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Reb Matisyahu’s “YOUTH”

thast meCross posted from Jewlicious.com

Debate is more Jewish that bagels and knishes. It is the fountain that we drink from. So it is as no surprise that Jews disagree on the new Reb Matis album. Some are elated and some feel betrayed. Some agree with the flat-worlders in New York [some people were hurt by that, it is meant as a joke. They just think the world ends in Jersey. No really, folks, JK, please its a joke :-)] that feel that the Youth album should have sounded just like the last one. Some out here in the West understand that musicians can only grow and diversify their audience, by constantly reinventing their sound and being creative.

But we are talking about a young Chasidic Yid, with a brilliance and creativity unlike any Jewish musician in decades. Think Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, and not The Chevre. No offense meant to any Jewish musicians, a group I sometimes fall into. But Reb Matis is something far larger and universal.

So here is the Official West Coast Long Beach Jewish Campus Rabbi Review of the new album, that regardless of what we all think, is going to be the number one album in the country very soon. Yup, you heard it here. Youth will be number one, so it really doesn’t matter much what us heebs think. Reb Matis has put together, with the help of creative group of musicians and producers, one of the most listenable albums in years.

YOUTH! Is not a Jewish album in the way that Avraham Fried is Jewish. Matis said it himself, if one was listening at Jewlicious@TheBeach, during the Shabbat Afternoon Panel discussion, Jewish Music in the Age of Matisyahu. Allow me to paraphrase Reb Matis because we couldn’t record on Shabbat. He said “I make music. The Jewish themes are an extension of who I am, but my music is not Jewish music.â€? And in a recent interview he said “I never aimed for the Jewish community. I aimed for a mainstream audience, because that’s the world that I come out of.â€? He said it. Then everyone gets all their knickers in a twist that its not Jewish enough. Reb Matis has wanted to become a major superstar his whole life.

There are music purists out there that feel betrayed because it doesn’t have that “this was mixed by a seventh gra

der at Emerson Middle School sound.â€? It is very popular oriented. He brought in Ill Factor, a hit generator who knows how to bring some serious sound. He used a major producer, who has produced big movers and shakers of music. So of course, his album won’t sound like it was mixed on someone’s laptop. We all loved Shake of the Dust. That was cool. This is cool too, just in a different way.

I love the song Jerusalem. So catchy, so about what is right now the most contested city. Reb Matis, sing it brother, and sing it loud.! As for each other song, well, I will spare you my notes. Enough to say, it was worth the 14.99 I paid at Virgin Megastore in Orange. Well Well worth the money. And his fans in California love it. Now here are some more sophisticated reviews from people who actually do this for a living…. From the Dailynews.com: With his band’s third album, the Brooklyn-based singer revisits his bread-and-butter themes of spirituality, fidelity and the search for fulfillment with a clean, studio-produced sound. The disc certainly offers variety. There are moments of pure Bob Marley (â€?What I’m Fighting Forâ€?), hip-hop (â€?Jerusalemâ€?) and Phil Collins-esque moral solitude (â€?Late Night in Zionâ€?)….. You don’t come to Matisyahu for nuance, but in some ways he is a welcome relief from the oiled honeys and faux punk bands on MTV.
And read this great interview here!

Matisyahu Rocks Starbucks Moblog

Matisyahu rocks Letterman, rocks MTVu, rocks Madison Square Garden, and now rocks Starbucks. Recorded live from starbucks. (1 min 26 sec) CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
Published under Campus Rabbi Podcast.

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Happy Birthday Elvis, Friend of the Jews

I ain’t no saint, but I’ve tried never to do anything that would hurt my family or offend God…I figure all any kid needs is hope and the feeling he or she belongs. If I could do or say anything that would give some kid that feeling, I would believe I had contributed something to the world.
-Elvis commenting to a reporter, 1950’s.elvis

Today is Elvis Presley’s Birthday. Or it would have been if he were around to enjoy it and sing some favorites. Elvis grew up next door to traditional Jews in memphis, and I read an article by one of his Jewish neighbors about what a great kid he was, and that he would come over and help on Shabbos if there was something they couldn’t do.

There is lots of speculation that he had Jewish roots, but that is beyond my expertise. If anyone has any good links, lets post’em.

Read more

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Hanukkah Rocks Midrash

Here is my first part of a two part article about the album. I know that some of this may never have occurred to you guys, but really its all there.

Hanukkah Rocks Midrash
By Rabbi Yonah Bookstein

One of the most important commentaries on Jewish life in America is sadly flying under the radar. Even when recognized, it is usually misunderstood. I am speaking of course about the LeeVee’s Hanukkah Rocks Album.

The LeeVee’s not only have recorded an album with great melodies, rhythms, and lyrics, but they have authored a profound statement on the nature of being Jewish, Jewish values, nationhood, and Jewish philosophy.

Looking at Hanukkah Rocks from a rabbinical perspective, the issues, the topics, the mitzvahs literally leap off the page, it all screams darsheni “interpret me!â€? What follows is humbly called the Midrash of Hanukkah Rocks. Read more