Checkout is disabled during Shabbos and Yom Tov
0
  • Your Cart is Empty

Letter to JM Producers

by Hislahavus January 30, 2012

Dear Jewish Music Producer,

Hi!

I’d like to introduce myself – I’m Hislahavus. I guess I’d call myself a “semi-professional listener.” Or, as others might call it, a music snob. I’m a music junky. I’m not (really) a musician; I never studied music in a class, I’ve only intensely studied the music that you’ve produced. I’m pretty particular about what I buy and which music sits on my iPod. I’ve always tried to keep my ears focused on quality music, and I deeply appreciate all the effort that has been going into the JM world, picking up the quality of the work out there.

Now that we’ve gotten to know each other a bit, I have a few suggestions. You can call them constructive criticisms, or gripes, or whatever you’d like. But I mean it for the best – I really do. Here are a few thoughts from one of your biggest fans.

• Don’t put an old recording on a new album. And when you rerecord an old song, make sure to add something significant.
o This is a general rule – rerecording songs umpteen times doesn’t necessarily make them any better each time. Find a reason to put it out again – make it better, ala MBD and his English Collection (for the most part. I still like the originals of Pray and Sing and Just One Shabbos better), or Piamentas with Asher Bara on 1990, versus the original, on Mostly Horas. But taking an old song, not doing a thing to it, and just pasting it on a new album? Come on – that’s a waste of a track. And how about taking an oldie that’s been redone dozens of times? Find some new material!

Keep songs over 3.5 minutes and under 6 minutes.
o You know how this works – it could be a wonderful song, but when it just drags on and on and on, with several false endings and numerous modulations, changes of beats and tones, etc… As they say, too much of a good thing is not a good thing. Don’t keep beating the song into the ground! Six minutes is usually about the limit for your listeners. By that point, we’re ready to move on. But the same works on the other end of the spectrum (although hardly anyone does this any more) a song that sits at less than 3 minutes might as well not even be there. You hardly have any time to get into it! 3.5 minutes is about the minimum I can handle.

• 10-13 songs per album is great. More than that is overwhelming.

o As we said before, more is not necessarily better. Let your fans be excited for more, rather than overwhelming them with so much material that they get sick of you. Even more than that – a good album is a work of art. The songs compliment each other, and each time through the album, you get to know each song intimately, as you listen to the messages and the slight nuances of the vocals and arrangements. When there are 15 songs on an album it’s simply too many to put together in my mind, and the album doesn’t retain that critical element of continuation that makes it worthwhile to listen to again and again and again.

• Don’t break up a song/medley into separate tracks.
o Ugh! This is SO annoying for iPod users, who now make up 98% of your listeners!

• Concept albums need to be very good. Otherwise they’re just forgotten.
o I know, it’s so exciting! Another wedding album! Another Shabbos album! Another Yom Tov album! Another… you get the point. I have no problems with good collections. But if you want them album to continue selling past the first week, and for the album to remain one that we’ll listen to for many years, stick to normal music. If you really HAVE to do a concept album, that’s fine – just make sure there’s something original about it, and a reason to listen to it a year from now. This is true of concept songs as well – for instance, Y2K was a bust. Now that song is in the dustbin of history.

• Over-arrangements.
o This is not just a disease. Sometimes it feels like a full-out epidemic. Let a song win us over – don’t add more and more and more instruments and segues and beginnings and endings, and think that it will somehow make things better. Sometimes – nay, often! – it makes things worse!

• High-pitched child soloists.
o I love a beautiful choir, with intricate harmonies and youthful soloists. High pitched screeching and nasal wailing? Not so much. If you need to listen to how children’s voices should be used, listen to London School of Jewish Song’s self-titled1991 album, or Tzlil V’Zemer Boys Choir’s Let Us Grow. Or Meydad Tasa, if you’re looking for something of more recent vintage. A child’s ability should be measured by their control and ability to manipulate the tune, rather than the sheer intensity and pitch height.

I think that’s all for right now. Others may add things that I didn’t think of, or perhaps disagree with me. But, between us, it’s good to get it off my chest, and more importantly, I hope you find some of this unasked-for (and maybe even unwanted) advice worthwhile, coming from a loyal listener. Thanks so much for all you do – bringing quality Jewish music to brighten up our day, to inspire us, and to paraphrase Abie Rotenberg, get us all a bit closer to Hashem!

With love and appreciation, I remain,

Hislahavus

Hislahavus
Hislahavus


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News & Updates

[AUDIO] New Single From Dudi Knopfler – Ki BeSimcha – Music Video To Be Released Sun. Afternoon.

by Jewish Music Reporter February 25, 2017

Ki B’simcha – Dudi Knopfler A guta voch! A gitten Rosh Chodesh Adar! Here is the audio from the new single, Ki BeSimcha. The music video will be released Sunday afternoon! Download it here!   Song lyrics: אמר אמר רבינו נחמן כי בשמחה תצאו כי בשמחה תצא מהדאגה מהגלות מהצרה כי בשמחה אוי… תמיד תהיה [&hellip
Read More
מוטי שטיינמץ – הנשמה בקרבי | Motty Steinmetz-Haneshama Bekirbi

by Jewish Music Reporter February 25, 2017

“כל זמן שהנשמה בקרבי מודה אני לפניך”(מתוך תפילת אלוקי נשמה) בנט הפקות וייצוג אמנים מציג: הנשמה בקרבי – שיר הנושא מתוך האלבום החדש של מוטי שטיינמץ לקראת ראש חודש אדר משחרר אמן הרגש מוטי שטיינמץ להיט מוסיקלי חדש על המילים “הנשמה בקרבי” שהולחן ע”י המוזיקאי מארצות הברית רולי אזרחי. מודה אני, מהווה סינגל ראשון ושיר [&hellip
Read More
Project Relax Again Featuring Baruch Levine & Simcha Leiner: Audio Sampler

by Jewish Music Reporter February 22, 2017

It’s been almost two years since the last Project Relax by Yochi Briskman was released to much acclaim. Now the dream team of Baruch Levine and Simcha Leiner is back, and its time to RELAX AGAIN. In time for the Purim/Pesach season, you can now relax with today’s biggest hits from across the spectrum all [&hellip
Read More
News & Updates

Sign up to get the latest on sales, new releases and more …