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Just a Fan’s Review of Six13: Zmanim

I first heard Six13 a few years ago, right before they came to my college for a performance. Right away I liked their music, and for two sefiras and three weeks I played them pretty constantly being one of those people that needs to have my iPod on when I walk to the dryer to get my clothes out. I liked that they used a lot of songs that everyone knew and that it was catchy and fun. Plus, I met some of the guys, and they were all very nice.

All of their music is good. But with their third album, Six13 has changed A LOT. If you compare the albums, you’ll see what I’m saying. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what changed.  Maybe it’s that except for the playful songs (which will be explained more later), they have matured a lot.

All of the Six13 albums are good…very good. But this one is by far the best.

The best thing about this album is the variety, which is best explained by a quick look through the songs. But in short, there are two funny parodies, two beautiful slow songs dedicated to the wives of two of the singers, four  medlies of popular Jewish songs ranging from Levine to Lipa, and two new wonderful Six13 originals. I love when CDs are constantly changing from track to track and when the songs don’t sound alike, but still retain the overall feel of the group.

1. Tov Lehodot
-Really fun driving song that you will be singing along to the first time you hear it
-Nothing so different about it, but of the original Six13 songs, for sure a hit
-Sort of reminds me of Kol Mekadesh from their first album

2. V’ezakeini
-Baruch Levine’s V’ezakeini sung by Yitzy Spinner and Shmuly Brafman (the finalist in the JR section of a Jewish Star) with Aharon Razel/Yaakov Shwekey’s Vehi She’amda sung by Shmuel & Bentzi Marcus of 8th day
-GREAT guest vocalists, all of them!
-What a good combination of songs…two of the biggest slow hits from the last few years, and they sound great together
-It’s rare that I think an acapella song with beat-boxing is pretty, but this one is
-I think V’ezakeini is my favorite song of all time, so unless they did something really bad, which I don’t think they are capable of, I am gonna love it.

3. P-A-S-S-O-V-E-R
-“Seder Got Us Eating Unleavended Bread” , parody of Usher and P-A-S-S-O-V-E-R, parody of Ke$ha
-You can see this video from a post here a couple days ago
-If you don’t know the secular songs, then it’s just a pop-sounding song about Pesach
– If you’ve ever heard the songs (they play this Usher song all the time at my gym) then it’s hilarious. Even if you don’t know the songs, the lyrics are really clever and funny.
-It’s SUPER catchy!

4. Kol Han’Shama
-Say it’s “For Shira”, which I think means Mike Boxer is singing things song for his wife. Got to love that.
-Perhaps because of the personal attachment, Mike Boxer sings this song particularly beautifully of all the songs I’ve heard him in, and with a lot of feeling
-Very pretty choice of lyrics
-Like I mention in almost every review, I’m really hard to please with slow songs. To an unfair extent. So while I recognize this song is beautiful and I do like listening to it, it’s not one of my favorites just because 90% of the time I’ll pick a fast song over a slow one.

5. The Yeshivish Mix
-Legabay (Dovid Gabay) +  Mah Mah Mah (Yaakov Shwekey) + Gelt (Lipa Schmeltzer)
-These are all super fun songs and wonderful choices for the mix. I could listen to this over and over again. And for someone who gets bored too easily to listen to most slow songs, that’s saying a lot.
-I have to admit I didn’t know this Lipa song (sorry…), but it’s AWESOME! For those of you who don’t know it, it’s about how money is temporary even though we obsess over it, and Kosher money is Mitzvahs which stay with us forever. What a great message, especially in today’s economy.
-Wait. Is Six13 singing in Yiddish? I love it!

6. Hinei Mah Tov
-The verses are about how important it is to take care of each other, love each other, be peaceful, etc. and the chorus is Hinei Mah Tov
-Love the lyrics here. Such a relatable message here. There are enough problems in the world without us creating ones between ourselves.
-Laid back but fast at the same time. Love the relaxed feel, and it’s very pretty.

7. The Simcha Mix
-Siman Tov/Carlebach’s Uv’nei Otah (sung by Pey Dalid)/Avraham Fried’s Chazak/B’Yerushalayim
-The first time I heard it, I could sing along basically the whole time. Always a good thing.
-So fun and upbeat…hence the title.
-Once again, another good mix of songs you’ll probably know
-Six 13 is great with the transitions. The songs all for sure sound different, but they change very smoothly.

8. I Light It
-“Dreidel”, parody of Justin Bieber, “Latkes” parody of Kanye West, and “I Light It”, parody of Enrique Inglesias
-You probably saw this video around Hanukah times (they are all Hanukah songs if you couldn’t tell), but if you didn’t, you should see it!
-Like P-A-S-S-O-V-E-R, it’s a lot funnier if you know the songs. I didn’t know the second two songs, so it wasn’t as funny for me.
-Still very funny lyrics that we can all relate to. You should read the lyrics from the booklet. They could be published in a comedy article.
-Very catchy, but not as much as P-A-S-S-O-V-E-R

9. Yerushalayim Shel Zahav/Salaam
-Naomi Shemer’s Yerushalayim Shel Zahav and Sheva’s Salaam (if you went on Birthright, you heard it a lot)
-I was at first a little upset, thinking “I can’t listen to this for four minutes.” because it’s very slow and operatic which I have a limit to. Then, after about 90 seconds it goes into Aryeh Kunstler singing Salaam. Fun and has a rock feel to it
-Normally wouldn’t combine such a slow song with such a fast song…but it worked!

10. Mi Adir/Mi Bon Siach
-“A Six13 original”
-This one’s for Yafit…I hope I’m guessing correctly that Yafit Cohn is Moshe Cohn’s wife, and he is singing this song for her. Amazing.
-This is a personal preference, but it’s a little hard for me to listen to “et hechatan v’et hakallah”. You say Shabbat, I say Shabbos, but it doesn’t mean the song doesn’t sound a tiny bit awkward to me when some of the main words sound really different
-Despite my pickiness, it’s beautiful! I love his voice; it’s very calm and sweet.

Best and Worst Things About the Album
-There’s a lot of information in the booklet. I can see who is singing the song, what the exact words are, where they came from, etc. That makes a big difference to me.
-The remakes of songs we already love (I mean the Jewish songs here, not the parodies) were a great idea.
-I love medleys. Just when a song could get repetitive, it changes up. It’s also a more creative way to use songs that we have already heard so many times.
-A LOT of wonderful guest stars give each song a fresh feel
-The guys in Six13 all have great voices, and they are different enough that you can generally tell who you are listening to. It also says in the booklet…
-So much variety!!!!!
-The album is less than 40 minutes long. It would have been nice to have a few more songs. It doesn’t even last me a trip to work. Guess I’ll just have to replay the Yeshivish Mix!

Favorite Songs on the Album
-The Yeshivish Mix (!!!)
-Hinei Ma Tov
-Tov Leodot

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