Quality first for Al Third
BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Observer senior writer
Friday, July 30, 2021
Singer Al Third has never hidden his appreciation for pop songs and easy-listening melodies. That's been a hallmark of his songs since he went solo eight years ago.
However, for his latest recordings he mixes things up a bit. Only When Close is a ballad that seems suited for American Top 40 radio while Mood Right Now is a hail to dancehall fans.
Al Third wrote and produced both songs which were released early this month.
“They are actually back-to-back releases... one in my comfort zone and the other with a bit of uptempo vibe. Something for everyone basically,” he said.
A former member of harmony trio One Third, much of his solo work has veered between lovers rock such as a cover of Sam Smith's I'm Not The Only One, and pop-flavoured tracks like Lone Face.
Mood Right Now, Al Third explained, shows he is comfortable working in any genre.
“It represents a fusion of dancehall and pop. The beat will grab you and make you wanna get moving. I definitely had to keep my island vibe and as always something for the ladies so it's for people to have fun. So, yes it can play in the dancehall space as well,” he said.
Lone Face is one of four songs from Endless Possibilities, his 2017 EP on which Al Third (real name Alpheus Johnson) stepped away from reggae to express his pop influences which range from Michael Jackson to Maroon 5 and Bruno Mars.
Pointing to Beres Hammond, whose solo career launched in the late 1970s with rhythm and blues-type ballads, he said the Jamaican music fan has always been indiscriminate.
“Jamaica's musical landscape is quite diverse and there's a place for all types of music. Oftentimes we underestimate what Jamaicans tend to be drawn to,” Al Third reasoned. “There's a place for the softer side not just for the ladies but for the man to sing and dance with his woman when in that mood. We need balance, so we have raving songs and we have songs for the lovers.”