Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Netzor (Boruch Aboud)

Album can be previewed/purchased at Mostly Music.com

Reviewer: Mindy

From the minute I heard the third track of Baruch Aboud’s new album “Netzor”, Ani Maamin, I fell in love with it. The more I heard of it the more I liked it, but I am dry financially now and knew I wouldn’t have the opportunity to buy the cd until after sefirah. Now that the producer Sruly Nachfolger has so kindly sent me one in the mail, I am more than glad to listen to it and review it. And no, I am *not* prejudiced because it’s a free cd; I truly, truly like it. (I mean, I ASKED for the cd, it was not offered to me.) Baruch Aboud has been called “the new Shwekey”… well here’s the deal. He has a ton of potential. He sounds a lot like Shwekey, although I think his voice can use some honing and fine tuning to make him sound more professional. He has a certain innocence and sweetness in that high, thin, reedy voice, although I find that he screeches sometimes. He has a pretty high range. I think this is a woefully underrated album, but since Aboud hasn’t really done any concert or radio appearances, he is so far only a pretty voice in a debut album. Time will tell whether he will make it big in the Jewish Music scene. So far he is a yeshiva student in his early twenties, so I don’t know what his future plans are. Even more than his voice, I love the songs on the tape. Some of the best songs have not even gotten airplay yet. This CD had a lot of suprises in store, as the ones that were expected to become hits did not, and songs like Ani Maamin which wasn’t even profiled in the magazines became very popular. In my opinion some of the songs here are even better than Shwekey’s songs, but then again, who am I to state opinions. The choir consists of Sruly Nachfolger, Avrohom Fried (huh?) and Akiva Shepard. But I can swear I hear Baruch in it as well. In any event, I will briefly go through them to tell you what’s in store on this cd:

1. Asher Bara
I love the intro music. It’s so… I don’t have the words for it. Maybe sci-fi, hi tech, whatever. The electric guitar shtick and percussion make it sound like an arcade game. I love it. In any event, Asher Bara is an excellent first song. It’s composed by Mordechai Dresdner. The only guy I know with that name is a Chasidishe person who lives in Antwerp, but I have no idea if that’s him or not. This is a classic wedding-style lebedigeh song.

2. Netzor
This song hasn’t gotten much airplay in my opinion. It was composed by Mordechai Aboud, who I guess is related to Baruch. When it starts off you might thing it’s another one of those tuneless slow ballads, but I love the high part. He sings it with a lot of gefeel. It’s not your typical lyrics; it’s part of “Elokai Netzor” from Shemonei Esra, with the Elokai not in there, which leaves you wondering where the words are from. I find it shticky. At the 4:30 mark, Baruch goes up an octave (Shwekey style, eh?) and he hits some pretty high notes right there. The song is 7:38 minutes long, but you don’t really notice it because it’s a beautiful song, and the melody is very pleasant.

3. Ani Maamin
I fell in love with this song the very first time I heard it, and I can’t stop tapping my toes since. The composer is Yosef Chaim Bloch – this is a name I’ve heard before. I find this song to be very original in two ways. Firstly, the choice of words. All the Ani Maamins I’ve heard before are usually the 12th Ani Maamin. Here, it’s the 2nd one, for a change. And the tune. What a refreshing tune! It’s a real ear-pleaser and toe-tapper, and full of original twists. The second part is just cute. Enough nah-nah-nahs -- time to bring back the ah-ah-ahs! I find myself singing the song all the time. It’s my #1 favorite song on the album, and my reason for wanting to get the album in the first place : ). It’s the unexpected hit of the tape; Nachum Segal plays it a lot. If I was rating songs on the cd, I’d rate this one a 10.

4. Hamaloch HaGoel
Composed by Moishy Rotberg, child soloist Naftali Abikhzer (another Ashkenazi-Sfardi hybrid? Lol). This is a really nice song. It’s not your typical tune, and it’s a very moving one. This has gotten a lot of airplay and it’s a beautiful song. I like it a lot. It doesn’t drag on for too long – just over 5 minutes.

5. Yodai
Composed by Yosef Chaim Bloch. Now this one is an interesting track. I heard it exactly once on the radio and liked it immediately. It’s the closest you will get to a sfardi-style song on the album. The musical intro is middle-eastern, and it’s very cool. The words – I’ve never heard it before, it sounds Aramaic. It’s the tefillah on Mayim Acharonim, and I have never seen it anywhere, nor can I even repeat it! The tune may not be that original, but the arrangements and the passuk are so good that it makes for a wholesome great tune, and the aha-aha’s add a lot to it. It’s my 2nd favorite on the album.

6. Gedolah by Eli Laufer
This is the most “typical” song on the album, yet I like it a lot, takka bcz of it’s innocence and simplicity. The words are “Gedolah torah Shehi Nosenes Chaim L’oseyho b’olam haba u’v’olam hazeh.” Original words, nice lebedigeh tune, something you would pick off of a Camp Shalva or any other chasidishe album. It’s sweet, uncomplicated, and a song that I think needs more airplay. I haven’t heard it on the radio anywhere.

7. Hinei Onochi
Composed by R’ Akiva Homnick. For the first second you seriously think this is Shaleim’s Hinei Anochi, but then it takes a completely different turn. Naftoli Abikhzer is on this song as well, and I think he sounds even better than on Hinei Onochi. It’s a slow song, but less than five minutes long. It’s a very nice song.

8. Od Yenuvun
Composed by Eli Laufer. Another lebedig song. The intro makes you think you’re about to hear MBD’s Rashi’s niggun. I like this song a lot. It’s very different, a fast-style very yeshivishe kind of song. It also leaves me wondering why this song hasn’t been aired yet, when it’s such a good one. Go figure. It’s less than 4 minutes long, and features some great choir work and makes full use of Baruch’s high range. Great song.

9. Aishes Chayil
Composed by Moishy Rotberg. Very nice Aishes Chayil song. In the clichés of today’s singers, I’m sure that Baruch will sing this at his own wedding. Lol. (No, he’s not engaged yet.) A rather typical tune, but nothing bad about it. The song is over 6 minutes long, and features some nice choir work and harmonies.

10. Od Yishoma
The composer is Ari Bauman. Hmm – is this the “Purim Fever” Bauman, or someone else? Usually, the last song on an album is a “filler” song, just to end the album off. In this case, however, the song is a really good one. I feel that this song should’ve been featured earlier in the tape, since it’s NOT a “track 10” type song. It’s a perfect ending to an excellent album. It ends “Mazel Tov!” Very cute. So this album has THREE wedding songs. Interesting!

Anyway, that’s the lowdown on Baruch Aboud. I am surprised myself that I like it so much. But I guess good songs + good voice = good album. Time will tell how big a star he will become; if he does make it big, we can all say “Mindy predicted it!” LOL.

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