Toots and the Maytals reclaim their reggae crown on “Got to Be Tough”
Jamaican reggae band Toots and the Maytals announced recently that their newest LP, Got to be Tough, will be released this summer. In advance of the album’s release, they’ve shared the album’s title track and lead single.
The song features all of the usual reggae trappings, from a rhythm focused on upbeats to solo sections for the horns. The band did, after all, name the genre in their 1968 single “Do the Reggay.” The laid-back vocals and natural pep of its syncopation can disguise the heavier lyrical themes of reggae, and “Got to Be Tough” is as topical as other recent releases, like The Menzingers’ “America Pt. 2” and Leon Bridges’ “Sweeter,” with lines like “Your days are getting shorter, ooh / Our youths are getting slaughtered, yeah.”
“Got to be Tough” is the band’s first single in over a decade, and the upcoming studio album will be the group’s first since 2010’s Flip and Twist. Toots and the Maytals have existed in some capacity since 1962, and their song “Pressure Drop” came in at #97 on Pitchfork’s list of “The 200 Best Songs of the 1960s.”
Listen to “Got to Be Tough” below.