Tanya Stephens
VP Records-Walboomers Music
September 23, 2006

Tanya Stephens - Rebelution Track list
  1. Welcome To The Rebelution
  2. Who Is Tanya
  3. Put It On You
  4. The Message
  5. Still A Go Loose
  6. To The Rescue
  7. Damn You
  8. The Truth
  9. Spilt Milk
  10. Saturday Morning
  11. Cherry Brandy
  12. Sunday Morning
  13. You Keep Looking Up
  14. Come A Long Way
  15. Do You Still Care
  16. Warn Dem
  17. To The Limit
  18. These Streets
  19. Home Alone
  20. Don't Play
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
Tanya Stephens debuted in 1994 with the Barry O'Hare produced "Big Things A Gwan" album, but made her name on the dancehall circuit of the late 1990s with her breakthrough hit "Yu Nuh Ready Fi Dis Yet" and the albums "Too Hype" and "Ruff Rider". After a hiatus of approximately five years (in which she recorded the overlooked "Sintoxicated" album in Sweden), Tanya Stephens took it to another level with the 2004 album "Gangsta Blues", which thoroughly grew her audience beyond the boundaries of reggae. Songs like "What A Day", "The Other Cheek" and the international hit "It's A Pity" helped position her as an import musical voice.

More than two years after the release of "Gangsta Blues", VP Records unleashes the eagerly awaited new album of Tanya Stephens entitled "Rebelution". Musically the latter closely sticks to the success format of its predecessor as it's again very acoustic, and also her lyrics are as hard-hitting and poignant as they were on "Gangsta Blues". However, the only main difference is that "Rebelution" has a more cultural vibe, most notably on tracks such as "To The Rescue" (across the "Halfway Tree" riddim, a remake of Bunny Wailer's classic "Ballroom Floor" riddim), "The Truth", "Come A Long Way" and "To The Limit", which draws on a classic Burning Spear riddim. Besides that the often minimalist production of her manager/producer/life partner Andrew Henton makes that Tanya Stephens' unique talent and abilities come to full expression.

Tanya Stephens surely doesn't lack lyrics and certainly has a lot to tell, which makes her a pure storyteller. All of her songs are about 'something' -- racism, homophobia, addiction, relationships, sexism, politics, to name a few topics -- and there's a message to be found in each one of her verses. Take for example one of the best tunes on this album, the truly brilliant single "These Streets", which utilizes a slightly revamped version of Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry" riddim. In this song she admonishes her lover not to treat her with any less respect than he does his car and other possessions. She compares his regular activities to what he should be doing with her: "Why you can't stay up on me like the corner? And keep your lips on me like your marijuana?". And then there's that sweetly-sung chorus, which adds an immensely sad feel to it: "These streets don't love you like I do". We can listen to that track over and over again!!

However, "These Streets" is not the only song that -- musically and lyrically -- makes a strong impression. Other tunes to watch out for are "To The Rescue" (in which she justifies a swoop for someone else's guy by explaining patiently all the other woman's faults), "Damn You" (a moving song about being the victim of a heartbreak), "Come A Long Way" (a tribute to Rosa Parks and other great leaders of the civil rights movement), "Warn Dem" (in which she rails adamantly against violence and war), and "Put It On You", a fine dancehall song about being horny where she says that she wants her chosen guy to slam her hard "like the rowdy-rowdy piper".

Either way don't overlook "Do You Still Care", a wicked tune about acceptance and discrimination, in which she starts to tell about a white racist dying of liver failure being saved by the liver of a black man and ends with a homophobic ghetto youth being saved by a gay passerby after being shot.

Along with the CD comes a Bonus DVD which includes video clips from the big international hit "It's A Pity" and the first JA single "Warm Dem". It also includes an "Unplugged" performance Tanya Stephens held at the Knitting Factory in NYC for a select group of music critics and media, in which she brings acoustic versions of "I Am Woman", "Can't Breathe" and "It's A Pity" (from the "Gangsta Blues album") and several of the tracks from "Rebelution" including "To The Rescue", "Damn You", "Cherry Brandy", "Spilt Milk", "Do You Still Care", and "These Streets". Furthermore the DVD includes interviews in the studio with Tanya Stephens and Barry O'Hare, the producer who discovered her, and also her own producer, Andrew Henton.

Overall opinion is that "Rebelution" is far and above Tanya Stephens' most impressive effort to date. This collection of tunes keeps the listener involved from beginning to end and thus it's truly a must have album!!