I am not one to listen to much Jewish music, there are several reasons, the most important being that almost all Jewish music sucks. It either sounds like a full horn section with beats right out of a Debbie Gibson song, or they have to make it sound like techno. Add to this factor that I am not into the downloading scene- I take from my buddies 500 gig hard drive and that it is nearly impossible to find that Marvelous Middos Machine album at your local independent record store and even John Cussack in High Fidelity wouldn’t have known what you were talking about- I rarely get to listen to Jewish music.
Two weeks ago the fine folks from Sameach Music who are big fans of my videos and blog contacted me and asked me to do some CD reviews. I hesitated, for wouldn’t it be selling out if I hated the CD’s but felt inclined to hook them up for basically sending me three free CD’s and we all know how cost prohibitive Jewish CD’s are. I was trying to recall the last time I had gotten a brand new in the package CD. I debated whether it was Offsrping’s Smash album in 1994 or Use Your Illusions One in the same year.
Out of the three CD’s I got, I figured it wouldn’t be right to review real music CD’s until after Lag Baomer on Thursday night. I also wanted to listen to the only one of the three I had heard everyone talking about. All I hear about is AKA- Pella which brings to mind three men in flat straw hats, plaid pants and walking sticks singing Tommy Dorsey songs to ladies walking in the park. Well I was absolutely shocked at what these fine folks who have cleverly called themselves AKA-Pella have done to the fine art of accapella.
On the back of the CD in place of the parental warning explicit lyrics there is a Jewish warning (no women were used in the production of this CD) nah I’m joking- it says “no musical instruments were used in the production of this album” Upon putting the disk into my stereo at work- I read this statement at least three times- kind of like when you read your acceptance letter to college and can’t believe it, this is how I felt as I was listening to obvious instruments, I mean there was percussion and guitar and everything that goes along with remaking Bon Jovis- Its my Life into a song named Etz Chaim- the first song on the CD, I liked it- but I thought about my ghetto heter idea and this seemed to be encroaching on the ghetto heter territory.
Then a rather obscure song which I absolutely love came on and it took me a full 3 minutes of singing in English to realize I wasn’t listening to the Moody Blues and it wasn’t Nights in White Satin but a beautiful Hebrew rendition. Then I laughed hysterically as this 80s metal ballad from White Lion- how did they find these tracks- came on in this choir backed song. It was very good, but it was very funny- and I assume as of this writing they have met a similar demise to that of our friend Lipa Shmeltzer- they must have been banned and put in cherem multiple times. Yet I keep hearing about them from the black hat crowd- considering most of my friends would rather be caught listening to Hanson then Jewish music.
I like it- I’m not going to lie- I wouldn’t turn it up and show off, like those times I feel the need to blast Wu Tang, but it is an enjoyable album- and I felt so Godly because it is “supposedly” legal for the omer. I would love if someone could tell me exactly how they produced this album without the aid of instruments? I read articles about the voice usage and such, but what exactly is an instrument? Can one bang on a garbage pale and use that as a heter for drums?
If you want me to write about one of your products you can be smart and send me some free stuff, have me over for a meal or pay for advertising on this site. Sameach Music happens to be a great site with some good deals or at least the whole crossing out the old price makes it “seem” like a good deal- like when you shop at Syms. Check out the AKA Pella website– where the song upon entering is Everybody by the Backstreet Boys- yes I have this album and play it proudly.