With this album, UB40 makes a statement about staying power. They don’t have any. If they had any power or emotion at all, it probably wouldn’t be so difficult to listen to their latest record, Labour Of Love III.
For example: when you are looking at the titles of the tracks you are about to listen to, and the first lyrics of said track are the exact same as said title, the album becomes hard to get into. More often than not, it drives me nuts, and it typifies just the kind of simplicity and lack of invention that has gone into this album. Even the title suggests the inability to do anything new (see also, Meatloaf).
The only interesting tune on the album is the very last track, “Legalize It,” which is a call for political change, albeit a very uninventive political change. The band advocates the legalization of marijuana. As if no one’s done that before. I have personally witnessed a senior citizen smoking marijuana at the front gate of a major university, of which he was a former professor, in a call for political change. Sadly enough for UB40, he had more excitement about him than they do on this, or any other track on the disc.
Musically, this album jumps all over the conventions of slow, pop-reggae set forth by Bob Marley rip-off artists during the ‘80s and on the Cocktail Soundtrack. Looming large over every track is a thunderous bass thump, or rumbling bass drone, depending on the song itself. The keyboard parts are uninspired, and the drumming and programming could have been looped over all 15 tracks for all anyone could tell, or for all anyone should care. As a final joke of sorts, a “hidden” song at the end of the final track was a very sneaky way for UB40 to waste 3 minutes of my life with absolutely no music, and then add another minute consisting of a typical lullaby tune over loud and droning snoring. If I didn’t have to review this, I would have been snoring too.
Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/ub40-labour/