I’ve had this CD since it first came out. I took this long to get around to writing the review because when I was listening to it, each time I heard it, I liked it more. At first when I played this CD only a couple songs really appealed to me. but after listening to it a few times I was appreciating more and more of the songs. So I made a decision not to write the review until I felt that I had a good handle on the album.
Kal Zman is the first song on this CD and it’s one of those songs that at first I really disliked. I still can’t pinpoint why I didn’t like it at first, but it has grown on me and my opinion of the song has changed. I really like the music on this song, it shows a lot of energy, but I feel that the song is very typical for this genre and not good enough for Ohad’s amazing vocal range. (A theme you will see recur throughout this review)
Gedolah Shira has a hip hop beat thing going on mixed with an Oif Simchas feel. It’s a different song then we are used to from Ohad. I really like it and I love the musical arrangements on this song in particular. I could have done without the Yossi Green background choir though. The song is composed by Yossi Green and I love that we are seeing a bit of different style emerging from Yossi (more on that later.) It’s a song that every time I hear I like more and more.
The next song is Chavivin Yisroel, and it is the 3rd fast song on the album in a row. I really like that they moved away from the fast/slow/fast/slow predictable flow of most JM albums. It’s great to start out an album with three fast energetic songs. That could be one of the things that was throwing me off at first, because the flow is so different. As far as the actual song, Ohad has some real nice high parts and the music is very good, but we’re seeing the same problem. We’re being served caviar on paper plates. If you take my (maybe too repetitive) complaint, this is a very good song, it’s very catchy and you can sing along from the start.
Like Chavivin Yisroel this next song, Eitz Chayim was composed by Ohad. Unlike the previous song, this one was done without the assistance of Moshe Laufer. Eitz Chayim is one of two songs on this album that Ohad composed on his own. Eitz Chayim is a beautiful slow song that just touches on the surface of what Ohad can do as a singer. I don’t have much else to say other then that.
Shalom Aleichem is another fast song and it’s composed by Yossi Green. Yossi has been putting out some great stuff latetly, and as quick as I am to criticize, I want to stress here that I have really liked some of the new songs Yossi Green has composed. Songs like, Baishanim, Gedolah Shira, this song, as well as the new song from Shloime Gertner, Im Ein Ani Li, which has been playing on ShmaisRadio for the last two weeks.
Shalom Aleichem is absolutely one of those songs that I didn’t connect with at first. It did have a familiar feel to it and I don’t know if it’s because the lyrics of Shalom Aleichem is hard song to write for or because I heard Ohad sing this song in concert twice already and the CD version is much better. This was one of the songs that at first I didn’t like, but now it’s one of my favorites on the album.
Odcho is flat out an 80’s power balled song, and you know what? I don’t mind it one bit, because it’s done so well. This is another song composed by Yossi Green. The arrangements are done by Ron Tichon, which is something you can tell right away. I really like the entire feel of this song. I think this is one of the first songs on this CD that really compliments Ohad’s voice, except that maybe the music is too powerful at times. This is one of my favorite songs on the CD.
Vayichan Sham is another fast song and it has a nice middle eastern groove to it. This is one of the songs that I couldn’t put my finger on, but something felt off. It still isn’t one of my favorite songs, and I don’t like the arrangements on this song either. It feels a bit flat to me, but this is the other song that is composed by Ohad and it ties into another theme that is recurring on this album. That is a shift towards a more Sepharidc style overall.
Ekraecha is a slow song composed by Pinky Webber. It’s another knock out song and it grabbed me from the start. I didn’t have to get used to this song and I don’t have anything critical to say about it. Ohad sings it with a lot of feeling and his voice really sounds magnificent through the song. It’s another one of my favorites on the album.
Stop is a horrible song. There I said it. I’m sorry. This song has some major identity issues. It doesn’t know what it is. Unlike Odcho which is a great 80’s power balled song, this is a very bad clone of one of those 80’s candy pop songs. It reminds me of that Robin Sparkles song that they made fun on on H.I.M.Y.M (watch it here)
If there is one saving grace for this song it’s that Ohad’s actual voice (NOT the lyrics or his accent) sounds great in this song. The arrangements are very well done and there is a great flow. But Ohad should not be the one singing this song. He sounds like he is breaking his teeth with the English and the lyrics are just awful. “I once heard the wise man say just Stop! Don’t think about it, Cause tomorrow is a brand new day” We are talking about the most cheesy, typical, summer camp lyrics here.
At other times because of Ohad’s accent and how obviously hard he is trying NOT to break his teeth on these words, the lyrics even come off creepy “I sometimes stop and listen to the children when they play and enjoy the sound of laughter and the funny things they say” It’s a bad bad song, I’m sorry. I wouldn’t trash the album over it, and in fact overall I’, a big fan of the album. I just wish this song hadn’t been on the CD. Someone was sleeping on the job that day.
Ok, now that I told you what my worst song on the album was, let me tell you about my favorite song on the album. The final song on this CD, Neshomele, is one of the best songs that I’ve heard Ohad sing to date. As awful as he came off breaking his teeth on those English lyrics, he sounds exactly like you would expect someone with his amazing talents to sound. This is Ohad at his best and the fact that the song is a Hebrew song makes all the difference.
This is an excellent song. The words stream out of his mouth with such grace – every word sounds beautiful. From the first time I heard this song I knew it would be my favorite song on the CD. It has a similar sound to like Pia Pascha, the one Ohad sings from Yishai Lapidot, and at first I assumed Yishai composed this song, but according the booklet, it’s another job well done by Yossi Green. Although the lyrics were done by Yishai, so I was half right. The arrangements were done by Yuval Stupel. I can’t say enough great things about this song. It’s a great slow song, with beautiful lyrics and Ohad reaches some seriously impressive vocal highs.
I think this is a really quality album, the music is very energetic and Ohad sounds great. But like I keep saying, Ohad is a vocal phenomenon and this guy needs better stuff. Yes, the songs on this CD are better then the first CD, so they are getting there. But he needs something more, something newer, something courageously different, something spectacular.
I think the reason it took me a few weeks to really enjoy the album was because I was learning to settle for the fact that even though these are great songs, it’s still not doing it for the talent that Ohad brings to the table. After you get past that, then you start to really enjoy the album. I really like that there was a shift towards a more middle eastern style. I wonder if for Ohad to really get songs tailor made for him he needs more Israeli style songs. More Chaim Yisroel, Gad Elbaz, Yishai Lapidot type material. Until that happens, this CD will do just fine for now. It’s a great CD and I recommend giving it a try.