Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Eli Shwebel's Hearts Mind

I've stopped reviewing mainstream JM albums but I open an exception for Eli's latest solo album. I've bought every piece of music from Lev Tahor and their collaborations - I'm an early fan from the days of Camp Ma Na Vu, where Eli and Gadi Fuchs were always standing out.


Lev Tahor was perhaps the freshest music coming from mainstream Jewish Music and although they had noticeable success, they were certainly in the way down in the past 5 years. 

I guess that's what pushed Eli to go solo, aside from the clear new direction this album takes. Be it as it may, Hearts Mind is not a mainstream Jm album; it's alternative Jewish Music. And more than anything, it's a risk taking album, with many experiments. 

The lyrics resemble Journeys but the music is modern and fresh, and not folkish. It's the new age Journeys, and I really appreciate the innovative lyrics which interchange sayings from Chazal and Eli's own. Matisyahu has done this better than anyone in his early days and I think this is a growing niche, which focuses not only in repetitive lyrics and unoriginal tunes. 

I will not get into each and every song but I will delve into the album's best song - Ani Yosef. This song is perhaps the best Jewish song of the past year or two. Not a wedding hit, not a kumzits hit but a big hit that somewhat resembles Lev Tahor's Shabbos song (משה מתנה טובה), but more original. 

We all know the story of Yosef but few times we look at it from a psychological point of view - what he must has felt and what was in his mind. Ani Yosef does just that, in a way only music can, describing how lost Yosef was and how he managed to thrive. This is something we rarely see in JM, and this alone was worth paying 10 bucks for. 

Everything in this song is done perfectly, I wouldn't change anything. Vocals, dreamy arrangement and the three part tune plus bridge. And at 4 minutes it's not too long - it tells the story and it stops. This shows how powerful music can be and also it pioneers a rarely explored theme. I hope others follow.