Sunday, September 23, 2007

Pruzbul Review

Here it is Pruzbul’s review, sorry for taking such a long time to write it. To avoid bias, I haven’t read anyone else’s review.

The production is by Yitzi Bald, who also played a large role in Dovid Gabay's album not long ago. Like in Gabay’s album, where he composed a song called LeGabay, Bald repeats the shtick with Pruzbul, in a reference to Pruzanski. Ok…
I don’t like Bald’s choice of lyrics. In Taseh, Shteig and Pruzbul the lyrics are very simple and somewhat vague. The same happened in Gabay’s LeGabay (“When he does work of the day he is quick”)– vague lyrics. While I welcome his quest for new lyrics, I think either the composers should find lyrics that actually say something (like Yossi Green does) or they should compose the lyrics themselves. “Do Mitzva, get Olam Haba” is not good enough. Anyways..:

In Taseh, the choir is Mo Kiss times 20 (Yossi Green style) but I prefer the "fuller" sound of real choirs. Mo Kiss does a good job responding to Pruzanski but I thought he overdid it a bit. When the song started to get cool with Mo Kiss' choir shtick in 3:25, a guy speaking Yiddish comes in. I don't like it. But it seems to be a trend - Shloime Gertner did the same in the first song of his album Nisim. I felt the arrangement is not smooth throughout the song; the intro sounds like my own arrangements I make in GarageBand, which is not much of a compliment. However, Pruz does a outstanding job, especially when he sings the low part in a higher octave - breathtaking! ***

What didn't work for Bald (the arranger) in Taseh, worked in the next song Shteig. The arrangement builds up and the song keeps getting momentum. The best part is on 2:40, in Mo Kiss' choir. Good song, great arrangement and superb singing by Pruz. Not bad! ****

In You're Watching Me, we can finally hear Pruz alone, alongside with the piano. The arrangement is simple, but very fitting for this song. Pruzanski carries the song very well, and throws in a beautiful falsetto in 2:06 and great harmonies towards the end of the song, starting in 6:23. The song is good, but not a blockbuster. ****

The album theme song is Pruzbul. I must admit I was expecting lyrics a la Yossi Green, that is, something like the whole Pruzbul nusach or a special pshat about the importance of Pruzbul from an obscure Hakdama. That's not the case here - the lyrics are "Help to fix the world. Hillel did it with Pruzbul". Aside from this lyrics issue, the music is energetic and catchy. Pruzanski does a great job improvising at 3:15. ****

It's easy to realize that Chavivin is not composed by Bald. It's a typical Yitzy Waldner song, with a pop feel. Throughout the song Mo Kiss did a great job with the soft background harmonies. At the end of the song, you can hear the cutest baby laugh ever. Very nice song. ****

Brocha is not in the same level as the previous songs, but it's decent. ***

Ashira is not from one Yossi Green's best compositions, but thumbs up for Pruzanski for making this average song sound good. Perhaps is time for Yossi Green to produce Pruzanski's next album - in his first album Pruz did a fantastic job singing Green's "Da" and he did it again here. Come on Yossi! ****

Hu is a creative song composed by Bald. I don't have much else to write about it. ***

Since Shwekey just came out with his Yizkereim (which, by the way, was taken from Coby), I didn't get too excited about this one. But when Pruz sings the English lyrics the song gets more interesting. ***

V'lo is a three-part that doesn't really flies. The song is weird, the arrangement is confusing and the ending is very poor. Even Pruzanski couldn't make this sound at least decent. *

→ Overall, this album’s production wasn’t as good as the first one – Ashrecho, a state-of-the-art album produced by Yochi Briskman and directed by Eli Laufer. Pruzbul is more economical, but it’s not a flick. Pruzanski is one of the best soloists out there and has the skill to make almost any song sound great, with great intensity, harmonies and improvisation skills. MoKiss is a great choir arranger - this is the first time I heard his work. I think everyone in this album tried very hard to produce good music with the resources they had at hand. Bald's songs are simple for the most part, but catchy and well sung. Worth my money.

13 comments:

YK said...

Anonymous wrote a comment but I accidently deleted it when I was editing the post:

Here's what he said:

"Just to get your facts straight, Yitzi bald did not arrange Gabay's album. He arranged and composed a few songs in that album"

Thanks for the comment. I already edited the post. Instead of "who also produced...", I wrote "who also played a large role".

Sorry for the imprecision.

YK

Joel said...

YK it's nice to see that you actually put up a post and solid review of Pruz's album.
When I first heard of this album I thought to myself wow it was cool and original with Gabay, but its kind of old with Pruz. If Yitzy Bald does this again he will become " The last name guy" I wonder if he could make a song with Grossman in it.
It seems to me that from what I heard on JM in the AM the songs sound like Gabay's also. Based on what Ive heard I dont think it is worth a purchase.
I also think an album needs a minimum of 12 songs to be worth 17 bucks. 10 songs just isnt worth it.
After MBD, AF, MBC, Dachs and Gertner came out with 13 song albums i think the standard has changed.

YK said...

hey joel, nice to see you back

"make a song with grossman" lol

if you will not be buying, you definetly still find a way to listen to pruzanski. this guy is really outstanding. 17 bucks is indeed to much, but I had to buy.

which brings us to another question: why can't we buy JM from itunes??????? it would be so cool. "only dreamers can belive that dreams come true" (from journeys)

rgrds

YK

Anonymous said...

Great review, altough a bit negative.
and i think the english song IS a blocbuster

YK said...

Dear Anonymous,

I respect your opinion and the English song is for sure good.

Hope you like Dachs' review as well.

Rgrds

YK

Ben said...

Att: Joel
Re: Tracks
Shwekeys first was 9 Tracks

sammy said...

Thanks for your review-- some comments though-- i,too, found it kind of negative, yet overall u seemed to like so many things about it. k, first of all "Hu" is some ppl's fav song on the album, inc. my own. It's original, happy, catchy. Deserved more than one ambiguous line in the review.

I have to disagree on the arrangement for Ta'aseh. If u've been making music like that in Garageband, maybe it's time to quit your day job. Maybe you were turned off by the synth sound that starts it off, playing an ostinato--type repeated figure, but great drum-rhythm, basslines, gtrs., keys, and horn arr. I dunno, sounds top-notch to me.

As far as comparing the production to Ashrechah, it may be true that on this album they didnt use strings, but the mix/sound quality is way better, better musicians, better arrangements, better choir, and better songs. And i liked ashrechah, but honestly i don't feel like it was even close. And he sounds so much better, now, too.

This album is one of the best in a long time. What more can u ask for? I think it deserves a much more positive review, but that's just my opinion. (Especially considering i kind of get the sense that u really liked this album, too.)

YK said...

sammy

as a general rule for the reviews, I only write comments in songs that I have something interesting to say. But often I find nothing worthwhile saying, so I just prefer to mantain the review as short as possible, so you all can read it more easily. I like Hu, but I think it lacks some "salt" i.e. something special. My fav song is for sure Taaseh, not so much because of the song - because of Pruz's outstanding vocals.

I am one of Pruzanski's biggest fans, I simply love his voice and his shticks. And you are right, he's has better vocals now, if you compare it to Ashrecha. But an album is not just about the singer, it's about the big picture. And in the big picture - production, arrangements, choir - the album is not as unique as Pruzanski himself.

What more can I ask? There is a gap between absolutly loving an album and absolutly hating it. Just because I had a good time listening to Pruzbul it doesn't means it is a masterpiece. It's not, in my view.

A masterpiece is an album with many five-star songs. I own a few of these albums, and I'm sure Pruzbul is not one of these. But, yeah, it's a fun album.

I just think Pruzanski needs a chance to sing in a top-notch production, with the best composers out there and the best arrangements. It will cost much more than Pruzbul, but I'm telling you he will hit a home-run. I kind of feel Yossi Green will go for it and do an album with him. You can't compare Bald and Green.

rgrds

YK

Sammy said...

Yk, thanks for your reply. I definitely agree as far as pruz's vocals, he's a great singer. I think it's important to realize that yitzi bald first of all has been one of jewish music best assets over the last ten-fifteen years. I think he writes awesome rhythm sections, and he is great with horn/sx arrangements as well. He is a great songwriter as well.


I think u might be surprised to hear what a final product would sound like with another style/producer/arranger. I'm sure the vocals would be good, but u have to understand how important it is to have a producer who has such a natural good sense for how everything should be. I'm definitely not saying like this is the best of album of all time, but it is great. He brought out the best in pruz, to me, and if i were him i would definitely stick with bald in the future. What i meant by what more can u ask for, is that this album had excellent musicians( from the best drummer/ bassist combinations ive heard in a while), a great mix (which is one of the most important factors in a final product), great vocals, great choir by m. kiss, very very good songs. So maybe next time they could get a few more yossi green songs. But to me hardly any cd's lately have been up to this level. i think i'd have to go back to Fried my fellow Jew, or kol achai's last cd.

And btw, the song quality on ohad's last cd some of which i liked, is not close to pruzbul. Maybe u disagree. If u mean like a dedi 2 type album, yeah, that would be pretty good. but there are no guarantees. So just for curiosity's sake (and i agree this is not a "masterpiece", but man it's pretty rare that i'd give that kind of praise to an album), which albums in your opinion are filled with five-star songs? (i guess my list would include Fried bracha vehatzlocho, B'shetzef, Mendy wald l'chaim, mbd first cd of the double album, Shwekey 1, dedi 2. Chazak, my fellow jew. maybe a few more.)

Wow, long post. One more thing, everyone i know who has bought pruz loves it. So i'm not alone in thinking highly of it.

YK said...

hey sammy!

"So i'm not alone in thinking highly of it" - I'm with you then. I think highly of it!

But the core of our disagreement can be found in one of your lines: "He brought out the best in pruz, to me"

Well, I think the opposite is true - Pruz brought out the best from this album. He's the special thing here, not the album per say. Any other guy singing it wouldn't do it well, i think.

Five star albums? You wrote a great list. I definetly include Beshetzef, Dedi 1 and 2, Shwekey 1 and Yedid, AKAPella (just kidding :), Shalesheles 1, Lev Tahor Watch Over Me, Shlomo Simcha's Aneini and a few others. That is the top of the hill.

I know Bald is good, but I think Y. Green is better. He's a legend, Bald is not. But that's just my opinion.

YK

sammy said...

good list. i almost put in lev tahor also. rigler is my fav arranger. the man won best musical director in la theater before he became a ba'al teshuva(which means like the equivalent of broadway, it's not one theater) acc. to inside jacket of kol achai b'ni. (did u like a man from vilna? That piano intro is one of the most emotional pieces of music i've ever heard.)

some not as mainstream albums that r close r the aforementioned b'ni, and their newer album too, b'karov. (i guess u have to like kol achai, but that is a beautiful album.) And actually one of my fav of all time is mima'amkim from r' shmuel brazil sung by a young avrumi flam (at least 6 years bef b'shetzef). Not very well known (and unfortunately it's on cassette so i can't play it in my car). I never really know how good a cd is until i find myself still listening to it years later and not really getting sick of it.

Interesting point abt pruz. I definitely wouldn't want someone else singing this album, they wouldn't have done as good a job. But i was thinking, i wouldn't want anyone but mendy wald singing l'chaim, or even anyone but shalsheles singing shalsheles 1. I mean could someone else do it? yeah probably, but i think it's cuz these kind of albums i feel like the personality of the performers came out, in a good way, so now that's part of it, so hearing it differently would immediately be lacking that style/personality. So i guess i mean that the songs on pruzbul r definitely fun, funky, pretty upbeat/happy, and pruz's personality shines thru on those songs. Like ta'aseh, or the rap part on pruzbul sng. The slow songs were good ( i love chavivin), but actually on ashrecha the 2nd sng from waldner and yerushalayim from g-wag were great sngs. wish he would do them over now, i think it would come out even better. I'm sure pruz could do a great dif. style album, smthng w even better slow songs, and some mega-hit fast stuff, i hear where ure coming from. But honestly i would be kind of dissappointed if i didn't hear some "mitaken olam"-type rapping going on.

Y green is a legend, he has this amazing ability to write songs that nearly defy normal musical thinking, and u're like what? hey i liked that. like i dunno, first time u heard dido bei, vieirastich from ohad, stop, mi ma, im ain ani li on gertner, first song on craimer, ki hatov on shwekey, to name just a few. he's so original, it's not even possible to teach that, and that originality is what separates him from anyone else. Seriously, it wouldn't hurt to find out what it is that he eats for breakfast.

sammy said...

i also was gonna say that none of the y. bald songs here are from his best ever, i must admit. Chazak on l'chaim, hayam on l'chaim, maybe hu k'lal cuz it was so new and fresh and many many ppl tried to model their music in that fashion, definitely sameach, shomer yisrael on tzlil vzemer( maybe their nicest song ever) and Hashem bring us back, also on that album. Among others. Actually i know u didnt love this song but Hu IMO would be the closest one to make it to that list, maybe shteigin.

But, u know, it's impossible to make every song amazing, cuz when u have a musical idea, u need to follow it thru. Like pruzbul, could he have changed the high part and made it the best song of all time? I think the whole song is a musical idea, and it is a very good one. Even w yossi green, he definitely does that. each song takes him to wherever it (the song) wants to go. like 2nd sng on ohad 2, i like that sng, it's original, makes me laugh. i wouldn't change a thing to the melody. but it's not the best song of all time. I guess it's like with people, everyone is unique and has to try to be the best they can, within themselves, and not change to be someone else.

Yitzi bald is really good, and i highly doubt anything he makes would be bad. it can't really happen cuz he knows what sounds good. But on his very best compositions, especially when combined with his exciting arrangements, he brings something to the table that is unique and great. i'm generally a pretty tough critic, but the truth is not everything has to be superlative. It just has to reach a certain level of quality, and have originality to it, and then it can serve its purpose, maybe it makes u laugh, or cry, or dance, or smile. But that is not so easy to find, especially lately. So i'll take what i can get.

YK said...

sammy

I know Mimamakim, although I heard it ages ago. I don't recall it being super special, but I barely remember anything from that album.

I do like Kol Achai, thou I have their first 2 CD's only. They are very talented. But for some reason I don't see them in the spotlight to much, and their other albums past by me unnoticed. Ppl say they are a "cult" group, with a very strong set of fans. Well deserved.

Rigler also happens to be my fav arranger! But in order to succeed with him, the singers need to have some input in the arrangement idea, so he can explore it. That's what LT does, more specifically Eli Shwebel. Rigler arranged for Nissan, a B-list singer, and it didn't come out good, most probably because the whole project had no direction. So with Rigler, you need direction.

Check my post on YG a few months ago, for more info about him.

Rgrds

YK