Thursday, April 19, 2007

A.K.A.Pella 2

A.K.A.Pella returns to the music scene with this new blend of (recent) old songs. In his first album, they managed to come up with an interesting selection of songs and I loved “ScrabDror Fair”, because of the good choice of words for this non-Jewish song. The first album wasn’t excellent but it was interesting to hear the computerized beats and the good vocals. The public’s expectation for their second album was a more original work, less focused in the computers and more centered in the quality of the songs and harmonies.

When I looked at the list of songs in the album cover, I was surprised to see Lecha from Chevra, a few Shalsheles songs and Im Lovon from Lev Tahor – which are quite recent songs also sung by young groups. Lecha was never a great hit specifically because the song was too focused in the electronic beats and excessive harmonies. AKAPella did the exact same thing, in an Acapella setting. That alone crushed my expectations here, since the first song should be new and refreshing.

Regarding the Shalsheles songs I think no one is better at singing them than Shalsheles themselves. They created a new style of music that was very successful because of the light harmonies and the simple musical arrangements. A.K.A.Pella did the opposite – “heavy” harmonies and obstructive arrangements. Additionally, Kol Halayla released an album featuring a marvelous Acapella version of Ekrah (hear sample here), far superior than this one, last year. A.K.A.Pella apparently copied the idea.

The lack of originality is highlighted in the Album cover, copied from American Idol (I refer you to the copyright infringement discussion Aryeh had in his blog).

Computerized beats, old songs, promotional videos, catchy album jackets cannot be the “supporting beams” of a musical project. Good Music = originality and A.K.A.Pella should focus more on that next time. I think they are talented – a special mention to that guy who sang Yesimcha in the first album (I think it’s Avi Stewart), who is a great vocalist – but they have to figure out what are their core competencies i.e. what makes them special and different from everyone else in regards to music. After all, isn’t this what they keep on saying to the candidates on American Idol?

7 comments:

Simmy said...

YK-

Are the rumors that Aryeh "Keyboard Guy" Steiner was originally a member of AKApella but was forced out due to lack of talent true? If so, I sure feel bad for these guys for letting him go! He's on a personal crusade to do everything possible to make them look bad! It's getting to the point that he really can't hide his agenda anymore.

Your thoughts?

YK said...

simmy,

I usually like what aryeh has to say and I can't criticize him for having an opinion about AKAPella. His entitled to dislike and criticize whatever he wants.

From what I know, Aryeh and the AKApella guys were originally together in a band in baltimore back in the day and I heard that it didn't last for long. What is for sure is that they have some history, Aryeh and AKApella.

But I tought Aryeh's blog became somewhat weird, and that's one of the reasons why I started my own blog half a year ago. If you realize, there are less people here but it's a good and inteligent crowd. Check the Yossi Green discussion.

Anyways, I don't care much for the politics surrounding AKApella. I only care for the music.

Anonymous said...

If someone was forced out of AKA Pella for not fitting in, it would have to be for having TOO MUCH talent. These guys don't sing a single note of anything besides solos on their albums, and they can't even perform live. Silly.

YK said...

The fact that they don't perform live doesn't bothers me too much. I don't really enjoy JM live performances, cause often times they use playback anyways..and it's boring.

If AKAPella can't perform live, they wouldn't even pass American Idol's preliminary audition. How ironic.

Speaking of irony, check my latest post.

Regards
YK

Momy Shmuely said...

I have read your review.
I know i'm a little late heere,
but I actually just picked up a copy........
I'd have to say that i have a new favorite acappela group.
These guys are fantastic.
I was blown away.
Lecha in my mind was actually a good choice.It was a huge hit.
maybe we don't live on the same planet.
I heard Kol Halaya.
Again it's all about personal taste.
Me, I don't like to hear girls singing.
I was bored after 2 minutes. which is what i find to be the case with acappella in general.What i like about A.K.A is that I never feel bored.I appreciate the originality of the arrangemnts.
That Beyonce bit on track 8 was really cool!
All the fusions were cool.I think this album rocked and blows all other acpla groups out of the water.I'll be definately waiting for A.K.A Pella 3 this pesach

When Zaidy Was Young said...

I've tried to listen to acappella.
It's bad.real bad.
However Lev Tahor has a nice sound and they sound tight.
Even tighter though and I have to agree with you Momy here is A.K.A Pella.
They just are lightyears ahead of everyone lese.
I respect creativity and these guys have a ton.

My whole dorm has it blasting.
Problem is I'm in Britain. so I'll just have to order online.Are they with Sameach or Aderet?

YK said...

I find Lev tahor to be much better.

Don't know if Sameach or Aderet. Sorry. Check online

YK