UB40 – UB45

UB40 - UB45



4.6/5 Pros

  • Seven new songs
  • Very fluent and consistent listen
  • Still sounds like UB40 in the 1980's

45 years of UB40 – that’s what the British band is currently celebrating. Their new album UB45 is just in line with that, featuring seven new tracks and seven re-recordings of their classic. I never had them in a review so far, so it is time to have a listen – and honor these music legends – by looking into their 19th April 2024 release.


UB40 – About The Artists

UB40 are likely the key act of the British and global reggae and reggae pop scene. They have been formed in December 1978 in Birmingham. Starting with their album Signing Off in 2018, the band has released nineteen studio albums until their 2019 For the Mary. The twentieth studio album has been Bigga Baggardim in 2021. However, this one is rather a re-release of a 1985 album. UB40 was especially successful in the 1980’s, when they had Number 1 hits like Red Red Wine (1983) or I Got You Babe (with Chrissie Hynde, 1985). The band’s lineup is rather stable, with four band members being founding ones. Namely, these are Jimmy Brown (drums), Robin Campbell (guitar), Earl Falconer (bass guitar) and Norman Hassan (percussion and trombone). Since 2021, the lead vocals are taken by Matt Doyle. UB40 are still very successful. All of their last three albums made it to the Top 10 in the British charts.


UB40 – UB45 – Track by Track

The fourteen track album lasts 56 minutes.

1. Home

Home is opening the album, kicking off with some trombone sounds and the typical reggae groove, which makes you sway to the sound of the album from the very beginning. Remember, this is the only home I’ve ever known – the song is a lovely praise to being home. However, the song is also looking back to the band’s history and the people reactions with a critical view. For example, one verse starts with I thought this would be easy, I though you would understand. The track is a lovely kick off to the anniversary album..

2. Food For Thought

The double release King and Food For Thought was the first single release by UB40 in 1980. The song boosted the band’s career, peaked fourth in the U.K. and was also their first silver record. I love the trombone parts in it. And the song still feels cool and modern, 44 years after.

3. King

The second part of this debut release follows right thereafter on UB45. This time, the song is lead by the keys and the guitar. A calmer track, which also leads to a rather laid back sounds.

4. Champion

With Champion, the album jumps to the rather recent history of the band. The song was the official anthem of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Again, the track is rather calm and feels very relaxing.

5. Tyler

The block of legacy songs continues with Tyler, another track from the bands debut album Signing Off. The album has been a platinum record in UB40’s domestic market – and it still works out. A very groovy track, which feels so characteristic for the sound of the British.

6. Trouble

This is just the second new track so far on UB45. It rather seamlessly fits into the context of the album, even though there are four decades of music in between compared to Tyler. Only the spoken word bridge gives a bit of a modern touch – but overall, UB40 seems to be timeless.

7. Red Red Wine

I guess I don’t need to tell you too much about these 5:20 minutes. The song kicked off the global career of the band. They had a couple of hits before, but this one went global in 1983. It was also a chart-topper and golden record in the United States. And I still love listening to it.

8. Fool Me Once

Its the brass section which again opens the next song. Fool Me Once is coming with a lovely combination of a good flow and a the typical UB40 groove. The new track is thereby something like a reggae ballad – or just a lovely pick for your next summer night party.

9. Cherry Oh Baby

Cherry Oh Baby opened the 1983 album Labour of Love. In the context of all the nicely flowing songs before, it almost has an experimental touch. I could imagine that it is a lovely one on a live show of the band, though. It has some decent sing-a-long parts.

10. Say Nothing

The so far unreleased Say Nothing is one of the shortest tracks of the album – it is less than three minutes. However, it is a special one with a rather classic and straight reggae sound. Jamaica is so close to Great Britain – you just need this band to change geography. Again, there is a rap-alike section in the song.

11. Sing Our Own Song

Just some three years after Labour of Love, UB40 released Rat In The Kitchen. Thealbum peaked eighth in the band’s domestic charts and had a golden record, but also had quite some sale in other markets like the US. Sing Our Own Song has been the chucker-out of it. The version works with a lot of electronic and synth sounds. This does not lead to any harm, a cool, pop-ish one. And finally, the band states We will sing our own song.

12. Gimme Some Kinda Sign (feat. Gilly G)

Most listeners might remember the version by Australian Peter Andre in 1992. However, the song was originally recorded by US-American Brenton Wood in 1967. UB40 goes for a very modern touch in here, collaborating with Birmingham-origin rapper Gilly G.

13. Kingston Town

Okay, no words needed. I would name Kingston Town to be the greatest song by UB40 – not only as it was their only golden record in Germany. The 2024 version feels a bit more easy and relaxed. But finally, any version of this track is simply a treat.

14. Hope She’ll Be Happier

The album closes with a new track, Hope She’ll Be Happier. There is even some touch of melancholy in this this song – not only due to the fact that the album is over now. The song might not feel as a UB40 track at first listen, but it is a nice one, indeed.


UB40 – UB45 – Spotify

I will add the Spotify widget once the album has been released.


UB40 – UB45 – My View

UB45 is a nice illustration of the band in the past – and the band in the present. Even with all the rather classic tracks, the album feels surprisingly stringent and consistent. The sound of UB40 worked in the 1980’s – and it still does today. I absolutely like the record.

Favorite Song: Home (out of the new ones)



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