Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lipa's Leap of Faith Review

To my great surprise, more and more JM albums continue to find their way into Spotify and Lipa’s latest Leap of Faith is up there now, so I have no excuse not to write a review now. The big downside is not having access to the album artwork, which means I can’t really know all the details about the composers, arrangers and all.

Chatzotrois - Not really groundbreaking, this song is pretty much a conventional and sounds a little familiar, probably because of the trumpet-filled arrangements a la Yisroel Lamm. The song does get more interesting after 3:00 thanks to Lipa’s great improvisational skills but the song itself is average and much too long. ***

L’Olam - this is probably the first JM song to use Portuguese and Dutch in its lyrics - tudo bom? tudo bem? - meaning all good? all well? (yes I speak Portuguese). This is one of Lipa’s signature lighthearted songs and although I have not much to speak about in terms of musicality, I do appreciate the risk taking and his efforts to make this structure-less song work. Reminiscent of Shlomo Simcha’s multi-language song (forgot the name) with even more languages.****

Yigdal - Beautiful Yeshivish song, just enough interesting to stand out and be memorable. The first and second parts mesh well, and the choir arrangements are subtle, smart and add a lot here. The actual arrangement is rather boring and could be more interesting - again it sometimes brings us back to Moshe Laufer-ism but all in all this is a solid slow song. However the song could stop at 5:00, sparing us the last minute of boring piano solo. ****

Kvodo - Best song so far, from beginning to the end this song is complex both in the vocals and arrangement. The choir is perfect, again subtle and smart as it should be, enabling Lipa to interpret this song marvelously. This is Lipa at his best and the lyrics choice is ngood too. *****

Vayehi quickly topples Kvodo as the best song so far, a song that is musically groundbreaking with a lot of dissonant notes and a package of perfect arrangement, choir and interpretation by Lipa. He is somehow equally comfortable singing a slow Yeshivish, a funky feel good song and an unusual composition like this one - great versatility. This song reminds me of Yossi Green’s chant song in his last album Hipsh (review here). Special mention to the falsetto at 3:40 and on, which closes the song well. *****

Hang up the Phone should be viewed in Youtube, where the video has a staggering 150,000 views so far.

For this song Lipa has been called the Jewish Lady Gaga in the web, among other comparisons, and nothing describes this song better than Jewish Pop, something we rarely see out there. This song normally would get many Cherem’s but after the Big Event fiasco, Lipa seems to be vaccinated and ready to explore his musical instinct. For the whole package and for the Chassidish twist at 2:40 this is a 5 star song. *****

Vedabkeinu stands in stark contrast with the previous song with its distinctive Chassidish feel. Almost like saying “don’t kill me for Hang up the Phone, here is a normal song”. Bottom line, not really anything special here. **

Yeled Katan - unusual to see a Chassidish guy like Lipa singing a Hebrew song a la Yishai Lapidot. Lipa is all over the place! 4:10 is a really good moment of Lipa, a great vocal shtick but this song seems to mimic Aleh Katan of A. Fried, without the same success.

Leap of Faith - great song name, this falls into the typical Lipa Yiddish song, a genre that is not really my cup of tea. **

Rochel - boring slow song, with a theme that was explored so many times by the likes of Shwekey (journeys), Shloimy Gertner (rochel), London Boys Choir and others. **

Mizrach - another song which should be viewed in Youtube (here). Great concept, very catchy song and a well crafted video. Bingo. Special mention to the Michael Jackson-ish “Ah” sung between Mizrach/Maarev etc..*****

Shul - Didn’t really get the point of this song *

Clearly Lipa’s music continues to develop his skills and grow musically. He is popular, cool and his music is distinctive and innovative. And even more important, he doesn’t seems to be afraid of the skeptists and the Kanoim who find modern music an abomination. He is a risk-taker and if you know me I always say this is the single most important attribute in a performer. This album is as good or better than Meimka DeLipa, with very solid 11 songs and virtually no “fillers”, those pointless songs most singers fill theirs albums with to get to the holy 10 song mark.  Even though I heard it for free in Spotify I will buy a copy soon. Why? Because I want to own this album. It’s really good.

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