Sunday, March 23, 2008

Gabay's Omar Dovid Review

I bought my copy of Omar Dovid two weeks ago in Gal Paz and I finally got the time to review it. Chaim and JBlogmeister also posted reviews, which I read after writing my review. So I know I'm late this time, but here we go:

Hagomel is a mess, but somehow it works and comes up together as a cool and exquisite song, composed by "Da Man" Yossi Green. Sometime ago Shlomo Simcha showed me YG's song database in his pocket PC and each song was categorized as rock, ballad etc.. but a few were labeled "Yetzirah", which means "novel". Hagomel is surely that kind of song. The musical sequencing is a bit obstructive, but it's a valid "shtick" and it makes this song stand out. *****

Boruch Levine is very good at slow songs but somewhat weak in fast songs, so I was surprised to see Gabay placing V'koreiv as the first fast song in this album. It took me a while to "absorb" this song, since I first felt the lyrics don't really fit in the song, especially in the second part of this song. It's not a bad song, but if you are getting a song from Levine get a slow one. ***

I first heard from Elimelech Blumstein in Shloime Dachs last album, where he composed a breathtaking Shema Yisrael. Dachs is in a sharp downward slope, so no one bothered to hear it (besides me I guess). Well, Blumstein wrote another great song, but this time to Gabay, who is very hot now. Birchos Avicha is very original and it gives us a chance to hear Gabay's great vocals and energy. In 5:10 Gabay throws in a Shwekey-style shtick and the child soloist is good, specially in the harmony (see 5:25). *****

Yimloch to me is a pointless faux-Sephardi song - too simple, too typical - and the choir has a Chassidish sound (reminds me very much Gideon Levine's choir) that doesn't fits in this song. *

The Chassidish choir fits perfectly in the next song, Omar Dovid. The vocal arrangement is great and syncs really well with Gabay, who did an outstanding job. This song is not for any singer and Gabay delivered it. His harmony in 3:35 is very, very tasteful. *****

Don is a complicated song. Actually, very complicated. The concept of this song is the repetition of the word Don, which is mentioned countless times throughout the song. The problem is that Efraim Mendelson came up with a hit song named "Don" back in the day with the exact same idea and sound. It's too much of a coincidence to me. *

I heard Avi Kula's album, which was released sometime ago with Shloime Dachs and Ari Goldwag as guest singers. I like his music and although the lyrics of Rachem are not original the tune is nice and it's this album's Yeshivish song (of course, as we all know every album needs a "Sephardi" and a yeshivish song..). It's a good song for Moshe Roth's choir, but it will never become a hit. ***

Zaroh is composed by Waldner, who is usually better at slow songs. But this song is really good, actually one of my favorites from this album. Everything is well done, starting with the great arrangement from Rigler (my favorite arranger) and the boys choir really fit in the first part. The high part is very catchy and Gabay is just great at energetic songs. And I’m happy the Chassidish choir stayed away from this one.

The Letter, as the name notes (duh!), is a letter turned in a song. It’s not easy to compose a song like that, so kudos to Waldner. ****

In the very beginning of Tanna there’s a radio shtick, which is a blatant copy from Yeedle’s Boruch Habointro. Aside from that, Blumstein finally brings us a great fast song. Gabay really excels in this one, especially in 3:08 and on (3:22 and 3:37), where he modulates to a higher key three times. Never heard that before. And the song ending is just amazing – I don’t understand why this song is featured so late in the album, it should be swapped with Don. It would’ve been a perfect song, if not for the infamous radio shtick. ****

Naguila is another good surprise and it’s sooo much better than Yimloch – why not swap it? Although the Chassidish choir sound again doesn’t fits in this Mizrachi song, the vocal arrangements are cool and the song has four parts – all of them good. I really wonder who arranged this song (it’s not credited), since there are two cool things. First, the arrangement in 0:58 and 1:40 is really similar to Ricky Martin’s hit song La Copa de La Vida. Secondly, there’s a jazz digression in 3:25 – yeah, a jazz digression in a Middle-eastern song! Nice! ****

Conclusion: It’s a fun album. The production is way better than Gabay’s first album and the songs are original (the tune and the lyrics). Blumstein comes out as a great slow song composer and Gabay once again proves why he’s one of the hottest singers in JM today. Great songs, great energy and great production. It's one of the best albums in the last months, that’s for sure.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Two things.

1) Do you honestly think Yeedle invented that? It makes me laugh when i read those type of things. No one copied Yeedle. Yeedle copied about 35 other people to use that shtick over the last 30 year of music albums.

2) Don Don is the simplest song on that album, nothing complicated at all, and next to Zaroh its my 2nd fav on the album.

I usually like your reviews but I felt this one was rushed and off the mark on a lot.

YK said...

I only remember Yeedle.. Can you bring examples of other singers who did that?

Have you heard Mendelson's Don?

My review was more condensed this time and I just wrote my main issues and ideas, as I knew there were two long reviews posted in this subject already for some time.

At least we agree Zaroh is a favorite.

YK

Anonymous said...

It's not a matter of bringing examples. Do you honestly think that Yeedle Werdyger invented the "tuning radio" gimmick before the start of a song? Without bringing you examples, let me just tell you the facts. He DIDN'T.

Maybe it wasn't done in Jewish Music before, (and even that I'm not so sure of) but it's been a very commonly used gimmick in regular music since at least the late 70's early 80's. It's also a gimmick radio station morning jockeys do since forever.

Maybe you think Eli Gerstner invented the fake LP record needle scratching into a modern song shtick as well??

None of these things are original. Plus, even if they are, how come just because one person does one thing no one is ever allowed to do it again?

"Oh wow, they copied Shwekey, he also had a sephardic song!" What about English songs, guitars, drums, yiddish songs, or anything else? It's not what they did, it's HOW they did it.

YK said...

Anon,

I wasn't talking about non-Jewish music. In the realm of JM, Yeedle was the first one to do it. That's my claim, and I have a concrete argument.

I challenge you to find out someone else in JM who did it. If you find it, you will have a point. Until that happens, you will remain just an anonymous kvetcher. Prove me wrong.

YK

(English songs, guitars, drums, yiddish songs are not shticks)

Joel said...

First of all you and Yossi Green need to get a room already!
In my humble opinion Don don is the best song on the album. The Title of Mendelson's song is Hvey Dan and gabay's is Don Don. The lyrics are different. The arrangements are different, Gabay's being far superior. The two songs have actually very little in common, and Gabay is already bigger than Mendelson ever was. Comparing them is an insult to Gabay.
This album is original and very professional. Five songs use lyrics never featured in JM. Instruments like the violin and the darbuka are used in this production a rarity for JM.
"The letter" addresses the topic of infertility that affects too many young couples in our community. This is also a first for jm.
This album represents the next generation in JM album production. Avi Newmark has started to develop a track record of top notch productions. Also Elimelech Blumstein has shown that he is ready to challenge your boy YG as the best composer in JM. This album is a three headed monster of Gabay, Newmark and Blumstein.
This is the best album since Fried's Bein Kach.

YK said...

Hey Joel,

Havei Don was a huge hit at the time, a bigger hit than any song in Gabay's first album. I agree Gabay is far better, but both songs have this infinite repetition of Don. In Gabay's song he repeats it 25 times, while Mendelson repeats it 20 times, according to my accounts. That's a striking coincidence to me, I guess we should find out if Blumstein heard the song before.

I agree with all the other things you said with the exception of me getting a room with Green. Just because I thought Hagomel was good? I barely mentioned Green in this post!

YG is composing new and exciting songs for 20 years already. He's a living legend. Blumstein has composed a handful great songs but how can you say he's taking over? 5 good songs do all that for you? You're very easy to please I guess.

Aside from that I agree with everything else you said. It's a great album.

YK

Joel said...

Legabay was and is one of the biggest hits in the last few years. It was on hasc, next project x and the 2nd dance cd. It is played at every single wedding ive been to in the last two years. I think that qualifies it as a huge hit. No Mendelson song including Hvey Dan was ever as big.
Blumstein has composed for others as well as Gabay. Veroba and Dachs I think Shwekey as well. I said he was ready to challenge YG that meant that in a few years with continued quality compositions he might be as good as YG. I did not mean he was as good as YG now.
I'll save my rude YG comments for your 8th note review.
Also the shirah chadashah choir in "Zarah" was brilliant. And I have heard the radio thing before. Its not new.

Shimmy Messing said...

Gotta jump in hear and Defend YK hear for a sec.
Noone said he's in love with Green.
It happens to be you'd have to be an idiot not to have great things to say.
Ephraim Mendolson is big in Israel ,so Yk and Anon are coming from 2 places.
Chaim Yisrael and Itzik Orlev are much bigger names there.As is Gad Elbaz.Even Schwekey is bigger inIsrael than he is in America.
Gal Paz Sales can confirm this.It's not a question.
Mendlson did have a big hit here, the song he dueted with Amit.
Now as far as the radio shtick.
It's been done.C'mon folks show off your musical knowledge.
Yossi and Yerachmiel("A Time and Place"(Dist: Sameach) start off their album with the same shtick)
C'mon people.It's old.
The best album to come out in Years was Gertner.Not even close.And Green truly is a genius.If YK and YG wanted to get a room I wouldn't blame em a bit.As YK so aptly said,"He's da bomb"
I just got my copy of the 8th Note and you can see his genius all over it.The songs are all great.Especially Layhudim.There's Geoynus going on over there.
And It's very claer why he picked guys like A.K.A Pella and Mo Kiss they both sound awesome and he just has a penchant for finding the right people.Speaking of A.K.A Pella, I just saw their new cover for their new album(I think it's up on JE's site and on Sameach)and that's also brilliant.
They have the best covers of any JM group.The Chameleon is genius.

Shimmy Messing said...

By anon meant "Joel"

Avi Popak said...

I agree with you about the A.K.A Pella cover.
I vehemently disagree about LaYihudim
The best Track is S'for with Lev Tahor.

YK said...

Joel,

You made a colossal understatement. Mendelson actually had two big hits. Havei Don, which you can attempt to challenge, and Kayol Taarog, which you yourself probably sing on any kumzits. Kayol Taarog is a classic, but few people realize it was a hit from Israel, more specifically from Mendelson. Gabay's Legabay is not up to Kayol Taarog. It's a good song but not a classic. It's like comparing Omar Dovid from Gabay to Fried's Tanye.
I agree with what you said about Blumstein promising future.

Shimmy Messing,

Tks for the defense. What you said about US/ Israel is so accurate. They're two different JM markets, and what's a hit in the US most times never gets to Israel. Gabay is much more popular in the US for example. I know see that first hand, as I just moved to Israel from the US. Just confirming what you said about Shwekey, I got in a cab last week and the not frum driver was listening to Shwekey's CD. It's a great subject for a future post.

Avi,

I will buy the 8th as soon as it's out here in Israel. It's unbearable how slow Gal Paz is when it comes to CD's from the US.

YK

gabaytop said...

nice review YK but I think Yimloch is not that bad and I think Gabay is on his way to the top 3 in JM now that mbd is almost in out of the spotlight

8th note is huge, just heard it for the first time. buy

Joel said...

YK,
You are right Kaayol Tarog was a big hit. I haven't heard it in years but My Rosh Yeshiva always requested it at kumzitses. I do think that Legabay is just as big. The use of the bagpipes in JM was unprecendented ( I think) and the song is played at every wedding since the week it came out.
Since you are now in Israel why dont you let the JM blogosphere in on what is going on over there.
You should, if you havent already, check out Mendy Jerufi's last album its awesome, but no one here heard it.

YK said...

Joel,

I think Yehuda! was the first one to bring bagpipes in his great album Yehuda and friends something like 8 or more years ago. He used it in a slow song, Haleluka, and in a fast one as well. But I love the way they're used in Legabay.

To be honest, I don't think the readers will be interested to know about Israeli JM. Few people in the US have interest in Lapidot, Jerufi and Elbaz's music, so I fear i will be writing to no one. Let's see. I passed by Shlager's office the other day, I guess I should stop by, and start getting to know them. All the JM guys I know are in the US...whatever

YK

Anonymous said...

Why are you obsessed with the concept of someone doing something once and then no one else can do it?? Yeedle didn't think up that radio shtick. It's absurd to state that because he heard it used tons of times in goyishe albums and tv shows so only HE can use it? And then after that no one else can use it?

If Yeedle had created the concept then MAYBE you'd have HALF an argument. But he ripped it off from non Jewish sources? It's a shtick! It's a cute shtick. You have have this obsession with people only being able to do something once and then its off the table. It's a very odd way of thinking, I'm sorry.

As far as your review, it just seems you were hypercritical of tiny things with Gabay, when this CD overshadows anything else to come out since Bein Kach (for sure) and until 8th Note takes over that title.

Gabay's CD is massive. In my book this album easily puts him up there with Shwekey, and possible above him!

YK said...

Anon,

You are probably right, right the radio thing is not such a big deal, but it just reminded me of Yeedle's song, and being that Tanna is one of the best songs of the album, I thought it didn't need such unoriginal intro. Everything in the song is new, composition and arrangement alike. It's not a big deal indeed.

I don't think I was hypercritical of this album at all. I maybe had 2 or three issues, but as I said so many times, it's one of the best albums out there.

YK

Anonymous said...

Regarding 8th note. The song with helfgott is by far the best.

Anonymous said...

Regarding 8th note. The song with helfgott is by far the best.

YK said...

It will allegedly be for sale in Israel on sunday

Shimmy Messing said...

I agree.Helfgott's high note that he hits at the end is INCREDIBLE!

Jewish Blogmeister said...

You certainly got a lot of comments here YK. I find it very interesting how much people differ on their favorite songs...

YK said...

JB,

Me too. And they are off topic, as this post is about Gabay and not 8th note but I don't moderate.

I already asked the anon guy to write his name, as I know anon comments annoy people like me and you, but he didn't go for it. What else can I do?

Keep the good work in your blog and stop by more often,

YK

Ariel said...

If you are looking for examples of tuning radio before a song, Partish II/Shir Hamalot.

YK said...

I only have Partish 1... Fun album by the way

Tks

YK