Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Rock Moshiach

Artist’s web site: Shlock Rock.com

Album can be previewed/purchased Here

Reviewer: Gedaliah

Another of my recent purchases that has not been reviewed here yet is Lenny Solomon's brand new CD, Rock Mashiach. I've learnt a lot about Lenny from the interview in the FTR archives. i think he's a very musically sincere person. All of his songs have a story behind them, and he really works hard on his compositions and lyrics. Since Shlock Rock started in 1986, he has produced many albums, mostly containing English songs (with some Hebrew as well), but this new CD, Rock mashiach contains only Hebrew songs. This is the first album I have heard from him, and i'm quite impressed. I might buy one of his old albums if they're on sale. This album features a multitude of differnt music styles, and most of the songs are quite catchy. The music is arranged by Jeff horvich, who, in my opinion,did a very good job to meet the standard of Shlock Rock and to attract a suitable listening market. Another interesting feature is the dual usage of both Havoras Ashkenazis and Havarat Sefardit. It sort of tells us that Lenny is a very versatile bloke.

A brief note about the cover: The clock obviously represents "b'itah Achishenah, and it's also interesting to note that the graphic of the Beis Hamikdosh is the same one used by Lev Tahor in the picture for Horachamon...

Here are analyses on the 13 selections:

1. Yoshev. A catchy tune with a nice, comfortable beat. This is not my favourite song, but it breaks the trend by not starting with the hit. The tidiyoyyoy's get a little repetitive, but it's tolerable. Very nice music arrangements, particularly the horns and piano. 8

2. S'u Marom. One of my favourite songs. I had a lot of trouble trying to classify this one, so I turned to my mother for help. She said that it seemed to be influenced by Simon and Garfunkel. It sounds a little latin to me. The tune is very catchy, plus the words are not popularly used. The harmonies and nanana's give it a slightly humourous touch. The interlude in the middle contains "honky-tonk" piano (please correct me if I'm wrong about the terminology) and some very nice flute. Once again Jeff scores with music (pun intended). Altogether a 9.5, it's quite a unique tune.

3. B'itah Achishenah. This is described on the cover as "the Hit Song" and i have to say that I agree. This, IMHO, is what a Jewish rock song is supposed to sound like. It's got the typical horn intro, but the entire song ahs power, and an important message from Yeshaya Hanavi. Great guitar, piano and drums. An instant hit. This song is the title of the original Israeli version of tihs album (As per the FTR interview, Sameach music thought the title "rock Mashiach" would sell better in the US). My favourite part of the song is "Zochu Achishenah" which is always sung in harmony. There's really nothing to complain about this song. 10.

4. Yechadsheihu. With all due respect, this song is rather boring. It sounds more like a chant than a song, and it just has no flavour to it. The "tune" would work great for Nusach, but I think this album was made for music, not for Nusach. Not much else to comment, it's my least favourite selection on the album. 5.

5-6. Vachai Bahem. The first part of this song, track 5, is a slow rendition of the posuk Ushmartem et Chukotai etc.. After 40 seconds, the track changes to fast music, a mixture of calypso and middle Eastern. Very lively. This part of the song contains 3 pesukim: Ach Asher Ye'achel, Hanistarot and Ki Karov elecha. The theme of the song seems to be that we have to live by the mitzvos, it is very easy to fulfil them, and Hashem has His reasons for commanding the mitzvos. Although I don't know why Lenny used a posuk about cooking on yom tov to demonstrate that... I think the reason Lenny decided to make this into 2 songs is so he could do the slow intro without people skipping it and not realising that it develops into a faster song. this gets a total of 9. It's a really good song.

7. Bo'ee B'shalom. Another uninteresting slow song. This one is better than Yechadshehu, sicne it actually has a tune you can sing yourself. The song is ok, but Lenny seems to be scoring more on his faster songs. This sounds like your typical Israeli "chassidic" music. 6.

8. Rock Mashiach. This is my favourite selection on the album. The tune is very catchy, the Ivrit lyrics IMO were very well written, and i think that the song conveys an important message. I heard on the FTR interview that the election campaign signs in Israel inspired Lenny to write this song. The signs would say things like Rak Barak or Rak Sharon etc. But Lenny said that although these are great people, they aren't helping to bring Moshiach or spiritual peace in E"Y (political statement). So he decided to tell the world that "Rak Mashiach Yavi Shalom" Only Mashiach can bring peace. As I said before, great tune, great music, great lyrics, great message. It's really interesting to hear songs that have a story behind them, as opposed to someone just opening a Tehillim and putting whatever words they can find to a tune. This hit gets a 10. (I really like the song if you haven't noticed)

9. T'ka B'shofar. My favourite "slower" selection. This is a nice soft rock tune, very catchy, and great drums. i'm a big fan of soft rock songs. this sounds a lot like a Shlock-Rock style song only with standard words from Shmoneh Esrei. 8.5

10. Achas Shoalti. Another soft rock/jazz tune. In this case I like the music better than the tune and singing. the style is a bit like "Shades of Mellow Jazz" from Shades of Green." this is a song that mindy would refer to as a "filler" song. 7.

11. Chag Ha-Succot. A nice tune with a rock beat celebrating Succot! This song follows a similar pattern as Vachai Bahem, using three pesukim from the Torah. In this case the pesukim are "Chag Hasukkot ta'aseh l'cha", "Shivat yamim tachog", and "Basukkot Teishvu". The tune is ok, but the word phrasing could ahve been done a little better. 7.5

12. Elokai. A very nice jazz tune to these popular and important words. It appears that Lenny wrote this song l'illui nishmas one of his relatives, and the song is quite appropriate, talking about the purity of the neshama. Very nice beat; a very nice selection. Towards the end of the song there's some cool keyboard which reminded me of the easy-listening music (and Pardes!). 8.5

13. Tzidkatcha. I still fail to see the point of this song. It is IMO a feeble attempt at reggae/calypso and a weak finish to the album. However, I have noticed that often Lenny puts a "light, un-serious" song on his Shlock Rock albums. I think those are better in English than with a possuk from Tanach. The vocal arrangements are slightly humourous, but it is sort of a letdown at the end of the album. 5.5

To say the least, Rock Moshiach is quite enjoyable. It's got musical diversity, important messages, and a bit of humour and "light" music as well. It's been a while since Lenny Solomon released an all-Hebrew album, and the result is quite pleasing. To reiterate, Lenny Solomon is very muiscally talented, and this albums demonstrates his versatility in all areas of Jewish Music.

Total rating of album based on individual song marks is 94.5/120 or 78.75%.


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