Thursday, January 4, 2007

YYY - Yaakov Young's Yogati

Yaakov Young’s album Yogati is his first solo album and it is an interesting project. After the great success of Shalsheles I and II, Yizthok Rosenthal realized that the buzz around his group was fading and he decided to branch out. He co-produced Rozo De’Shabbos, a great album featuring Shalsheles and various other big names like Aish, Lev Tahor & Shlomie Dachs. Last year, Rosenthal made a children’s version of his group, coined Shalsheles Junior. In Yogati, for the first time, Rosenthal hands over a large number of his compositions to a solo singer and that’s what makes Yogati different.

Young is a skilled singer and has a well-coached voice. The best song of the album is surely Gal Gal, a great fast and leibedig disco. At the very end of the first and second part of the song Rosenthal incorporated two traditional klezmer shticks, and Young does a great job singing it. The arrangement is simple and it’s easy to hear Yisroel Lamm’s signature string lines, which actually adds very little to the this song. The only thing that catched my attention was the introduction of the song, when Young sings the song slowly. It sounds a lot like Titanic’s theme song intro.. but I nevertheless liked it.

Shir Hamalos is the typical Shalsheles-like slow song and it has the same feel of Ekrah (Shalsheles I) and Shma (Volume III). The arrangement is basically accompanied by the piano and string lines. There’s little innovation in this song, but it’s just as good as Shalsheles’ most famous slow songs. Young doesn’t add too much to this song in particular and I felt like he didn’t really bring this song to a new level. It would be just as good in Shalshels upcoming album.

The album’s theme song is Yogati, composed by Yossi Green. Frankly, it’s a weird song. After listening it many times, it still sounds strange and it’s not one of YG’s finest compositions, albeit not being a bad song. I’m convinced that Gal Gal is far superior and original, and I think Gal Gal should have been the album theme song. Yogati is a hard song to sing and I think Young had a tough time interpreting it. He sings it in a key that seem to be too high for him and towards the end of the song he becomes annoying.

The other songs are just average songs in my opinion. Torah stands out as a good freilach song and Nachem is decent. I particularly liked Young’s harmony in the word Nachem, I tought it sounded very unique but I think that is it for the album. Yogati is not a excellent album but it’s a good one.

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