Bob Marley: "Waiting In Vain"

Syncopation and rhythm are mathematical propositions. The time signature of a song or composition is subdivided "just so" in order to create the proper sense of motion. Here's the thing though. Depending on who is doing the playing, the very same patterns of notes, and combinations of lines, can come across either as inert and dead in the water, or as buoyant and propulsive. Bob Marley's "Waiting In Vain" is a stellar example of the latter. The proper effect is achieved through what is known as "feel," which just means sensitivity to tone, attack, and meshing with the other players. Oh, and a healthy dollop of that ineffable thing called soul.

Clearly one of Bob Marley's greatest songs, it comes across at first as a straightforward but eloquent statement of romantic yearning. However, I remember reading back at the time (or at some time in the misty past) that the song was possibly also being addressed, at least in part, to the American music market. Marley felt he deserved popular success on the same level as the greatest bands. He did achieve great global popularity in the end, but maybe not "pop" success in the broadest sense. Anyway, this song is perfection, and Marley is unsurpassed, even today. Thanks and praises!


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