Shira Chadasha Boys Choir- Al HaTorah

You’ve probably noticed that there seem to be a lot of boys choirs out these days. And you’re right, there are. No, it’s not everyone’s style- the usually adorable and usually superfun- but a lot of people love it, and it’s for good reason. Shira Chadasha definitely has it’s own flavor, but most basically, it’s a good choir, so if this is your style, then you won’t go wrong with Shira Chadasha.

Let me also mention that Shira Chadasha, while based in Israel, basically sounds American. Most of the boys are from places like Har Nof and RBS, so odds are their parents made aliyah from America, England, or South Africa. I personally prefer this. While we can argue all day about which version of Hebrew is most authentic, I can’t understand the Israeli accent usually! I sound super American and cannot decipher Hebrew that doesn’t.

Ok, now onto discussing the album itself. I have about 3 GB of Jewish music, and I very much enjoy just about every one of the around 450 songs. That being said, since I got this album, I have listened to it more than any other album. It’s great to listen to on the subway on my commute to work– upbeat without being headachy. I don’t want anything too sad or emotional before I start my workday so this is perfect.

The album also has a theme, which I think is really neat. It has the potential to get cheesy, but the theme is really broad so it doesn’t happen at all. The theme, for those of you who don’t know, is Torah, and is obviously something really important to every aspect of our life. A lot of the songs have the word Torah in it — Al HaTorah, Kesser Torah, Torah Tziva, Toras Hashem… and in other songs it’s an obvious theme.

Overall, I just really enjoy this album. I love the feel to it– like I said, upbeat all around. Also, the solos are top notch. The faster songs are a lot of fun and the slower songs (especially Kesser Torah!) are beautiful and moving. My favorite songs are probably Kesser Torah (slow), and Dan Dan Dan, Torah Tziva, and Ilu (fast).

1. Al HaTorah

When the song starts out, you’ll think it’s going to be slow, but it’s not. It’s one of those in between songs, which I love, because they are both catchy and pretty! It gives you a taste of the album, specifically with the theme. The solos are really good in this song (since it’s a little bit slower, I think it allows for that better than the super fast songs, of which there are plenty). It’s a good choice for the first song, but it’s not my favorite track.

2. Ilu

Here we go with the really fast songs! I’m impressed that the boys can sing this fast in this rock/percussian heavy song and we can still understand them (specifically in the last minute of the track). I like that this song has very few musical interludes . I’m listening to this album to hear the choir, and although the music is good, it’s playing throughout the whole song so we don’t need so many interludes. This song is one of the most catchy songs on the album and I really like it!

3. Vyikablu

Here’s the first slow song on the album. Very pretty song that I do enjoy listening to, but I am not a huge fan of slow songs and Kesser Torah is a lot better in my opinion.

4. Toras Hashem

This song sounds a little dark in the beginning! I think this song has more of the whole choir singing together than the other songs, and like a few other songs, I like that it has a lot of words in it. I  also like the part where most of the music leaves around 1:00 for about 10 seconds. That being said, the song doesn’t really stand out much to me.

5. Torah-Tziva

Like Ashreinu later, this has a country feel to it! I think this one pulls it off better. The song is really fun and makes me want to dance. The chorus is my favorite part. Don’t know what else to say except this is a great song!

6. Kesser Torah

This is my favorite slow song on the album, hands down. The whole thing is sung with a lot of heart and is very pretty. I like the way they use their voices– I never feel like they are straining, although it could be that they are just good at making it look easy. It song gets absolutely stunning at the end (3:36). It completely changes, and I’m not sure why this isn’t just the chorus throughout or something because it’s amazing. As my friend said, it sounds like the  curtain call from a musical. Beautiful.

7. Dan Dan Dan

Here’s one of the fastest songs on the album. The message is great (giving everyone the benefit of the doubt). It’s something that’s really a problem in today’s world, and almost all of it struggle with it sometimes. In addition to the great message, the song is a lot of fun and is very catchy. Not sure what it is, maybe the beat, but there is just something about it that I love. It can be a little repetitive, but maybe this is something that a lot of us need to hear over and over again anyway! I love it!

8. Ashreinu

When I first heard this song, I got excited, since as I’ve mentioned numerous times, I’m southern. The music sounds like authentic Texas country music. But then the singing doesn’t really seem to match the music very well. At the end, the song gets suddenly faster, which is neat. Good song, but not my favorite.

9. Shma Hashem

This is, by a big margin, the longest song on the album aside from Hadran, which includes a speech and long intro. It has a sad, bluesy feel, which I like a lot, but at times the music sounds too much like elevator/supermarket music. I appreciate that it has this feel while it’s a song pleading to Hashem and also like the “ooo” harmonies towards the middle. I think it just is a bit too long especially when there are some really great songs that are much shorter.

10. Az Yashir

We heard this song a while back when the video came out to advertise the album. I wasn’t expecting it to be track #10 since it was the single, but I listen my music on shuffle usually anyway… I love this song. . It has some really great harmonies. I like how there are a lot of words in it (when so many songs these days have 3 or 4 words…). I’m not crazy about the computer effects that seem to be so popular now where they make the boys’ voices sound techno, but everyone else seems to like it since it’s used so much, so maybe that’s just my preference. I love the music in this particular song. Great song!

11. Hadran

This starts out with Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel shlita speaking at the Siyum HaShas. It is a great message about togetherness and the importance of learning Torah. I don’t think it’s the easiest thing to do an English song about (the Siyum HaShas, that is, not togetherness and learning), so that may be part of the reason why I am not a huge fan of this song.  The singing doesn’t start till 1:14, which is way too long of an intro for me.The solos are REALLY good in this song, though, and it’s worth listening for them alone. It’s basically all solos.

Hope you all enjoy!

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