Time for another review! This time I’ll be reviewing Ari Goldwag’s latest solo album “Am Echad”. Although I typically go into a whole preface to my review I think I might skip it this time and just dive right in. Here goes!
1. Am Echad – Starting off the album is the title track “Am Echad” written by Ari Goldwag and Miriam Israeli. In what seems to be Ari’s lyrical follow-up to the famed “Yesh Tikva” Ari really does a great job! Featuring a great arrangement by Ian Freitor (The same arranger as Yesh Tikva). This song is all about how The Jewish people are all one nation regardless of how we may look or speak. This song has a great message and I think it fits perfectly with the original artwork on the CD cover.
2.Hashem Tamid Itcha – From the start I love the funky feel of this track and the synthesizers throughout the song. This song goes through the concept that no matter what happens if we really open our eyes and ears we’ll see that Hashem is always there
3.Min Hameitzar- Finally the collaboration track with Benny Friedman we have all been waiting for! Benny starts off this track and is followed by Ari. During the 2nd time around their voices really sound great together.
4.Rak Hu – This track was originally released as a single off the album before its release. The style of this track is something you typically don’t hear from Ari Goldwag, but I like the diversity in the album so far. Rak Hu expounds on how there is no one to turn to in any situation other than Hashem. This is the 4th track on the album and the 3rd track with more of a message being transmitted to the listener rather than just a Pasuk being put to a nice melody. I applaud Ari’s choice to do this since I believe it is very important nowadays is Jewish Music.
5.Say The Words – When I heard there was a new Ari Goldwag CD in the works, I was excited to hear what new English tracks would be on it after hearing such great songs such as “Flippin in”, “Shallow Waters”, and “We All Want To Believe”. This track definitely continues in the Goldwag-English-Track Legacy. “Say The Words” is about expressing your love for Hashem. As I mentioned earlier, Ari is really going strong with songs that have a meaning. You can really feel that Ari means what he sings and the power he gives to all of these songs attests to that.
6.Nodeh – After hearing the preview this was another song I was excited about. This track features Ari’s son Moshe Dov Goldwag who seems to be quite musical himself as we see from his debut in Ari’s “Aleinu” as well as Sheves Chaverim. This track has more of a Middle Eastern feel to it.
7.Menucha – After Ari’s success with his “Kah Ribon”, it looks like Ari has done it again by bringing us another Shabbos Zemer that can be easily sung by anyone looking to add something new to their “after the cholent” zemiros setlist. I think that keeping in the theme of this song being fairly easy to sing so that it can be picked up and sang at any Shabbos table are the simple but beautiful arrangements. This song seems to have been arranged so that you would not be distracted from the melody of the song itself.
8.Gam Ki Elech – Although the lyrics to this track are ones we have heard before used in other compositions, Ari gives us a very new musical new feel for these words. Even though these words can be taken as depressing since it depicts someone in a rough situation, I appreciate that Ari has taken them in another direction focusing on the happy aspect of knowing that regardless of what situation we may find ourselves in we don’t have a reason to be afraid since we are never fully alone. I am a big fan of this style as well.
9.Yosef – Another English song on the album “Yosef” tells us one of the greatest stories of man’s triumph in the Torah. I’ve said many times (I may have even in some of my other reviews) that I think Jewish Music is starting to lean more towards English-lyric songs since many people who may find the typical Hebrew songs pleasant to listen to, don’t actually understand what they mean and therefore a nice portion of the song is lost on them. English songs as meaningful as the ones on this album show that there can be powerful English songs that the general public can understand and even connect to.
10.Min Haolam – This song features Shimon and Moshe Bell of Sheves Achim as well as Elisha Willig, Moshe Dov Goldwag, and Baruch Sheff of Sheves Chaverim. Personally the track sounds like the original Sheves Achim album, but I was a big fan of that album so I have no problem with that. So far we’re 10 songs into this album and I still love every song that plays (This is definitely a good sign).
11.Change – This song focuses on how in order for us to change in better people than we might already be we need to look at ourselves in a very non-judgmental way although we are used to viewing the world and those around us at time very judgmentally. This is a very inspirational track.
12.I’m imperfect – As Ari writes in the CD booklet “This song does not contain the opposite message of the previous (track). It is the lighter side of the same coin. I have to be careful as I strive for greatness – not to take myself too seriously!”. This song definitely brings out that message in a very humorous way.
13.Hashem Is Always There- This is a bonus track on the album. It’s the same track as #2 “Hashem Tamid Itcha” but in English for those who may not understand the Hebrew lyrics .
All in all I am a big fan of this album. I do think that Ari keeps getting better and better as time goes on and I’m already looking forward to the next album! I think the general public will appreciate all of the English songs on this album as well as the English translations to each Hebrew song within the CD booklet. I would definitely recommend this album!