Beres Hammond One Love One Life

5
Beres Hammond has enjoyed a lengthy career as Jamaica's greybeard crooner of choice. At this point though, having perfected the classy, mature persona that has served him so well, he's starting to crest over the hill. It's partly the fault of the music; he used to smooth out the edges of many a tough dancehall production ("Too Experienced" is his signature song in that style), but now he finds himself riding nostalgic echoes of roots reggae that make less of an impression than ever. There's a greater strain in both high and low ranges of his voice that reinforces his age, plus his diction is a half step slower. Lead single "One Love, One Life" still sounds like his old self, but has production that aims more for satellite radio streams than edgier forums for Jamaican music. A few songs on this overlong double disc stand out, like the two Sly and Robbie productions ("In My Arms" and "Prime Time"), which find room for a few air horns. One might think this is watered down music in search of crossover appeal, but One Love One Life is exactly the speed Hammond is comfortable with right now, which is older and slower, just like his aging fanbase. This is for fans only.