This is the first of a three part review of the 8th Note album. Part One will be overall thoughts and discussion on the album. Part Two will be songs 1-7 Part Three will be songs 8-14.
The hype surrounding Yossi Green’s 8th Note CD has been huge. People have been talking about this album literally for years. Yossi Green and Yossi Tyberg have been working either together or separately on a variety of interesting projects. Here is a short list of whats come from them over the last few years. Ohad 1 and Ohad 2, Shimon Craimer, MBD’s Efshar Letaken and of course, Shloime Gertner. Not to mention the tons of albums Yossi Green has composed songs for that came out over the last 5 years. (Also worth a mention is the soon to be released Yeedle album.)
Nothing in that list comes even close to The 8th Note. It’s almost as if they were saving their top quality material for this album. There were many bright spots in the previously mentioned albums, I’d even go as far as saying that Shloime Gertner’s CD was a practice run for 8th Note.
I think that the people who don’t like it are more or less coming from the same place. They are looking for quick fixes. This CD isn’t the typical commercial fluff. It’s not meant for people who want “something to listen to” in the car. Maybe you are one of those people that just gets a CD because everyone else is getting it. If you are just looking for background music, or the next wedding hora, don’t even bother, you won’t appreciate it.
I get it, I do, and I can be like that myself. Sometimes you just want a burger with some fries. You can’t eat steak every day. But this CD is like a gift to all the genuine Jewish music lovers. This is for all those cynics and kvetchers (myself included!) who complain about every typical Jewish CD with 10 songs, 2 of them hits, 5 fillers and 3 bombs.
This is the $250 Prime Grill dinner you go out with your wife on once a year. This is like going to the Opera, not renting a DVD and watching it on the couch. This is staying at The Waldorf Astoria, not the airport Holiday Inn. (Did I make my point, or do I need more examples?)
I had an interesting discussion with someone the other day, which was then mimicked by a comment in the comment section. The gist of it was that The 8th Note sounded almost Goyish, yet it doesn’t. It SOUNDS goyish, but it isn’t. Just take a look at the lyrics, the meanings, the Kavanah, and the PEOPLE singing these songs.
This is anything but Goyish. It covers various topics like Ahavas Yisroel, judging your fellow man, or as the lyrics explain, admitting you couldn’t judge them even if you wanted to. Lyrics about the times of Moshiach, people learning Torah throughout a persons life span, from Cheder to Kollel.
This album hits on every aspect of Jewish life. Yet, it sounds goyish? Why is that? What is that? Then it hit me, this is like eating a 4 star meal and saying “It tastes so good, it must be treif!”, same thing. Why do we say that? Because sometimes we’re just not use to high quality. They don’t cook like that at your local Kosher burger and fries shack.
The frum community has accepted below average quality. Anything from horrible Kosher Potato chips (Paskez) to Jewish Music produced to just barely meet the standards of the community. Too many albums are just “checklist” albums. Rock song? Check. Hora? Check. English song? Check. Ballad? Check.
When you are so used to sub par quality you start accepting it as the best, because you don’t know better. Then we glance over to the Goyim and we think what THEY have is only good because it’s forbidden.
Goyish Music doesn’t sound like that because it’s goyish. That’s absurd, it sounds like that because the people who produce that music sleep, eat, breathe and live what they love. They love music with every fiber of their being and that drives them to create the best. Of course it helps that Sony, Epic or Warner Records gives them hundreds of thousands of dollars to do whatever they want with in the recording studio.
It sounds like that because they aim to make it sound as good as possible. They are given the money to accomplish that goal, and it produces, well, good quality music. They do it to produce good music. Not to just meet the wedding standard. They don’t make it so it’s good enough, they make it to sound great.
Enough rambling, at this point either you feel me or you don’t. If you are looking for the next song that they will sing at your cousin Shloimy’s Chassena at Ateres Avraham, then this album isn’t for you.
This album is meant for people who love music on a personal intimate level. This album is meant for people who will go over this album for months, listen to every song 1000 times. The people who pay extra money for the good speakers or headphones. It’s meant for people who will crank up the dial and just appreciate the genuine quality of this CD.