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.


YK said...

hey joel, solid post

a few comments. without getting into your everlasting grudge against Yossi Green, he should at least get a mention in your post for his great production skills. That has nothing to do with his voice, and he deserves credit there. Every corner of the 8th note has a nice shtick and from the production side it's spotless, while Newmark did have spoilers. So i disagree with this pick.

Regarding Best Debut, you surely don't know Shuli Rand, because if you did you wouldn't dare say he doesn't deserves to even be mentioned. Spinner is truly up there, but Rand is also above the rest.

Just wanted to clarify that the Worst Song picks are not mine, it is a result of the thread discussion we had right at the start of the Awards. The First three awards I did choose unilaterally.



Joel said...

The producer of the 8th note was Yossi Tyberg, and I did mention him in my best producer category. Yossi Green mentioned on jmintheam how he realized how little he knew about production once he met Yossi Tyberg.

There are only a couple unfamiliar judaica sites that sell Rand's cd, and for 18.90 plus shipping. I'm not paying that for any cd. What I did hear on clips and jmintheam didnt impress. His lyrics are not liturgical or atleast the liturgy im used to. Its hard to get used to breslover lyrics or whatever he does.
I think his voice is a notch above Yossi Green. Also I dont really like his disheveled look. If you are going to have a beard trim it. If you are going to perform wear a suit and tie, or atleast look respectable. He looks like a slob.

JoeFlix said...

Joel Youre soooo bad - in a good way.

About your pics - people will start thinking that you and I are the same person

I DID mttion in my review that Stein is Okay but he wasnt guided or produced well

Yes- Gabay is JMs first HD album

YK said...

I actually thought YG produced the 8th Note, so I thought your mention of Yossi T was about something else. So we do agree there.

Shuli Rand, I repeat, is not for everyone. But what makes him stand out is specifically his skills as a lyricist. And man, we urgently need good lyricist in JM - you can count the good ones in your hand. The future of Jm lies in their hands, not in the ones who copy Chazal. But that's just my opinion.


Anonymous said...

Joel well said but you don't have any of your own insights. you just collaberate what other people say into your own guest blog. your kind of like chester coppick

Joel said...

Hillel- you dbag. Go friend more chicago media b-listers on facebook.