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Matisyahu, one of the most-talked about new artists of 2005 comes out with his brand new studio album Youth. The followup to his highly-acclaimed Live At Stubb's, features production by Bill Laswell, along with Jimmy Douglass and Ill Factor, and features 11 new songs including recent live favorites 'Fire of Heaven / Altar of Earth (Fire's Burning)', 'Jerusalem', 'Ancient Lullaby (Mist Risin')', and the title track, 'Youth'. Don't miss one of the most anticipated albums of 2006. Epic.
The thumbnail description of Matisyahu: File under Hasidic Beatbox Reggae. Despite having markings of novelty, it's really nothing of the sort. Fronted by a man named Matisyahu (born Matthew Miller), they are truly a band. Two independently released CDs brought them a rapid and well-deserved ascent, making their signing with a major label a logical step. Youth benefits from a more expansive sound and production by the fantastic Bill Laswell (Golden Palominos, Laurie Anderson, the Last Poets). Matisyahu's singing and the substance of his songs (spiritual living, self-awareness, the value of knowledge and learning, kindness to others) are presented with a loving sincerity, and buoyed by tremendous musicianship. In particular, drummer Jonah David and guitarist Aaron Dugan bring a wider set of influences and interests to their playing than the reggae tag the band often gets. Free of any proselytizing, this melding of Talmudic teachings and Jamaican rhythms flows so naturally that it underscores the shared roots of the two cultures. --David Greenberger
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This is one of the very best CD's of 2006, if not the best. All of the tracks are perfectly melded together to form one amazing masterpiece that is YOUTH!
Some of my favorite track on the CD are:
* Youth - This is the title-track, and rightfully so. Matisyahu uses all of his vocal capabilities on this song. It is a fast, and impulsive song.
* Jerusalem - This is a little slower than "Youth" but it's still an awesome song. I love how it starts. The background music and lyrics are amazing.
* WP - This is perhaps my favorite song on the entire CD. Because it is pure poetry, and all the words are so powerful. This song mixes both rap, and reggae. I love especially enjoyed the lyrics at the end; very beautiful.
It is unfortunate that Matisyahu isn't getting the exposure he deserves because he doesn't pander to the lowest common denominator (like most pop stars do.) But, perhaps that's better than being a sell-out?
Just because he's a Jew that sings raggae doesn't mean that you won't enjoy his music. Listen to some of the lyrics with an open ear and an open mind and you will find that Matisyahu transcends cultural (and musical) barriers.
1. Fire of Heaven/Altar of Earth: Great opening to the album, a nice introduction to his new sound. 8/10
2. Youth: The title track of his album. It is a great song with a great chorus, and one of the best on the album. 9/10
3. Time of Your Song: I love this song. It is one of my favorites on this album. The chorus is very strong, and the beat and instrumentals are wonderful. 10/10
4. Dispatch the Troops: This song is good, and it has all the elements of a good Matisyahu song. 8/10
5. Indestructible: I really enjoy this song, it has so much soul to it, definitely recommended.
6. What I'm Fighting For: A short acoustic song that really encapsulates the soul of what Matisyahu is trying to get across in his songs. 9/10
7. Jerusalem: This song is great on all levels. It is catchy, soulful, and a song you can truly dance to. This is the best song on the album IMO. 10/10
8. WP: I guess this is a song about Matisyahu's roots, when he was younger, and it is totally enjoyable, not to mention showing how he came to be interested in music with one of his childhood friends. 9/10
9. Shalom/Saalam: I'll be honest, this one I don't listen to much. It is an instrumental, and I'm not quite sure what it means, being a non-Jew. 7/10
10. Late Night in Zion: Another one of my favorites. It is a great song about a man is just a man filled with faults and weakness. Sounds incredible. 10/10
11. Unique is My Dove: About his wife, a nice pleasant song about how his wife is the other half of his soul. 9/10
12. Ancient Lullaby: I'll be honest. I never liked this song until I heard a different version of it on Live at Stubb's 2. It's a little light, and I would recommend Mist Rising as a better version on the live album. 7/10
13. King Without a Crown: This version of this song sounds more like the live version, which makes it more rock-sounding than the original. I think it is better like this, but nothing compares to that live one. Still, excellent version. 9/10
Well, that's it for me. I recommend that this album is definitely worth buying, because it is a great album with songs that almost anyone would like. Very spiritual, and very catchy.
Overall, the CD is good, but the sound departs from Matis' earlier work. If you liked 'Refuge' on Live at Stubbs,' or 'Shake off the dust ... Arise,' you will really like this album. If you thought he was a bit too reggae before, but liked his music nonetheless, you will really like this album. This album is a bit more rock, but generally slower. You will still find some beat-box, some double-time rhymes, and some jump-up-in-the-air music, but it is not 'King Without a Crown' remixed into 12 new songs.
I've always like Matis' music and I still do. I always thought it was because I am Jewish, but once I pulled out my old 311, Sublime and Bob Marley albums, I realized why I like Matisyahu. He combines those sounds with a positive message. If you are not familiar with Judaism, some of the lyrics will be lost on you, but the same could be said of a lot of secular Jews. Admittedly, in order for me to get all the lyrics I had to get out my Hebrew Bible and Google a few things ... the bottom line is that even if you are secular, you probably won't object too much to Matisyahu's message. His most religious messages should be easier for the most secular listener to tolerate than the misogyny one can hear in similar sounding music.
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