album by Fela. A stunning act of political courage on his part, and a testament to the power of music. Fave Songs: Zombie, Mr. Follow Follow

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Sat Jan 15 2022
5

Knew this was one of the best known Fela Kuti albums but never got to listen to it. A few days ago I made a mistake with giving a +2 score for Os Mutantes way too early. Did not want to make the same mistake. So listened a few times to Zombie - only two songs after all :-) - and really started to like them: great rhythms and hardly noticed the second time that they both last for 12 minutes or.

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Tue Jan 25 2022
5

Brilliant album!

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Tue Feb 08 2022
5

fuckin dig it. some mad cowboy bebop vibes in the first couple songs

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Sun Feb 27 2022
5

The title track alone makes this an album worthy of classic status. But there's much more here than just that epic. Each of the 5 songs are worthy exercises in jazz / afro beat greatness. 5 🌟

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Thu Mar 17 2022
5

Hah hah yes! Awesome! By turns funky, chill, groovy and banging. An archetypal afrobeat album. Fave track - "Zombie" for upbeat, "Mr. Follow, Follow" for chill

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Fri Mar 18 2022
5

Geggjuð plata, stórfenglegt afróbít!

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Sat Mar 19 2022
5

Wish there was more like this on the list

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Tue Apr 12 2022
5

As a fan of progressive jazz and acid jazz this took it to a whole new level and I can't believe I've never heard it before! The afrobeats and percussion that go along with it it is just amazing

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Tue Apr 12 2022
5

Funky

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Sun Apr 17 2022
5

It turns out that I love afro beat! Really fun, engaging, and interesting to listen to, and not as dense or challenging as I would have thought. Brilliant, hope to hear more from Fela and his various bands. P.s. read the Wikipedia page to see how his government reacted to the success of this album - showing why it was needed.

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Tue Apr 26 2022
5

I'm not sure what happened, I totally lost myself in the music. Fantastic!

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Fri Apr 29 2022
5

OH YESSS love a bit of afrobeats, this is the real stuff. Holy shit though I can't believe the levels of controversy in the history of this album and I'm so sad to hear about Kuti's mother, heart breaking. That kind of sums up exactly the message he was trying to send out with this album... I can't believe the juxtaposition of how happy this makes me feel but also how sad it truly is. That's art!

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Mon May 09 2022
5

Great but sad story behind this album. I love being able to trace history through music, and this certainly delivers. Fantastic afrobeat tunes

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Tue May 17 2022
5

This music PUNCHES AND FUCKS.

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Thu May 19 2022
5

Goddamn what a fucking tour of force this album is. Insanely catchy, insanely influential (on both the global scene and on the country in which it was created) and nothing less than a masterpiece.

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Tue May 24 2022
5

Oh, this band is so funky... I did some searching to see what other reviews were out there, and some that I came across (sound collective, I'm looking at you) found the consistent rhythm, the pidgen lyrics, and rough recording style difficult. I love all those aspects. The mixture of African polyrhythm, jazz and funk is infectious and compelling. The political content of this album is powerful (so much so that it prompted violent retribution from the Nigerian armed forces). Fela is the real deal, no compromises, and funky as hell while he is doing it.

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Wed Jun 01 2022
5

Seems like this list has a real preference for jazz that is heavy as shit. I'm not complaining. Just observing.

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Thu Jul 14 2022
5

Thank you for giving me this. It's the album I need to play when I'm in a certain mood, but didn't know it existed, so I played some twaddle instead. Mint.

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Tue Jul 19 2022
5

Ömm... dansade hejvilt till denna...

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Tue Jul 19 2022
5

Fela had the winning formula; Half an hour, 2 tracks, all groove

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Wed Jul 20 2022
5

Love it

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Tue Aug 02 2022
5

Wow what an amazing album. The title track is a true de force of infectious African poly rhythms and jazz melodies. An amazing song. The rest of tgealbum; more of the same. Reminds me of the revelation of my first listen to Miles' In A Silent Way 5 🌟

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Thu Aug 18 2022
5

I only knew this album from GTA series before, but listening to it all the way through for the first time this is excellent Afrobeat.

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Sun Aug 28 2022
5

Sonzao nask

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Wed Aug 31 2022
5

A very good album with a very intesting backstory. I never would listen to this if it wasn't recommended to me. It was neat learning and researching this album Each song is around twelve minutes longs with nice jazzy sections and sing song type vocals. The song ZOMBIE has some some very unique intro mental. Then it break out into some protest vocals. If I has to critical of this album the song MR. FOLLOW FOLLOW Is kinda of boring in some place, but other then that this is probably beat on generated for me so far

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Mon Sep 05 2022
5

Love this. It is hard to listen to knowing what happened though.

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Fri Sep 09 2022
5

Completely new to me, an unexpected treat. Fun, funky afro-jazz, with huge history

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