Thursday, February 26, 2009

Six13's Yesh Chadash Review

One of my favorite musicians in JM, Mike Boxer, is back with Six13's latest album. Although I'm pretty much done with reviews I made an exception simply because they are more original than everyone else - you can't be in Acapella otherwise. And I love original stuff and most of all Acapella, so I'm excited about this one.

The album's title Yesh Hadash is most certainly a play with the Kohelet verse: "There's nothing new (Ein Hadash) under the sun" like saying "Six13 is back, and with some new and refreshing music". Let's hope that holds true!

Ki Leolam Hasdo is very catchy and pop-ish. I like the way the lyrics and the song blend - it's not easy to sing these lyrics but I think this worked well. The song builds up well, with a nice bridge in 1:52 (it sounds like another of Six13's song but I can't remember which) and some improvisation in 2:46, where they keep changing the lyrics and that's great - everyone else in JM would just keep singing the same basic lyrics. ****

Mah Tovu is another tune that goes very well with the lyrics, despite the fact that the lyrics are not very original. But although it's true that every JM singer already has a Ma Tovu in their repertoire, this one is different than the rest, so you will not pass it. The arrangement is really amazing, just makes the song flow seamlessly. I also loved the closing of the song. This was definitely the right choice for the second song. ****

Mi Kamocha is in the serious side, and although the first part seems to be just average the high part is amazing and groovy. So far in this album all the bridges are perfect - great job in 2:37, again singing on the lyrics ("Tzur Yisrael") instead of repeating the same lyrics all the time. And before I forget - wacky closing. *****

The next song is very upbeat and puts you in the right mood for the lyrics - Modeh Ani, which we say every morning. I didn't like the second part of the song simply because it uses to much repetition, but overall this song is the best so far - the vocals are superb (check 2:04 and 3:23 and 3:30) and the harmonies are just what I love in Acapella. To put all this together is a great feat. ****

After the cool intermission idea ("ladies and gentleman, once again, Six13") we get to the crazy part of this album - Neilah. The Shwekey-lovers will not be able to appreciate this but I love to see a group just having fun and singing what comes their heart. You can see here Six13's array of shticks and tricks and although all the songs are non-Jewish hits this is woth listening to. Yes, "Too late to circumcise" is a stretch and I hope you will not walk around singing this, but man, so much fun! ****

Like in Ma Tovu, Im Eshocheich is a complicated choice of lyrics but despite that I appreciated the moody style of this song. It's not singable, but it's a nice experiment. And the bass guy in the end is unreal - in Six13 Encore I thought this guy's voice was digitally altered but it's real. The best bass voice in JM, easily. If you didn't notice it, do me a favor, go to 4:04 and hear it again. Don't pass it like that. ****

Shiru Lamelech is perhaps some 5 years too late so from the start I wonder if it was smart to try to Six13-ize it. Everything is amazing but this song already got all the attention it could've gotten, even tough this gotta be the funnest rendition so far. It puts Lev Tahor's version (1st album) to shame, but again, it's too late. ***

I didn't "clicked" with Bni and Ata Echad, which in my opinion are less good than what we had until know. *

Ledor Vador is a song originally featured in Josh Nelson's debut album, an album I didn't review but full of good music (special mention to his first song there, amazing). If you are interested, check Teruah's glowing review. I heard this song before, so I didn't get blown away. ***

Final Thoughts: Although this is not an album intended to the Yeshivish crowd, it seems to me that this album got less buzz than it deserves. While JM as a whole is getting me bored Six13 is ever-interesting and original. All the songs have a purpose and a concept, that is, they are not just another song, it's a new story every time, so anyone who just loves good music will automatically love this album. I hope Mr. Boxer continues to venture into the more Yeshivish JM since he has a lot to teach. As I said once, a professional in a sea of amateurs and Spinner will go far if he sticks with Boxer.

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