Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Jewish Music Review: The 8th Note

The 8th Note Review is finally here!

This album features songs by Yossi Green and is Produced by Yossi Tyberg.

1) Layehudim

The opening song for the album is a pretty catchy disco type tune . The intro starts with piano by Shai Bachar and guitars by Ilya Lishinsky (programmed?). I enjoyed the arrangement especially the overall vibe which is more jazz oriented. Yossi Green uses his classic doubled over vocals which work well with this song. At 1:58 he starts to break the vocals into a third part with harmonies that works as a bridge into the beginning of the tune. Yossi throws in some sephardic vocal overdubs from Rabbi Shlomo Karo which adds an interesting element.

Rating: 8.5/10

2) Anovim Anovim

This song was written a while back for MBD and performed in concert but never recorded. This song is arranged by Daniel Frieberg who arranged MBD's "Let My People Go" album and hasn't been heard of much since then. Daniel mixes some old with the new: The use of strings with new age style percussion. Together it makes for a very beautiful haunting melody and certainly a tune you could walk down the chupa too or even sing during the dinner set. MBD although perhaps not in his vocal prime his performance on this song is right on. I liked Yossi's vocals better on the high than the low part here. At 4:16 MBD hits some higher notes and it really brings out a very emotional feel as it fades away with his falsetto, it closes as well as it opened.

Rating: 9.5/10

3) Sefor

Lev Tahor guest stars on this song and it's a shame because I wasn't a big fan of this tune.
One of the problems is there are too many words and when Eli sings them it sounds like he's pushing the phrase to fit the melody.

Rating: 6/10

4) Beshivtecho

Starring Shloime Gertner in this nice disco/shuffle. I like the idea of taking the style of learning in Yiddish and incorporating it into this tune. Reminds me of how they taught me Yiddish in the younger grades. This song has a lot of appeal and it grew on me the more I listened to it. Mo Kiss did a nice job recording the child choir. At about 4:03 Yossi goes for another vocal bridge incorporating the Yiddish into the song along with the children.

Rating: 8/10

5) Ve'oz Yihyu

This song features the usual suspects in the rythm section: Gutfried, Singolda, Volinetz, Vered.
Haim Yisrael sings very nicely in this slow ballad but he's a bit too nasal for my taste. It's a very pleasant song but it's not the most memorable and I'm not sure it will be a big hit. I did like Yossi's vocals and backup on this tune.

Rating: 7/10

6) Al Todin

This authentic reggae song is brought by way of a flute intro by Itai Kriss. Vocal guests are Moti Pshemish (?) and Shalom Zohar. If you are into reggae you are certain to enjoy this song. If you are wondering why some of the vocals sound so authentically reggae that's because they are. I was told real reggae singers were employed to sing the background vocals to give it that real reggae flavor. Even though this is not my favorite style musically I found myself connecting to it and it's message-never judge a brother until you have been in his place....

Rating: 8.5/10

7) Lama

This intro reminds me of some old television show style arrangements, which I actually like.
I have never heard Mo Kiss perform so this was my first time hearing his vocals. He sounds very clean but he does remind me of Yehuda! and you be hard pressed to tell them apart. I enjoyed the arrangement by Lishinsky but the song was missing a good hook.

Rating: 6.5/10

8) Kanei

Starring the famous Cantor Helfgot and arranged by Leib Yakov Rigler with strings by the Israeli Philharmonic. When I hear this song I think of Avraham Fried and it would be interesting to have heard him sing it. This song is a bit more sophisticated than Anovim vocally and has a very wide range which works well for Helfgot. It's more of a listening piece than something one would perform.

Rating: 8/10


9)Yossel

As soon as this song starts, you start to smile as you hear Lipa Schmeltzer talking about his buddy Yossi Green and the songs he's written. I really got a kick out of this big band tune arranged by Shai Bachar as I'm sure you will. There is a nice "Johnny be good" guitar solo too.

Rating: 8.5/10

10) Hesech Hadas

Intro is classic Mona and a throw back to the arrangements you have heard before. Avraham Fried stars in this catchy disco that will get you up and dancing in no time flat. I would have preferred a different arrangement but Fried sounds great on this tune and I like the distorted guitars as well as the moving bass line. Yossi lends his vocals and serves as a bridge between Fried's singing. At 2:20 Yossi again goes with a third part" vocal bridge" deal , which I like as well.There is a nice use of organ and overall this is a song they could add to the wedding scene.

Rating: 8.75/10

11) Naseh Venishma

This intro reminds of something that might be typical of Gershon Veroba. Yossi integrates some yiddish into this tunes and it has some nice Brass hits. The song is however is not all that remarkable and it is also missing a good hook as well.

Rating: 6/10

12) The 8th Note

New age intro with synth starts with Yossi's vocals. I think someone else should have introduced this song but A.K.A. Pella does nice job taking over part B and are reminiscent of a boy band sound. I found the lyrics to be a bit better than the corny ones you typically hear.

Rating: 8/10

13) Mi Mi Adir

This song is introduced to you by what sounds like the pouring champaign. I think that Yossi Green was drinking too much of that bubbely when he wrote this tune and I think we could have done with out it . Perhaps he was thinking what would happen if he took some mexican styled brass and put these words to it? Strange is the only word to describe this tune.

Rating: 4/10


14) Hato Shemini

Here is the hebrew version of The 8th note song brought to you in part by Ohad Moskowitz. Singing hebrew in ivrit is when Ohad sounds his best and this is no exception. A.K.A Pella backs him up but less prominently than the previous version as Ohad is the star here.

Rating: 8.5/10


Bottom Line: This is a more sophisticated album than perhaps people are typically used to.
The album has some really good tunes as well as fun and interesting arrangements and takes time to be digested properly. It certainly is not stale like many of the past releases and perhaps is signaling a change in Yossi's attitude about where Jewish Music will or should be going.

13 comments:

Imanuel said...

Thanks for this review.
I feel the urge to comment a bit: you're giving the highest marks to the most conventional songs of MBD and Fried, but failing to find interest or enthusiasm into the big innovative ones like Sefor and Naseh Venishma.

Although Fried and MBD are like always doing their job perfectly, I should say they aren't fitting with the creativity which blow up this album. We already had a good Fried performance on Ben Kah. What the field needed was something new, fresh, by the most inventive man in jewish music. That's what Sefor, Lama, Al Tadin and Naseh manage to deliver IMHO.

I fully agree with you on Kanei which could have been a Fried song (the lyrics once was...). Also congratulate you for the many times you mentioned the vocal performance of YG (which is a big issue among the listeners).

I'm wondering if some more listening wouldn't change your opinion about Sefor?

Jewish Blogmeister said...

Imanuel,

Thanks for your comments. We can agree to disagree. Firstly I gave Al Todin good marks and I did enjoy the song very much. I agree on the creativity aspect with regard to fried and if you read my comments carefully you'll see that i noted that hesech hadas was not a great arrangement but a very good solid tune. I doubt I'll like sefor more as i mentioned there are just too many words that ruins the song and perhaps others will disagree but that's how it hit me after listening to this album many times.

Anonymous said...

I REALLY APPRECIATE YOU'RE REVIEW OF THIS CD, IT HAS REALLY GIVEN ME A GREAT AND UNBIASED FEEL OF WHAT THIS CD IS ABOUT. I HOPE TO KEEP SEEING MORE REVIEWS IN THE FUTURE.

Chaim said...

Imanual, I completely agree with you. JB, I'm still shocked you didn't like Sefor. I think it's my favorite song on the album. It's the most innovative for this genre of Jewish music. I love it. I've listened to Sefor more times then any other song. I really think after Sefirah when you pick this CD up again and listen with fresh ears you are going to change your mind about Sefor.

:-)

Anonymous said...

Two things. The Wedding song is a song that Dudu Fisher already sang, and it's a fun song.
And the backup to Ohad on Tav Hashmini is not AKA, it's Momy Levi, a guy worth checking out.

Jewish Blogmeister said...

Anon, are you refering to mi adir as the wedding song? No offense no one i know thinks that song make any sense and just because Dudu sang it doesn't make it great. I think it's bizzare.
Tav is arranged by Momy but I don't recall any vocal credits I'll recheck to make sure.

Imanuel said...

Speaking of Momy...
Haven't anyone noticed that most of the guys around the 8th note aren't "frum" - including some of the vocal performers ?
I'd say it's another good point for yossi green, who is doing kiruv in every possible way.

Jewish Blogmeister said...

Anon,

I checked page 39 clearly states vocals are AKA Pella you must have confused it with arrangements by momy levy

Anonymous said...

Layehudim is a great song but certainly not inovative.Anovim is a substandard Y.G slow song(if you judge compared to the classics like aderaba,Tanya ect.)sefor sounds awfully like a yisroel boruchuv song(anyone agree?)and how do you not compose a chazanus song for Helfgot,(this song is simply not suited for his voice)Y.G has composed some gorgeous chazanus(check out tihare on A. fried's chazak album)

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen the album cover, but the vocals are Momy Levy regardless of what is written. All you need to do is listen, and you too will know the truth. The ears don't lie. And the Mi Adir song. I didn't say that Dudu singing it makes it a nice song. Dudu sings plenty of stupid songs. I was just offering that information. And I'm not offended if you don't like Yossi Green songs.

Jewish Blogmeister said...

Anon,

I do like his songs but that doesn't mean I like them all. Lets not get carried away here...

YK said...

Hey JB

Nice review. I just thought Mi Adir wasn't bad at all, it's like a weird Jewish macarena. So good for dancing. From now on instead of Macarena, they'll be playing this in weddings.

You also get a lot of comments and diverse opinions about songs. That's a good sign I guess.

YK

Jewish Blogmeister said...

YK,

I agree diverse opinions are welcome. My opinion is only mine.