Time for another review!
Aka Pella is one of those groups that I can’t seem to get enough of. Starting off with some fairly simple acapella music years back, they have now graduated to mind blowing realistic-sounding acapella music. In general I try to judge AKA Pella on 2 things : How professional their music mash-ups are, and how much I crack up while listening to their album. This new album “2012 The Year In Review” I was not disappointed. On the contrary this years album is even better than last years (in my humble opinion) and it kept me rolling throughout most of the album. Being that many readers don’t necessarily get some of the references made on these albums I will try to stick to the mainstream portion of their music on this album.
1.Yesh Tikva – As the album begins I already can barely believe that it is acapella. How C.D. Eichler and his crew have managed to hit this level of professionalism is beyond me. Shloimie Kaufman starts this track off with one of the biggest musical hits this year, Benny Friedmans, “Yesh Tikva“. This seems to be a big favorite of the acapella groups this year since Six13 also covered this song on their most recent album.
2.Cherry Bum Whistle – Typically an album might start with a fast song and then go immediately to slow. I like how they decided to pick something a bit more “poppy”. As you may have guessed by the title this track is covering one of the 8th Day hits of this past year.
3.Heyma – This track is one of my favorites of this album. Partly because I love the original track, and partly because every time they get to the song they mashed it up with, I laugh. I love how they were able to replicate the horns (especially the trombone) in this track.
4.Everything but the Kitchen sink – This track starts off with a very eerie choir singing the words of “Mi Yaaleh“. The song then (at :44) gets a bit more upbeat and then launches into Shloime Taussig‘s famous “Lashem Ha’aretz. The track then goes into Beri Weber’s “Tateh Helfen“. The track then revists Shloime Taussig with his recent hit “Hecher“. From there the track goes to 8th Day’s “To the Dance Floor Mazel Tov“. Then at 4:01 we get one of the real treats of the album. What would an AKA Pella album be without vocal appearances from the one and only Yitzy Spinner? Yitzy really knocks it out of the park, on deck is Shloimie Kaufman again singing Avraham Frieds “Hafachta“. When I first saw the title of this song I wasn’t sure what to expect, but they really stayed true to the title. This track is packed with more songs than any other on the album.
5.TGIF 3 – Following up to the TGIF medley II on last years album (AKA PElla V), is TGIF 3. This is their 3rd medley based around Shabbos songs and concepts. Just like on last years track they have a nice (original written) english section of the track.This track includes Benny Friedmans “Shalom Aleichem” off the Yesh Tikva Album.
6. Gummy Bear – This must be one of the most interesting tracks on the album. This song covers a popular theme song as well as Ohad and Micha Gamerman’s “Gila Rina”.
7.Cry No More – Although Yitzy Spinners voice is heard a number of times throughout this album, this is one of those tracks where he really shines. Covering the famous “Cry No More” from Yaakov Shwekey this track definitely does the original song justice while adding some of the AKA Pellas original “flavor”.
8.Halaila AKA “Night” Rider – This track as you may have guessed covers Amram Adar’s “Halaila” which was quite popular earlier this year.
9.Siman Tov – This song covers the “Siman Tov” you all know from Shauly Waldner.
10.Hang Up the Payphone – Yitzy Spinner does it again! This is another one of the real gems on the album. This song is a great parody of Lipa’s “Hang Up The Phone”. The lyrics to this song are really great. Yitzy‘s vocal really fit perfectly with this track (and he pulls the “Bluetooth” line really well).
11. Happy Chanuka (Style) – This is the track that was released by AKA Pella earlier this year. Even though I find myself wondering how many of the tracks were done without real music this track is really amazing.
12.Cutting Room Floor/Outtakes – You can only imagine that when coming up with an AKA Pella album there are many ideas that don’t make it to the album. CD Eichler (the producer behind AKA Pella) gives us a taste of “what could have been” with this track as well as some of the funny things that happened throughout the recording process of the album.
13.Gummy Bear 2.0 – This track is a wilder version of the Gummy Bear track (Track 6) on the album. On this track the AKA Pella crew decided to go all out and replicate the voices on the original theme song. Although with the helium-style voices it could have come out somewhat annoying it isn’t painful to listen to.
In conclusion I think that if you’re looking for something acapella (depending on what your Rav holds) and very original this is definitely the album for you to get. Besides for the great song mash-ups this album also features the vocals of talented singers Yitzy Spinner and Shloime Kaufman. Even if you don’t listen to something this “real-sounding” during Sefirah, you will want to buy this album to listen to throughout the year.