I think I am about to make Jewish music history but not reviewing an album, but reviewing the album’s accompanying booklet.
I know, it sounds bizarre. But only if you haven’t seen the AKA V booklet. At twenty four pages long, I think it certainly warrants some attention of its own.
CD Eichler and the boys have outdone themselves putting together a treasure trove of pictures, tidbits and factoids that are like an all you can eat buffet for diehard AKA Pella fans. From the eye catching cover by Toby Fishman to Esti Kiss’ art direction that is evident throughout the liner, this is one sharp looking booklet. But for me, it is all about the actual content and in a sense, since I got my hands on the booklet before I was actually able to listen to the album because of sefira, it was almost like a scavenger hunt, reading up on all the songs and trying to figure out the pairings that are part and parcel of all AKA albums. Kudos to AKA Pella for spelling out every song they included in this album, something that isn’t always done. With an album that is so musically complex in that it combines so many different compositions, this booklet is almost, l’havdil elef v’alfei havdalos, like reading meforshim on Chumash. Unless you are really on top of your music, spanning quite a few years, it is hard to identify every piece that is used in this album and reading the liner gives you a better awareness of just how much work went into producing each and every track of AKA Pella V.
I think part of what makes AKA Pella a fan favorite is that by including so much fun and information in the album liner, it literally draws us all in, making us feel like we are part of the gang and hanging out with the boys of AKA Pella in the studio. So while we may not get all the jokes and may not know all the players, a booklet like this really makes you feel like part of the team, which only helps the listener feel more connected to the album.
I can’t tell you that every singer/group out there needs to have an album liner of this length accompanying their album. But like an eye catching cover, an interesting booklet can add a lot to the album and this one most certainly does. While clearly the music is the star of the show for AKA Pella V, both the graphics and the text are the supporting cast and in this case, they are most certainly Oscar worthy.