Sunday, March 29, 2015

Eli Marcus Dovid Hamelech Review

Eli Marcus debut album has been well advertised everywhere and I’m glad to have had a chance to listen to it in Spotify. It’s interesting how virtually all new JM albums get to Spotify rather quickly; that’s amazing.

Sheyibone it’s difficult to define. Not very energetic, too many trumpets and throws us back some 20 years. We also have Yossi Green’s classic chorus, so I wonder if this is intentionally a retro song. I don’t get it. **

I love how direct Refoeinu starts - right into the song, and this is a special song. Groovy and modern, Benny Friedman-style, it’s a simple and successful song because it showcases Eli Marcus’ vocals and also his music style. ****

Dovid Hamelech should have been the opening song of the album. It’s full of energy, and has perfect chorus and arrangements (I specially like how the tempo changes) . I guess Eli wanted Yossi Green’s chorus featured in the first songs, but sometimes you have to do what you gotta do. This is a winner, Sheyibone is not. *****

Like Refoeinu, Kol Torah has no intro and all you have are the beautiful lyrics, speaking about the Giving of the Torah. Eli’s vocals are impeccable, and also his interpretation (I love how he pronounces “shotek”, well according to the meaning of the word). Than the song goes fast, losing a lot of power and becoming rather forgetful. 1st part is a five star song. The 2nd is average if not below average. So I give 4 stars. Special mention for the beautiful finish. ****.

Mazal Tov has interesting lyrics, and a potential to be the next wedding hit song. To me that doesn’t really mean the song is great; in fact it’s not. But it’s easy to dance on it, so I think this song will prove to be quite popular. ***

Chavivi is rather forgetable, far from being a disaster but not really a song I can relate to. Too much repetition in the lyrics and not a real connecting between them and the song. **

Av Harachamin starts with tasteful piano + accoustic guitar arrangement, and it sets the table for an interesting song. The 1st part of the song is great but the 2nd is pretty much the same thing, just with a little higher notes, so the song gets stuck, not developing into something more interesting. With better lyrics in the second part, this could have been a real winner. It isn’t. ***

Osios is a groovy song - I love the guitars in the 2nd part. It’s a simple song but it’s really well done, again reminding me of Benny Friedman. All in all, this is perhaps the most simple but best fast song so far. *****

Look inside is again a song with a perfect arrangement - I’m blown away by the production value of this entire album. It has the JM feel but it pushes the envelope further - I note the whistling in this song, which is truly amazing and unusual. This is clearly the comfort zone of Eli and I like the style. ****

Keili Machzik is for me the traditional filler song, I always hope not to encounter them. Ok the lyrics are original, but the song itself is more of the same, and I want less of the same.

Yishtabach starts with a vinyl sound, quite original, but it quickly turns to be a usual yeshivish slow song. It’s a rather nice Yeshivish song, just not my style. You can tell this is Yossi Green just by how the words fit the song, but as much as I love Yossi Green, this is not his finest.

Eli seems to be fitting into the Chabad, modern niche, like his cousin Benny Friedman. I see a lot of similarities, and that’s a great compliment because Benny is one of my favorite singers today, but the songs in this album are weaker than Benny’s. I do like the fact that none of the songs are too long - common mistake in JM and it shows Eli and his team has common sense that is lacking in most singers today. But Eli has definetly potential and I hope he can get even better songs in the future. If I have to choose between Eli Marcus and Bari Weber, which I reviewed just now as well, I choose Marcus for sure.