Saturday, December 27, 2008

YK's Picks

Blogger: YK
Blog: YK's Jewish Music Forum

Best Album: 8th Note (Yossi Green)
Best Song: Anovim (8th Note)
Best Debut Singer: Yitzy Spinner
Best Arrangement: Sefor (8th Note)
Worst Song: Hesech Hadas (Avraham Fried)

Full Disclosure:

"I will be really concise, I don't want to take too much of your time.

Best Album - Yossi Green was a living legend but there was something missing in his career - an album like the 8th Note. True, he had put out Shades of Green but we needed to hear something novel, cool and modern from him and he delivered. Gabay is also up there but the 8th Note is more significant, if you look at the big picture.

Best Song - Anovim is the natural choice, since this year was the first time this song came out with a proper arrangement and recording. Singable, great lyrics, great vocals and great arrangement. What else can we ask for?

Best Debut Singer - In my opinion 2008 has provided us with one of the best harvests of new singers of the past 5, 6 years. Not in terms of quantity but in regards to quality. Spinner stands out because he is a pro and boy, we need more real pros in JM. Great composer, arranger and singer, but above all, just a great musician.
However I would like to make a special mention to a singer of a completely different segment of JM - Shuli Rand. He has one skill that is very very scarce in Jewish Music today - lyrics. He is a brilliant lyricist and that's something Spinner doesn't have at all - Spinner gets songs from Chazal and the only English song of his album is running for this year's worst song. True, the trend is still to dig in Chazal for new lyrics and that's what sells but I strongly believe we will eventually shift to more original lyrics, not Chazal verbatim but novel lyrics based on the words of Chazal. In that regard Shuli Rand is ahead of everyone, by far.

Best Arrangement - Sefor, because it's fresh, original and just really cool.

Worst Song - Of course, Avraham Fried had to sing the Mashiach song in the 8th Note. Boring and pointless song, and I would expect much more from one of the alleged top singers in JM - a top singer would steal the show in the 8th Note. Again, a great singer cannot hit the same key every time. Explore new worlds, sing about different things and most importantly, be original.



Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dreidel - Rap Version

This is a video from Erran Baron Cohen, the brother of Borat, who just released a new album of Hanukka songs.
There are previews of the songs in his website. I specially liked Maoz Tzur, which sounds like America's National Anthem in Cohen's version (Kol Isha). I never heard of him, so I found this NYMagazine interview very interesting.
(Hat tip to BlogInDm)

Boruch Levine and Ami Eller

Queens College concert last week.
Ami Eller is a young talent from Mo Kiss's Kol Noar Boys Choir. He was also the soloist in Shea Rubenstein's debut album, which I hope to review in the near future. (tks JoeFlix)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Introducing...Kol Ish!

Kol Ish is a “college acapella” group from University of Maryland and they’ve just released their debut album. I love acapella and since nonw of the acapella groups out there have a true “college acapella” style, I was looking forward for this album and decided to review it.

The group's name, Kol Ish is apparently a play with Kol Isha, and they probably mean that this is as good as Kol Isha. Or something like that. That would be similar to AKAPella's marketing campaign - "so good it should be ossur".
Overall the production is really simple, and the cover art reflects that too. But I actually liked the retro design of the actual CD. Let's go to the real stuff:

Mi Adir is apparently an “adaptation” from a Coldplay song (can’t pinpoint) and right from the start you will see how well Kol Ish’s voices mesh together. Very smooth and pleasant, I prefer this kind of opening song for an Acapella album rather than a computer-generated song (AKAPella did that in their albums). The song however doesn’t builds up and remains in the same gear throughout the 4 mins – I would expect a little more improvisation. Also, the lyrics were not spelled so well in 0:30 and 0:42 – instead of Mi Adir AL Hakol, it sounds like they only said Mi Adir Hakol (no AL). ***

From the very first time I heard this CD, Haazinu stood up from all other songs. It’s exactly what I like in an Acapella setting – originality, good vocal arrangements and great vocals. The tune is very catchy and unique – you don’t have the traditional high part and low part scheme but three parts that are very different from each other. The middle part is a “niggun” that is used as a bridge – a nice idea that is also used in a later song in this album (Va’alu). The lyrics are also original, from Parshas Haazinu and this song does builds up quite well. *****

Kah Ribon is a song I love, originally featured in Ari Goldwag’s debut album. It’s a fun song to sing for acapella – great tune and easy harmonies – so this was a clever choice of song. I would've used auto-tune in the beginning of the song, but overall the vocals are good in this song. The dissonant chord in the end is cool, I’m guessing they took this idea from Mike Boxer who did the same in Bilvovi, featured in his last album. ****

Who has the patience for Meheira? It’s an old hit, it was oversung everywhere and therefore this song was a poor choice. Kol Ish didn’t do anything new or original here, so this song has no appeal for me. **

Adon Olam is a new song and it’s not bad, but not good either - something in between. Not much to be said here, this is an old-style Acapella. ***

Vehoair is one of my all-time favorites from Yehuda! and another great song for Acapella. The harmonies in 1:54 are fantastic and although this is very much like the original version, there’s a lot to like here. ***

Great piece of typical Acapella harmonies in the opening of Hodo – Kol Ish is clearly aiming for that traditional “College Acapella” style we all know. But this song is much better than the other fast song, Adon Olam, and there’s a lot of cool shticks in this one. The song is kind of weird, but it’s a perfect song to cheer this album a bit. ***

Va’alu is quite boring and not really exciting. **

The vocal in Gam Ki Elech are spotless and Kol Ish’s vibe is certainly in these mellow songs. ****

Yehi – great closing song but the digital effects are a disaster- waaaay to much distortion and too unprofessional, and it basically ruined this great song. If done right, this song could’ve been the best of the album. **

Conclusion: Kol Ish has a lot of potential, that’s very clear. The production is the simplest possible and with a better musical team Kol Ish could’ve have produced a masterpiece – their original songs are very good and they form a very solid acapella group. It’s a very decent debut album but they have a lot of home-work to do – better production next time.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Joel's Picks

Briefing: I don't know much about Joel, aside from his signature fiery comments in this and other blogs. He has a guest post about Yishai Lapidot's latest album here and we once had a fun top-ten challenge against each other, but Joel is not a blogger; he is a JM fan who asked to share his picks, and to those of you who think the bloggers are not choosing well, Joel will surely go in another direction.

Best Album: Omar Dovid (Dovid Gabay)
Best Song: Don Don (Gabay)
Best Debut Singer: Yitzy Spinner
Best Arrangement: Birchos Avicha (Razel)
Worst Song: Return Again (Yeedle)
Best Producer (?): Avi Newmark

Full Disclosure:

"For the record my name is Joel. If you want to know my last name I'll tell you i just dont want it coming up on google. I am an out of towner, and I don't know anyone in the business other than Dov from Blue Fringe. I'm not really sure what makes me qualified to rate any album, but I could say that about every other expert here as well.

Best Album:
The choices are Green's 8th Note, Yeedle's Lev Echad, Gabay's Omar Dovid and Lipa's A Poshiter Yid. A standout album has premier vocals, compositions, and arrangements. Green's album features his vocals too much bringing down the quality of the performance. He is like the old man in shul who loves to daven....but can't. Yeedle's album is solid in all three areas, but doesn't stand out. Lipa's album is awesome, and he is clearly the number one performer in Jewish music. The only slight problem I had with it was his slow slongs were really filler and he doesn't really do english songs well. That leaves Omar Dovid which in my humble opinion is the gold standard for all albums in Jewish music. It has expanded the scope of mainstream Jewish Music production. Gabay's vocals are at the top of the heap along with Avraham Fried. The compositions of Elimelech Blumstein and others, were original and breathtaking. The arrangements of Yonatan Razel, Yisroel Lamm ( who knew he could pull this off ), Leib Yaakov Rigler and others were really off the charts. The production under Avi Newmark created the opus that all other albums should be compared.

Best Song:
The options are: Omar Dovid (Gabay), Anovim (Yossi Green) , Mekimi (Yeedle), Yener (Lipa Schmeltzer), Birchos Avicha (Gabay), Hameshorer (Shuli Rand)
The Choices are all solid, Omar Dovid and Birchos Avicha are two of the best slow songs I have heard in a while. Anovim is an overrated reused song from MBD's Priority One Show. Green, like I said before, does a duet with MBD killing the vocals. He should have given himself a stanza here and there like Shmuel Brazil did on his recent albums, not taken 60% of the vocals for himself. I am going to choose my favorite song from Omar Dovid which is Don Don. A piercing rock tune, Don Don hits the mark. The arrangement is top notch subtly adding the organ and solo violin. Its a rock song, but not overdone Gerstner style.

Best arrangement:
The options are Sefor (Tyberg - 8th Note), Birchos Avicha (Razel- Omar Dovid), Mi Sheshiken (Spinner - Remix), Poshiter Yid (Hershkowitz - P. Yid), Hevei Shakud (Amar - Am Echad), Return Again (Razel - Lev Echad), Lecho Dodi (S. Fird - Bayis Nemon), Yofyafisa (Tichon - Shalsheles IV), Don Don (Newmark - Omar Dovid)
These again are all solid again, but I am going to choose Birchos Avicha (Gabay) arranged by Yonatan Razel. All the praise I gave Gabay's album pertains to this song. The composition is original and the arragement is wide ranged and deep. I cant think of many songs that uses sixteen violinists, four violaists and four celloists. Razel proves bigger is better. This song takes it up a notch.

Best Producer:
I made this category up but the only two I think deserve recognition are Yossi Tyberg and Avi Newmark. With these two people forget quickly about Sheya Mendlowitz and Suki and Ding. Yossi T and Newmark and taking JM to new heights. I guess you can call them the Rick Rubin and Brain Eno of JM.

Worst Song:
I didn't like any of YK's choices, and I thought Neeroh by Stein was a solid song. Why all the Dovid Stein haters? Yes, his arrangements are below average, and sound exactly like Chevra 3, but I think he is only guilty of hiring a bad producer. His album, I found to be a decent listen. My choice for worst song is Return Again by Yeedle but really by Reb Shlomo. The reason I chose the song is not because it was bad, but because of overkill. I checked my Itunes library and It seems that The Moshav Band, Omek Hadavar and Yehuda Green just recently covered the song. Im sure others have as well. The song is even the title track on The Moshav Band and Yehuda Green's album. As we know from Niggun Neshama and every Nickelback song overplay can ruin a song. If you are going to cover a song dont do one that everyone else has done as well.

Best Debut:
It seems like Amar has many fans on this site, but I was not impressed. I think his songs were average, and the Axel Foley ripoff was in poor taste. His voice is also mediocre. The other guys don't merit a mention. The man among boys in this category is Yitzy Spinner. He's almost a veteran in the JM scene from his Miami Boys Choir days. How can you not be impressed by a chap who not just sings, but also composes all his songs, plays many of the instruments, and arranges his own tracks. His Avi Newmark produced effort is outstanding.
Thanks YK for the opportunity, and thank you for reading.
Joel"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Chaim Rubin's Picks

Blogger: Chaim Rubin
Blog: Lifeofrubin.com
Briefing: One of the pioneers of the Jewish blogosphere, Chaim runs the most respected Jewish Music blog in the web. There you will find balanced reviews, interesting interviews, news about concerts, samplers and occasionally some politics as well. No serious JM bloggers initiative could go forward without him and I'm glad he is on-board with us in this one.
Best Album: 8th Note (Yossi Green)
Best Song: Anovim (8th Note)
Best Debut Singer: Yisroel Werdyger
Best Arrangement: Mi Sheshiken (Remix)
Worst Song: Neero (Dovid Stein)

Full Disclosure (original post is to be found here):

"YK of YK’s Jewish Music Forum started an impromptu unofficial Jewish Music Awards. A bunch of us Music bloggers are working on this so that next year it’s much more official and many more categories are added. For this year, it is what it is, and it’s also important to remember it’s all in good fun.

Here are my picks based on the choices YK has in his listings. Again, there were no nominations and this was done on the fly, I would have added others, and I’ll try to reflect that in my comments here.

BEST DEBUT SINGER OF THE YEAR:

The choices are: Benny Amar, Shuli Rand, Yitzy Spinner, Yossi Gurvitz & Yossi Mayer.

I did not listen to Shuli Rand’s CD, and I only listened to Yossi Mayer a little bit. I heard Yossi Gurvitz’s album but didn’t find any of the things really memorable (except one.)

My choice for best new singer of 2008 of everything, not including what is on this list, is Yisroel Werdyger. My second choice, and first choice from this list is Yitzy Spinner. I really enjoyed what he did vocally and the refreshing nature of his album. He has years of experience so it’s hard to really call him a “new” singer, but he did have a debut album so that works fine for me.

BEST SONG OF THE YEAR:

The choices are: Omar Dovid (Gabay), Anovim (Yossi Green) , Mekimi (Yeedle), Yener (Lipa Schmeltzer), Birchos Avicha (Gabay), Hameshorer (Shuli Rand)

I didn’t hear Shuli Rand’s CD but YK obviously did and really liked it, I’ll have to pick it up.

Let’s start with Gabay. If there was an award for best breakout singer of the year I’d give that award to Dovid Gabay. It’s hard for artists to have a solid second cd, and almost impossible for them to top the first one. He did that in spades, Gabay 2 makes Gabay 1 seem like a distant memory.That being said, while I loved Omar Dovid, I actually liked Birchos Avicha better and I actually like Nagilah as one of the best on that CD. (Which YK puts in the worst song category, more on that later.)

There are so many great songs on Yeedles CD, Mikimi is one, but there are many amazing songs. I think the title track is the best song on that album, so again, I can’t vote for Mikimi for best song.

Lipa’s Yener is a fantastic song, maybe I would have given it runner up except for The 8th Note’s Anovim.

I guess that makes it obvious, Anovim is not a song that comes around once a year. Anovim will go down in history as a song like Tanya or Aderaba. It’s a beautiful song, and if we were doing an award for best songs of the decade I’d even give it that award. Anovim all the way, not even a choice.

BEST ARRANGEMENT OF THE YEAR:

Sefor (Tyberg - 8th Note), Birchos Avicha (Razel- Omar Dovid), Mi Sheshiken (Spinner - Remix), Poshiter Yid (Hershkowitz - P. Yid), Hevei Shakud (Amar - Am Echad), Return Again (Razel - Lev Echad), Lecho Dodi (S. Fird - Bayis Nemon), Yofyafisa (Tichon - Shalsheles IV), Don Don (Newmark - Omar Dovid)

This is a really hard category because there have been some great arrangements this past year. I think Sefor and Mi Sheshiken are both very freshly arranged songs, but in very different ways. sefor loses points for being based on an existing song and style (Idan Raichel.) Don Don is a good arrangement, but in the same style we are sued to in Jewish Music. Call it, the best of what we know, while Sefor is the best of what we don’t know. That’s why I am giving it to Yitzy Spinner, because his is the best as far as fresh and original goes.

WORST SONG OF THE YEAR:
Hesech Hadas (Fried - 8th Note), You and I (Spinner), Vezakeni (Yossi Mayer),
Torah Shebiksav (Lipa), Neero (Dovid Stein), Ani Oheiv (Daskal), Sholom (Levine), Naguila (Gabay), Horiyu (Yeedle)

I’m not going to go into detail here, because the whole category is kinda harsh, but if you want to hear the praise, sometimes you gotta hear the bad stuff too.

I don’t know what you and i is doing on this list, I didnt think it was the best song of the year, but I don’t think it’s the worst either. Same goes for Nagila, in fact Nagila I actually love, so I’m even more clueless. Horiyu, Hesach Hadaas and Torah Shebiksav are not bad songs, they are just very boring unoriginal songs. These are the songs we would expect ten years ago. Not now, not in the age of Anovim, Amhalel, Birchos Avicha, V’Zakeini, Yener etc …

My choice for worst song is also my choice for most disappointing of the year. Dovid’s Stein’s Neero. I’m really sorry, but in a year where we had stunning new styles, new arrangements, new collaborations and comebacks from legends like Yossi Green (Anovim.) We all expected a much better CD that what we got from Dovid Stein (and Shloime Daskal for that matter.)

The bar has been raised and people can’t get away with phoning it in, or going with the easy commercial wedding norm."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

JoeFlix's Picks

Blogger: JoeFlix
Blog: JoeFlix Daily
Briefing: Realizing that the JM blogosphere was missing a good Jewish photoblog, Joe started blogging just last march, with striking success. He also wrote several solid JM reviews and quickly became a respected blogger.

Best Album: Omar Dovid (Gabay)
Best Song: "Tie between Yener (Lipa) and Birchos Avicha (Gabay)"
Best Debut Singer: Yitzy Spinner
Best Arrangement: Don Don (Gabay)
Worst Song: "They are all winners"

Full Disclosure:

"Hello all. My name is Joe of the Joeflix photo blog.

First a quick disclaimer thingy: we are trying to select a winner, so in a competiton a lot of the best against the best, some will lose and look bad, even though by themselves they can be great! (For example Yeedle Vs Yeedle/Lipa/Yossi Green and Gabay) This is the olympics, and nobody would blame Phelps had he lost.

Now, before going to the 2008 nominees, let us not forget that 2006/7 was a great season for jewish music: MBD Efsher Letaken, Lipa's Hallel, Shwekey MaMaMa, Fried Bein Kach, Lapidot- Mangina Shelachem, Gertner (!), and Yehuda Green.

Now to 2008 - and I'll stick with the nominess in my vote

Best album:

Lev echad falls out for obviusoly falling very far behind Yeedle 4. The neatness might have worked against itself here, going from neat, to plain.

8th note: some in the blogesphere are bananas over the album, but let me just paraphrase what I emailed to somone last friday

[Loved (!!) Leyhudim, Kanei, and Sfor. Anovim is okay. Beshivtecho, Hesech, Siman tov, Lama, Naasse, 8th note (both), Veoz, and Yossel are average songs at best

As I said, the excitement was on level 15 (out of 10) and the album as a whole was 'only' a 10 in terms of sound and arrangements -n other words, perfect) but from a Yossi Green album you expect great SONGS - he's a composer, duh

Now again, most albums (even contemporary) have only a few hits but from Yossi we expected better. Lipa last album (PY) - for example- has 10 (out of 13) very good songs, and the big YG (and I don't mean that with sarcasm) has 4 or 5 out of 13. Gimme a break! Also, Lipa explored different styles of composition on Keneinehora so he's not that far behind in terms of being king of Jewish song! ]

For the next album, Yossi would be advised to take a few songs from Elimeliech Blumestien, Lipa and Pinky Webber

Now, Lipa vs Gabay: Both have a whole bunch of amazing songs (while Lipa wins there) and exquisite arrangements, so its almost a tie but I think it goes to Gabay, Becuase -

While I don't know too much about music, somehow I found myself enjoying Gabay's album too much, its was just so delicious and digestibale. It took me a while to realize that besides the songs, the most amazing part about it is the sound and the mix and the engineering. (And this is EXACTLY what's wrong with Lipa's album)

Then I found out how many extra miles the Newmark/ Ian Freitor team went to make this sound good, including some, ahem, unprecedented things. They did a lot of expensive, extra-credit stuff and they were not cheap

And I should add that the album is one of the top sellers on JM to date, so their work also paid off nicely - so good for you guys!

And BTW, I think that Gabay is the best voice in JM nowadays. Anybody disagrees?

[PS: Yitzy Spinner's Y&i wouldve taken 3rd place, and Sruly Werdyger came out late in 5768, but should be a nominee next year]

Best Song:

Again, 6 amazing songs but were forced to choose

Anovim falls out for emptiness, Kanei from the same album, beats it many times over.

Mekimi, again, sounds very empty after a few listens.

Omar Dovid is a great song, but the fast "tov li" part isn't all that great and feels loose on top of the emotinal first part.

The winner is a tie between Yener and Birchos Ovicho, although Yener is more original both as a song and a concept.

[Didn't buy Shuli Rands album - yet]

Best New Singer:

Didn't listen to Rand or Gurvitz

Amar is not up there with Mayer and Spinner, and the fact that he got so many votes is, ahem, funny. Very funny.

Mayer and Spinner?

Mayer has a very good album, which I still enjoy listening to. He sings very well and I can't wait for his next project, maybe with even better sound (Great great choirs on the album BTW, Moishy Kraus!)

Spinner is in a different League alltogether.

Spinner got himself a good part of the next wave of JM. Besides his amazing sweet/steely singing, the guy is a serious music powerhouse. He writes his own music, arranges beautifully with chords that make youir ears come off and plays a couple of instruments, and he just knows the whole mumbo-jumbo of music like nobody else. He's a breath of fresh air to the scene.

(He's also working on a couple of upcoming projects as a composer and arranger and choir arranger. Stay tuned)

The only drawback to his so-original style is that he doesn't have one "normal" song that you can hum while walking down a hallway. Its just great listening music. As Yitzy told me, and I quote " Let's face it, Vanilla is great - but how many people choose vanilla when they have other options??"

I was totally surprised that his album sold as well as it did and I'm happy about it.

Best arranged song:

Now Hevey Shakud its NOT

(although I have to give Shmuli Rosenberg credit for Very Good rythm and drums on the whole album)

[BTW I hear that amar's fans organized a mass-voting thing here on YK. Otherwise how do you explain the siproportion in the votes here, both in best singer and best arranged song?? This is very cheap, and frankly I hate it]

While all these songs are very very good (I nominated them, duh) Gabay's DonDon stands out - maybe cause it 'sounds' the best, but anyway.

Yisroel Lamm delivered an arrangement that makes you woner where he was the last 20 years. He should be very proud of this great, diverse arrangement (where did you learn to put violin (3.30) on a rock song? Wow!) , as well as Blumestein of the song - its so rich, and what original lyrics!!

Gabay sounds soooo good on this song and Moshe Roth should get a medal for the choirs

PS - some very big name in JM told me he favors Gabay's Zaroh (arranged by Rigler) over DonDon. I disagree strongly. Very strongly

The runner-up is a tie between YG's Sefor and Sruly Werdygers Lecho Dodi

Worst song:

They're all winners. They are all songs that didn't fit on an album. One might argue that its relative, that Yossi Mayer wouldve killed to get Gabay's fillers - but it doesn't matter.

The worst offender here is Yossi Green on 8th note - which everyone I spoke to points out a different set of 3 or 4 songs they think are just stupid, followed closely by Eli Gerstner who made avery bad album for somone who does not deserve to be shamed here, which is basically one big messed up package.

That's all folks

2009 should be a good year for JM with about 20 projects in the works, and I'm looking ofrward to review the top few

YK - thank you again for hosting this. I wish you all the best"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

2008 JM Awards: Gruntig's Picks

Blogger: Lucky Wolf
Blog: Gruntig
Briefing: Lucky Wolf runs the most complete JM video blog on the web, with over 2500 posts followed closely by hundreds of JM fans.

Best Album: Lev Echad (Yeedle)
Best Song: Vani Ashir (Yeedle)
Best Debut Singer: Yisroel Werdyger
Best Arrangement: Poshiter Yid (Lipa)
Worst Song: Hesech Hadaas (Avraham Fried)

Full Disclosure:

"Best Album of 2008

At first I thought perhaps Yossi Green’s 8th note would be the best of 08. But then we got to listen to Lipa and then after much anticipation Yeedle V was released. The 8th note, although many seem to appreciate it, for me besides for a few good songs; it just doesn’t do it. A Poshiter Yid was a huge hit, but after a while I got a little bored of it. Don’t get me wrong, i still think it’s a great album but I lost some of the hype I originally had for it when it was still fresh. There is one album however that I still have the same excitement today as I did when it was first released; I enjoy, over the rest by far, Yeedle V. It was never the rock n role style album like A Poshiter Yid was meant to be and is, but it’s just simply a pleasure to listen to. If I hade to take a cross country road trip, Yeedle 5 would be my first on my list.

Best Song of 2008

Yeedle’s Vani Ashir is a song I could hear over and over again and each time it puts me right into that rhythm. Tremendous song! If you happen to disagree and think nothing much of it, then do me a favor, listen to it a few times over and over and see where it take you.

Best Debut Singer of 2008

This award I would have to give to Yisroel Werdyger. For his voice, his songs and especially for his style.

What is even more important then a good voice is good singing, the way one sings, the way one carries a tune. Or another way to look at it, what would you rather not be forced to listen to, a bad voice or someone who is way off tune?! What made MBD king of Jewish music was not just his voice (which happened to be awesome) but the way he sang. Yisroel has shown that in this album, he can sing.

For his songs, I find this album having some beautiful songs. Emor, Yisroel Beyachad, (although those two seem to be somewhat similar), Shuvu Bonim and Besimcha Raba to name a few, are my favorite. And besides for the beautiful songs, they all have a certain pleasantness and sweetness to them.

And for his voice, Yisroel’s voice is beautiful but even more importantly his voice is unique, almost seems to be a mixture of his father Mendy and his uncle MBD.

Best Arrangement of 2008

Lipa’s Poshiter Yid (the track that is). Mainly because I feel that if you take away the great arrangements of this song or if this song would have been given over to a different singer with different arrangements, the song would be a disaster. So although it may not be my favorite song I still feel it’s the arrangement that make it what it is.

Worst Song of 2008

This is a tough one. You see, there are so many albums where I could easily find the worst song but then feel that I cannot award them this because I never though they would be any good in the first place. Heck I could make up a song right now and then vote it for worst song. I’m sure you would too if you heard it! So I figures this “Award” should go to an album which is great and to a singer who is great but where the song just didn’t make it. Perhaps naming this category from “Worst Song of 08 ” to “Biggest Disappointment of 2008”. Thus allowing me to give the award to The 8th Note’s Hesech Hadaas. Being that is was composed by Yossi Green and sung by Avraham Fried in an album with various singers; in my opinion there was no bigger disappointment this year."

JM Awards: Bloggers Picks

I will be posting the bloggers' picks in the coming weeks, coinciding with the closing of the polls in Dec 31st.
In order to do it in an organized way, I will breakdown the info and I will post each bloggers' picks every five days - this way everyone will be at the spotlight and it will be easier to discuss it properly.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Comments on the New Music Videos

Three singers have released songs dedicated to the Holtzberg's - Yossi Green, Shea Rubenstein and Yaakov Young. These are very nice gestures and I'm sure others will dedicate even more songs.

Just my impressions:

Yossi Green's song is very moving, but clearly not a hit. It reminds me very much classic Ani Maamin, composed in the concentration camps of WW2 - it's long, "tense" and has appropriate words. And what's even nicer, YG did all this in the past week and already released the video, which is unusual. He basically just got there, composed it, got Ohad and did it, so it's unfair to criticize.

It's the first time I hear Shea and I love his sweet voice. He is always in tune and it seems to me that auto-tune was used, but very slightly and appropriately. It's almost impossible to make an interesting music video that lasts for 6+ minutes so it does gets too long - a common JM issue. But it's a great song and I look forward to getting his album.

Yaakov Young's Nachem is a song I like - see my review of Young's album.

I will be out for the next two weeks, so I wish you all a Happy Hanuka.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Round Up

- Chaim Rubin posted his Jewish Music Awards picks, you can see it and discuss here.

- Sameach released the cover and sample of Six13's new album, Yesh Chadash (might be a play with the saying "Ein Kol Chadash Tachat Hashamesh").

- Amiran Dvir, who played at my wedding, released one of the songs of his upcoming album, Shvil Hachupa. It's composed by Yossi Green, lyrics by Amiran himself. I'm a little disappointed with this song, I feel like Amiran wasn't in his best shape when he recorded it and the song itself is a bit "flat". Click below and have your say.


- BBC produced a nice photocast about Yiddish music with some great antique pictures and interesting insights. See it here.