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 doesnât 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 couldnât record on Shabbat. He said âI 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 âI never aimed for the Jewish community. I aimed for a mainstream audience, because thatâs 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 doesnât have that âthis was mixed by a seventh grader 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 wonât sound like it was mixed on someoneâs 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 livingâ¦. From the Dailynews.com: With his bandâs 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 Iâm Fighting Forâ?), hip-hop (â?Jerusalemâ?) and Phil Collins-esque moral solitude (â?Late Night in Zionâ?)â¦.. You donât 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!