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Music / Uprising

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But my hand was made strong by the hand of the Almighty. We forward in this generation, triumphantly. Won't you help to sing these songs of freedom? 'Cause all I ever have: redemption songs, redemption songs

"I carried Bob Marley's 'Redemption Song' to every meeting I had with a politician, prime minister, or president. It was for me a prophetic utterance or as Bob would say 'the small axe that could fell the big tree'. The song reminded me that freedom always comes with a cost, but for those who would prepare to pay it, maybe 'emancipation from mental slavery' would be our reward."

Uprising is a 1980 album by Bob Marley & The Wailers, the 12th in their catalogue and the final studio album released while Marley as still alive. The record is most famous for the hits "Could You Be Loved?" and the standout track "Redemption Song", which was unusual in the sense that it just featured Marley alone, playing acoustic guitar and without any musical traces of Reggae.


Side One

  1. "Coming In From The Cold" (4:30)
  2. "Real Situation" (3:08)
  3. "Bad Card" (2:50)
  4. "We And Dem" (3:12)
  5. "Work" (3:41)

Side Two

  1. "Zion Train" (3:36)
  2. "Pimper's Paradise" (3:27)
  3. "Could You Be Loved" (3:57)
  4. "Forever Loving Jah" (3:52)
  5. "Redemption Song" (3:47)

The 2001 bonus edition adds the band version of "Redemption Song" as a bonus track and the 12-inch mix of "Could You Be Loved".

Could You Be Troped?

  • Addled Addict: The woman in "Pimper's Paradise", who smokes, shifts coke and is basically a paradise for men who want to control her as a prostitute.
  • Alliterative Title: "Pimper's Paradise" and "Coming In From The Cold"
  • As the Good Book Says...: "We And Dem"
    Oh children, mark my word
    It's what the Bible say, yeah! Yeah!
  • Atomic Hate: "Redemption Song" has an odd line about fear for atomic energy, which really comes out of nowhere in an otherwise general song about redemption and freedom.
    Have no fear for atomic energy
    'Cause none of them can stop the time
  • Continuity Nod: "Could You Be Loved?" has a line directly lifted from Marley's debut single "Judge Not". Seeing that this album was Marley's final album recorded during his lifetime this makes it also an example of Book Ends.
    The road of life is rocky, and you may stumble too
    So while you point a finger, someone else is judging you
  • Crapsack World:
    • "Real Situation"
    Well, it seems like: total destruction the only solution
    And there ain't no use: no one can stop them now
    • "We And Dem"
    But in the beginning Jah created everything
    Givin' man dominion over all things
    But now it's too late
    You see, men has lost their faith
    Eating up all the flesh from off the Earth
    We no know how we and dem a-go work it out
  • Cut Song:
    • "Chant Down Babylon", replaced by "Coming In From The Cold" late in the sessions. It ended up on "Confrontation".
    • "Give Thanks And Praises", omitted from the LP due to its similarity to "Forever Loving Jah", also ended up on "Confrontation"
    • "Redemption Song [Band Version]" which was replaced by the acoustic demo per Chris Blackwell's suggestion. Ended up as a b-side to the single and also on the Uprising remaster.
  • Cue the Sun: A sunrise is depicted on the album cover.
  • "Days of the Week" Song: "Work"
    Five days to go: working for the next day
    Four days to go: working for the next day
    Say we got: three days to go now: working for the next day
    Two days to go (ooh): working for the next day, yeah.
    Say we got: one day to go: working for the -
    Every day is work - work - work - work!
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life:
    Everything in life got its purpose
    Find its reason in every season
  • Drugs Are Bad: "Pimper's Paradise", about a female Addled Addict.
    Don't lose track of yourself
    Don't be just a stock, a stock on the shelf
  • God-Is-Love Songs: This is pretty much Marley's most religious album, with the tracks "Zion Train", "Forever Loving Jah" and "Redemption Song" all directly refeering faith, while almost all other songs also allude to it. As Marley was already sick with cancer at the time this was probably not that unusual.
  • Grief Song: "Redemption Song". Originally it was performed with the entire band, but producer Chris Blackwell suggested Bob to include an acoustic version instead, which features the singer alone. This ended up making the song feel much more poignant, and to be seen as a fitting "goodbye" song. It also made it a stand out track on the album, leading to its release as a single, something which probably wouldn't have happened if the band version had been included. Contrary to popular belief, however, it was not the last Bob song to be recorded.
  • Heavy Meta: "Could You Be Loved?"
    Say something, rockers rockers
    Say something, reggae reggae
  • Innocent Bystander: "Redemption Song"
    How long shall they kill our prophets?
    While we stand aside and look
    Some say it's just a part of it
    We've got to fulfill the book
  • I Just Want to Be Free: "Redemption Song"
    Emancipate yourself from mental slavery
    None but ourselves can set you free
  • It's All About Me: "Pimper's Paradise"
    Every need got an ego to feed
  • Made a Slave: "Redemption Song"
    Old pirates, yes, they rob I
    Sold I to the merchant ships
    Minutes after they took I
    From the bottomless pit
  • New Sound Album: Two tracks sound very different compared to most reggae tracks. "Could You Be Loved?" has a catchy dance floor edge to it, not unlike Disco. "Redemption Song" is an acoustic song played by Marley alone on guitar and completely devoid of the typical elements associated with reggae.
  • Non-Appearing Title: The title "Uprising" doesn't appear in any of the songs.
  • Questioning Title?: "Could You Be Loved?"
  • One-Woman Song: "Pimper's Paradise"
    A pimper's paradise, that's all she was now
  • One-Word Title: "Uprising" and the song "Work".
  • Pep-Talk Song:
    • "Coming In From The Cold"
    Why do you look so sad and forsaken?
    Don't you know that, when one door is closed, many other is open?
    • "Could You Be Loved?"
    Don't let them change ya
    Or even rearrange ya, oh no
    We've got a life to live
    They say: only - only
    Only the fittest of the fittest shall survive, stay alive
    • "Forever Loving Jah"
    So, no matter what stages - oh stages
    Stages - stages they put us through,
    We'll never be blue
    No matter what rages, oh rages,
    Changes - rages they put us through,
    We'll never be blue
    • "Work"
    We... can make it WORK
    Come together and make it WORK
  • The Power of Love: "Could You Be Loved?"
  • Propaganda Machine: "Bad Card"
    Propaganda spreading over my name
    Say you wanna bring another life to shame
  • Record Producer: Chris Blackwell.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Redemption Song" has some sentences lifted from a speech by Marcus Garvey, a Pan-Africanist activist held in high esteem by Rastafarians.
    Marcus Garvey in 1937: We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind ...
  • Siamese Twin Songs: "We And Dem" has the protagonist say: "We don't know how we and them a-go work this out", while the songs that immediately follows afterwards is "Work", with the message "We can make it work!"
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: "We And Dem"
    But we now have no friends
    In-a high society
  • Smoking Is Not Cool: "Pimper's Paradise"
    She loves to smoke, sometimes shifting coke
    She be laughing when there ain't no joke
    A pimper's paradise... that's all she was now
  • The Something Song: "Redemption Song".
  • Time Marches On: "Bad Card" references disco, which was a bit more prominent back in 1980 than nowadays.
    I want to turn up my disco
    Blow them to full watts tonight, eh!
  • Title-Only Chorus: "Redemption Song".
  • Train Song: "Zion Train"
    Zion train is coming our way
    Oh people get on board, you better get on board
    Thank the Lord, praise Fari
    I gotta catch a train, 'cause there is no other station
    Then you going in the same direction
  • War Is Hell: "Real Situation"
    Check out the real situation
    Nation war against nation
    Where did it all begin?
    When will it end?
    Well, it seems like: total destruction the only solution
    And there ain't no use: no one can stop them now
  • You Cannot Kill An Idea: "Zion Train"
    2000 years of history could not be wiped away so easily