The Wailers made some great albums and this is one of the very best. The grooves are tight with melodic hooks and excellent harmonies. I have all their albums and consider this to be lyrically one of Bob's best. There are some real classics on this album and it is a massive disappointment to me that Legend contains no songs from it whatsoever, big mistake by Island Records in my opinion. There are no love songs here, just pure roots, albeit in more mainstream friendly arrangements than any other roots reggae artists. This fact often gets The Wailers a lot of criticism for being too pop or soft somehow. Bob spent quite a bit of time working in America before hitting the big time and along with the extended world tours that they went on and the fact that they were signed to a major record label, meant that their musical horizons were expanded and they no longer only looked inwards at the Jamaican scene to develop their sound. This immersion in world music had a knock on effect on their music and that is the reason why they had more mainstream appeal and hence are the only reggae act to get any real commercial success. They did not sell out, but they did want their music to be heard around the world. It is just unfortunate that all the other great reggae artists like Burning Spear, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Prince Alla, Wailing Souls, The Royals, Little Roy, Jimmy Cliff, The Congos, Israel Vibration, Mighty Diamonds, Bob Andy, The Abyssinians etc didn't get the recognition and record sales they deserved. But don't blame The Wailers for that, just enjoy this music for what it is. A great band spreading the message of the greatest lyricist in modern music.
"To divide and rule, could only tear us apart in everyman chest there beats a heart so soon we'll find out who is the real revolutionaries and i don't want my people to be tricked by mercenaries."
"We refuse to be what you wanted us to be we are what we are that's the way it's going to be."
"They say what we know is just what they teach us we're so ignorant every time they can reach us through political strategy they keep us hungry when you gonna get some food your brother got to be your enemy."
They're just a few samples of the amazing lyrics off this album. Like all of Bob's best lyrics, they sum up complex problems or situations so anyone can understand them. It's hard to pick favourites but if forced I would choose So Much Trouble In The World, Zimbabwe, Babylon System, One Drop and Ride Natty Ride but they're all tremendous songs and that is what makes Survival so good. If you have any interest at all in The Wailers or reggae then buy this now. If you're feeling adventurous or want more reggae to listen to then get some albums by the artists I mentioned above. They won't let you down.