Sunday, December 9, 2007

Spinner's You and I Review

You and I is Spinner's debut album. Firstly, the cover art is one of the nicest I've seen in the past years - it reminds me of Lev Tahor's Watch Over Me cover art, which as also nice. The production is first-class – with a list of great musicians that include Mike Boxer, Yaron Gershovski, Leib Yaakov Rigler (who arranges Lev Tahor's albums), the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra and.... Steve Bill. I never heard of Steve Bill in JM and I look forward to hear his music. Let's go to the review:

Tzur is great opening song. I really like the low part and high part is not bad. The song has good energy and Spinner does a good job singing it. In the background there's a lot going on - a full horn section and the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra - and I specially liked the horns responding to Spinner in 1:50. Although I really enjoyed Spinner improvisation in 3:40 I thought the ending of the song was too usual - it could've ended just after Spinner in 3:45. ****

Acheinu, originally featured in Six13's Encore, is smooth and well done. Mike Boxer did a terrific job in the vocal arrangements and he carries the song further and further with his well-tuned and "consistent" choir. Six13's arrangement concept was borrowed by the string section in 2:33. The ending is interesting - in 5:33 Spinner swings to a major key very skillfully and the choir closes the song softly. ****

The choir in Mi Sheshiken was not arranged by M. Boxer and this has a very negative impact in this song. Spinner is not an experienced soloist and he needs a good choir to assist and respond to him, and since the choir here was arranged by Spinner himself, this song doesn't flows well. Although I liked the cool jazz digression in 3:20, this is an average song. ***

The featured English song, You and I is way too long - almost 7:00. A song like this shouldn’t go over 5 minutes. Because the song is so long, it's a huge challenge to keep this song interesting – you would need a singer who’s great at improvising, but Spinner is not great at it yet - he's not a seasoned soloist. I don't understand why he chose this song to be the album's main song; in my opinion, this song fails to fly. *

Like the first song, L'maan is a good fast song and unlike Mi Sheshiken Spinner comes out well in the vocal arrangements. Avi Singolda has some time to show off his skills in the guitar and Spinner carries the song well. ****

Mike Boxer is back in Lefonai and you can notice him right away, as his choir does the (great) opening of this song. This song is unique, different than what we are used to hear in JM, but it's great and very original. ****

Peeha is my favorite song in this album. The arrangement is nice, the harmonies are very good and Spinner excelled in this song. This song has three parts, but I found the last one to be a bit forgettable - it wouldn't be easy to sing it in a Chupa, for instance. Still, everything falls into place in this song. I love the flat note sung by Spinner in 2:30 and the choir right after that - incredible! *****

The arrangement in Modeh is very different - it starts with the sound of the sea and then with a piece that reminds me of Disney's Under the Sea. There's a classic mistake in this song - the comma in this passage is after "Behemlo", not before it. However, Spinner composed this song considering that the comma is before "Behemlo", so he sings "Behemlo Rabo Emunosecho", which is very inaccurate. This is a very common mistake and it shows that the composer paid little attention to the actual words of this song. Besides this issue, it's a decent song. ***

Once again, we have a very unique arrangement in Shalom Aleichem. This is at best an average song, but both the arrangement and the choir keep this song moving. I liked when the choir sang "Shalala" in 1:47 - it reminds me of Yishai Lapidot's Pio Poscho, where the choir does the same shtick. **

The arrangement in Neshomo is contemporary and pleasant to hear. This song is similar to Ari Goldwag's compositions (similar style) and it's really nice. ****

Oseh is another of these middle-eastern songs that aren't really middle-eastern. You do have the typical instruments, the choir and some singing that resembles a middle-eastern song - but the composition itself is not really middle-eastern. With that said, this a fun song to hear - Spinner does a great shtick at 4:10 and right after that the choir guys do some arabic screaming for us. Fun. ****

I don't have much to say about Avraham Yagel. I think this song should have been arranged as a techno song, a la Ron Tichon. We can hear Yaron Gershovsky's great piano shticks, especially in 2:02, and the song is quite good. ***

-> Conclusion
: We must keep in mind that this is Spinner's debut. He's not the best soloist yet but he has a good voice and a potential to become a top singer. With some more voice coaching and experience he will improve a lot - the same happened to Yehuda!, another talented musician who composes (and arranges) his own songs, after his debut in the mid 90's.

Steve Bill did a great job in the arrangements, bringing us a full array of different musical styles and instruments. But to me, the star in the musical background was Mike Boxer, of whom I became a fan after Six13's two albums. He added flavor to this project and his music is always original, creative and interesting - I hope he continues to participate in mainstream JM projects like this one. It’s a great album.

Other three fellow JM bloggers posted about this album - Aryeh, Chaim Rubin and JBlogmeister.


Anonymous said...

except that yehuda's breakout hit was not his own song but old great hit by martin davidson which he took. (MODIM)

YK said...

that doesn't mean Spinner is better than Yehuda. It remains to be seen if Spinner has a hit song in this album. I personally don't see any of the songs in this album becoming hits. But the truth is that this album is for sure better than Yehuda's first album.


Dovid said...

loved the review. i personally know yitzi and besides being a great guy, he's multitalented in music. the only thing i hold against you is that you didnt like you and i. to me, it's the best song in the album.

Chaim said...


I think you and i is a nice song, but like YK also said, it went on very long. If it was tightened up a little it could have been amazing.

Anonymous said...

i think the cover art guy is the same as Lev tahor's actually; im not positive in this one

i also think you&i is not the best song

Reader said...

Lev Tahor covers were done by a different company

Anonymous said...

you and i is sort of a heshy rubin like and elias
an decent frum song with lyrics that makes sense and isnt about yearning for yearning

YK said...

Dovid, Chaim, Anon and Reader

I think Pruzansky's English song - You're watching me - is waaay better than You and I.

I lost LT's album jacket so I have no clue who made the album art.

But I must note - this album was a pleasant chanukka surprise. I think we will hear a lot from Spinner in the coming years

Chanuka sameach


YK said...


Chaim's review is more positive than mine, specially in regards to you and i. you probably think like him.

but many people don't enjoy these MBC-ish English songs.

Spinner is not MBD or like any other of the big ones, but he is definetly talented.


Anonymous said...

Yitzy's song "mode ani" sounds just like another older"mode ani" song i know...a different tune but the exact same intro. check it out at i thought it was strange that both songs have the same intro when its so unusual.... Kolfusion however sings this song correctly with the pause after "bechemlo." you can download the full song or other songs by kolfusion from itunes.

Anonymous said...

the kolf usion song is nothing like spinner's at all. and if by intro you mean the sounds (not the intro music) then so what its not the first time someone in jm has used beach waves and birdies in a song. and not for modeh ani either, guess what? yehudah glantz did it for his modeh ani too. perhaps people think its nice morning noise. so what? you really need to get a life man.

Anonymous said...

the lev tahor artwork was done by ganzgross

Chaim said...

YK, you told me on my comment thread you don't think pruzansky is the same style as dachs and williger, but his english song proves my point. All three of those English songs were structurally the exact same song.

"Yearning for learning, shabbos candles bright, light up the night, way up in the sky, we all say hi, to hashem we must, put all of our trust, the day is so long, lets sing another song."

They aren't songs, they are second grade poetry contest entries.

YK said...

"Yearning for learning, shabbos candles bright, ...."
That was great Chaim, got me laughing.
Just with that you are better than 99% JM lyricists out there.


I just heard kol fusion in itunes and it's hard to judge by the free 30 sec preview. I did hear the caribbean sound but if Yitzy borrowed the concept - that's something that happens often. Take Hillel Palai's signature kumzits sound. After he composed Ato Bonim the whole world copied his sound, composing new songs using the same Ato Bonim sound.

Copying a song is one thing, but just borrowing an arrangement concept is something else and I think that's less problematic.


Anonymous said...

its nothing new. beaches and birdies and modeh anis and carribean calypsos...
tzlil vzemer, solid gold...
what copy? its just a concept, you are so nitpicky

Spinner Fan (who isn't spinner himself) said...

Some of these bloggers should stop referring to their musical descriptions as "reviews" they arent reviews. at best they are merely simple descriptions.

("this song is fast and made me shake my tush. this song is slow, the next song is also slow, it sounds just like another slow song i know which is slow. the next song was fast again, but fast like the first one not like the last one on the last album. the song after that i didnt like. the song after that was a hora which is fast and slow. the next song was slow i think it was a ballad, followed by another song which was a fast song which made me shake my tushy).

YK said...


possibly a spinner fan said...

In your comment to tzur there's a typo

"Tzur is great opening song..... In the background there's a lot going on - a full horn section and the I Philharmonic Orchestra"

Joel said...

The song is called Shiru Lamelech not Ato bonim.

YE said...

are you going to give a review on the kunstler album??? (MBD or not.... Lol)

Anonymous said...

what's the big deal about the cover?

YK said...


I'm not really planning to write about Kunzler/MBD - it seems it's a Blue Fringe-ish style, which i'm not a fan of.

I got Hasc's album, but it's hard to write a review on it.

My priority now is to write about the new Shalsheles.

Btw, u have a nice name


Y. E. said...

Why thank you YK!

I hear that about the reviewing... i think its a bit of different take on the blue fringe genre but i agree with you all the same.

Great review on spinner btw, enjoying the blog!

Anonymous said...

the cover is nice but the booklet for this album seems kind of busy.
the songs are overall not to great but they sound good due to the arrangements and the choirs.

YK said...

i'm with you. this album wouldn't survive m. boxer's absence

Joel said...

I saw Spinner at a wedding in August and was very underwhelmed by his performance so I decided I was not going to buy his album. Then I heard some songs on podcasts and Nochum Segal. I also saw that there where 13 songs, and he composed all the songs and contributed to the arrangements. Since I loathe the ten song album, and performers buying others songs I decided to throw down 18 bucks and pick up his album.
After listening to his debut I am convinced that Spinner is a tremendous talent. His album is very diverse and original for JM. In my opinion he is a true musical talent. It seems that from the compositions to the vocals to the album jacket Spinner put every last effort into it.
I applaud his effort and look forward to his next record.

Yitzy is much more seasoned than Yehuda was on his debut. Even though this is his solo debut, Spinner has been in the JM business for many years. He has been on many albums in Miami and elsewhere. While he does have room to grow, this performance is in a different league from Yehuda's debut. Can he continue to grow like Yehuda and build a solid career. We will see.

Anonymous said...

Why the constant comparison to yehuda exclamation?

These two are absolutely nothing alike, aside from the fact that none of the hits that made yehuda a name (From modim to eftach pi) were even his own?

YK said...

Yehuda at the beggining of his career and Spinner do have something alike - great potential but room to improve. We are not comparing the styles, which are indeed nothing alike (I much prefer Yehuda's), just this similarity.


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