Monday, February 12, 2007

Shwekey's Leshem Shomayim

Birshus’ intro features Shwekey singing a piece that sounds remarkably similar to the Selichos nusach, and I believe this was intentional – Shwekey is asking for permission to sing, like a Chazan in front of the Kahal. However, this has no apparent connection to the song’s words, which are from Bircas Hamozon. The first part of the song is very catchy and sweet, while the second part is less powerful. The arrangement is simple, like most songs Mona arranges, but it sounds appropriate for this catchy slow song. ****

Leshem Shomayim is the album’s theme song, mostly because of the inspiring words – the tune is not outstanding. But I couldn’t see Shwekey choosing any other song as the album’s theme song, and I think they had to choose this because it was their only option. The song changes keys twice, in 4:04 and 4:34, probably because they had to figure out a way to keep this not-so-spectacular song going for more than 2 or 3 minutes. ***

Just like all other Shwekey’s previous albums, there’s the Chupa song composed by Yitzy Waldner (in Shomati he composed Meheiro, in Shwekey 2 it was Mi Adir and in Yedid it was Sameach), Eishes Chayil. This song sounds like Waldner’s previous compositions and it will surely be heard in most upcoming weddings. My bet is that in the next album Waldner will compose a Mi Von Siach, to complete his work. I give credit for Waldner for being able to keep composing all these heartfelt Chupa songs consistently in every Shwekey album. But there’s one thing – in the last two seconds of the song Shwekey experiments a very weird shtick, possibly in an effort to make this song unique, and in my opinion the shtick sounds horrible. ***

Emes is a long and boring freilach song. This song is like Yiree of Yedid, but the 12th song, Koli(***), is another freilach and it’s much better than this one. *

Yizkereim a sad slow song that reminds me of Rachem (in Shomati) and Av Horachamim (in 2), but there’s no comparison – Yizkereim is not half as good as these songs. Just because this type of “rachamim” song worked before, it doesn’t mean that it will always work. Not pleasant to listen, nor original. ***

Halo Yadata is by far the most original song and best song in the album, this time composed by Baruch Levine (and not Yossi Green [where’s is he? I guess he was too busy co-producing Ohad’s album], who composed Ki Hatov and Ata Shomer). These oriental songs are very “in” today, but this one is far superior than all other stuff that it’s out there. Shwekey’s Sefardi shtick in the word Hashem is superb, and the choir by Eli Laufer is also very original and appropriate for the song. *****

Regarding the two versions of Tatte, I dislike both of them. It’s an old song, Lev Tahor already reintroduced it not long ago and to hear it twice in this album is just asking for too much (I pointed out a similar problem in my review of Matisyahu's album. Who would guess they would have something in commom..:) *

Hein Am, composed by Shwekey brother and Waldner (my bet is that MD Shwekey composed the high part and had Waldner’s assistance with the low part), is very energetic and it has original words. Finally we have a short (3:46 mins) and strong fast song. ****

Ki Lashem - ***

Ma Ma Ma - ***



⇒ That’s all I have to say about this album. Leshem Shomayim is not awesome and it doesn't quite meet the public's expectations, but it’s a good album. Yossi Green absence in this album is greatly felt and I think that’s one of the big reasons why there are few special pieces in this album. For the next albums, Shwekey will have to innovate some more - his previous albums were in higher level and if he continues this way we will get tired of him. Average stars: 2.6 (if you disconsider the two tattes [fill-ins..], an average of 3 stars)

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great review!! I couldn't agree more, but I think Yizkereim wasn't that bad

Anonymous said...

come on, this is a total flik. shwekey is gone

Anonymous said...

I totally disagree with this review!!Personally, it's the best one Shwekey's brought out!!!ITS AWESOME!!!!!!!(But then, every person has their own opinions so obviously......)

YK said...

Tks fo r visiting the blog!

anonymous #1:
Yizkereim wasnt bad, but its not great. It's hard to sing, not original, so I'm betting my chips that this will not become a hit.

anonymous #2:
That's a strecth. This album is still superior to most of the stuff out there. Better him than the others

anonymous #3:
I think it's hard to say this one is better than Yedid. Again, I credit this for the absence of Yossi Green, who composed shomati, ki hatov, av horachamim, yedid. i.e. YG composed Shwekey's best songs. And he was apparently left out this time. The result is less hit songs!

I'll reveiew Ohad very soon, so keep coming!

YK

Ariyeh Walter said...

It's a pretty good review of a pretty good album. You are definetly correct in saying that the absence of Yossi Green causes L''Sheim Shomayim to suffer. I look forward to the concert Feb. 18th, if you go you should post a review!

kol tuv,
Ari W.

YK said...

Mr Walter

Tks for stopping by.
I rarely review concerts, I kind of feel they are a lower quality version of the songs the singers sing in the albums...
As u can see, I'm a fan of YG. He somehow manages to come up with the hits.

YK

Anonymous said...

I give credit for Waldner for being able to keep composing all these heartfelt Chupa songs consistently in every Shwekey album.

Credit for what? Eishes Chayil is a ripoff of a famous Broadway tune.

YK said...

Hi Anonymous, tks for stopping by.

I'm unaware of that, I never heard that tune before. Which Broadway tune are you referring to?

YK

Anonymous said...

The 'shwek-dawg' as those in the more yeshivish circles refer to him, has clearly demonstrated originality and talent in the songs he sings which have a Sephardic influence. So why aren't there more of these style songs? In fact, isn't Shwekey himself of Sephardic persuasion?
Although he is overwhelmingly popular with the Yeshiva crowd (such that all of his songs instantly becoming Shabbos zemiros at certain places), I don't know why he doesn't stay closer to his roots, especially after seeing how these are typically the best songs he puts out.

YK said...

Anonymous,

Very good point. I will write a new post just on that, on why the Sephardi performers are still afraid to sing more oriental songs.

Tks for the idea and pls come by again. And spread the word to your friends about this blog!

YK

Anonymous said...

they don't sing more sephardi songs because there's little market for it. after all, they are also in for the money

Shmuel & Daniel said...

I think Leshem Shomayim is a "non-easy" album to review when there is Ohad call & his new album,
however if this review wasnt my opinion i really enjoyed it..
thx

YK said...

shmuel & daniel

tks for visiting and I hope you like the other stuff in the blog as well.

YK

Anonymous said...

UMM... I DON'T NOW WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE. THIS Album is AMAZING!!!! Also, there's a lot of Loshon Hora, so I thin you should write reviews on a more postitive note.

Anonymous said...

WHILE YOU ARE CORRECT THAT THERE ARENT ANY SONGS WORTHY OF "SHOMATI" STATUS ON THIS ALBUM, YOU MAY HAVE BEEN A BIT TO HARSH ABOUT THE ALBUM IN GENERAL. YIZKIREIM, AND TATTEH WAS DONE EXTREMELY HARTZEDIG AND HE GAVES EVERY SONG A UNIQUE FLAVOR.

YK said...

anonymous 1:
loshon hara?

anonymous 2:
I think after we listen 30 times to an album, almost anything is acceptable, since we get used to the sound. Today, I kind of enjoy the songs you mentioned, but that's because I dont have other stuff to listen to. But I still don't think they are original or innovative, and that's what counts more for me.

YK

Evan said...

I think that what shwekey, briskman, and pinny "pinky" webber committed was a pure act of theft by stealing Yizkereim from the Coby album, where it originally appeared. In fact, the song was originally purchased from Pinky webber by Coby, and written exclusively for Coby. Yochi Briskman produced Coby's album as well. It is a crime that shwekey and gang didn't pay Coby for the song (or at the very least credit him for it.) Just because they changed an OY to a YOY, doesn’t change the fact that IT IS THE SAME EXACT SONG! Listen to the two "versions" of the song; It's foolish to pontificate otherwise. Knowing a lot about how this extortionist business works, I can assure you that Coby spent a lot of money producing the album/songs. MY "sources" have indicated that Coby wasn't even contacted, or asked "reshus." I think the Shwekey album should be boycotted. Copyright infringement is not only an "aveira" it is also illegal. By buying this album, you are contributing to a crime (throw in an extra Al Chet this yom kippur if you already own it.) Sing a couple of Jewish words, belt out a couple of oy yoy yoys, and you're revered as a saint in the Jewish world. It's amazing that we let our kids look up to the slime and filth of the Jewish music industry.

YK said...

Dear Evan,

I'm aware of the similarity of the two songs, I saw it in a video on youtube. They are in fact the same song, it's impossible to argue with that.

But I've heard from a renowned singer that once the song is out, there's no problem in taking that song are re-doing it in your own way, as long as you give credit to the original singer. For instance, AKAPella's albums are all new versions from old songs. Avrumie Flam's Dvai, in one of his older albums, is from a little known group. Lev Tahor's Horeini is from Rochel Miller.

In other words, the problem seems to be the fact that Shwekey (or Briskman) didn't give credit for Coby. The only way to know what's the story is thru Coby himself.

YK

Anonymous said...

does anyone know all the words for his song and where they are from? Thanks

Anonymous said...

sorry, i meant the words for the song "L'maaloh"

YK said...

It's from the Korbonos, after Parshas Akeidas Yitzhak

YK

BJ said...

what about meshoich? i think thats the best slow song on the album.

Anonymous said...

this is by far the best cd shwekey has put out
my favorites for slow is yizkeraim and fast is hein am
GOOD WORK SHWEKEY! KEEP IT UP!

Anonymous said...

how can u post such a negative review? s'past nisht to voice your complaints like this, ok 'different people have different tastes', but cant u put on a respectable review then if you want add like a comment voicing YOUR problems with it