Just a Fan’s OHAD III Review

I have to be honest. I came into the frum music world relatively recently. I was in such a frenzy to catch up with my music collection, and of course buy a good chunk of the new releases, that I missed someone. I don’t know how, because he’s great, and if any of you also do not have the pleasure of owning an Ohad CD, I suggest you start right away with this one.

Basically every artist does slow songs and fast songs. With Ohad, I think this is the first time that I liked the slow songs and fast songs equally, at least in some cases (my favorite songs, I think, are Father’s Prayer and Malchuscho). I think most artists seem to be really great at one or the other.

Although I may not be in a place to say this, being somewhat new to the Jewish music scene, but the album has a lot of lyrics on it that I’ve never heard on another album. I don’t know why, because they are all beautiful, but this is definitely a good thing. There are a few songs that everyone seems to have a version of. There are a lot of other lyrics already written for us; as far as that goes, we have it way easier than anyone else. So I appreciate that Ohad (and the composers) were original here.

Ohad also uses a lot of different styles. He has some more “typical” — but still great– sounding songs. There is a disco (??) , a latin song, and some real Israeli styled slow songs. To me, this is a great thing, to not have two songs on the album sound very much alike. Doesn’t seem that there is much of a point to that.

1)Anu Banecha (fast)
What a fun song to start the album off!  It definitely grabs our attention. The kids choir in the chorus adds a special something…with having an adults choir and kids choir, it kind of gets the feeling that everyone is singing along. It’s not my absolute favorite fast song on the album, but it’s very good and got me wanting to hear what was on the rest of the album.

2) Father’s Prayer (slow)
Wow! This is probably my favorite song on the CD. This is perhaps one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. It’s a song about the wishes a father has for his children, but the extra special thing about it is that Ohad’s son, Eyal, sings the song with him. It’s not your typical child soloist–Eyal can be heard harmonizing and singing with his father throughout the song and he has such a sweet voice. The lyrics are beautiful, of course, and the song is sung with such love. This is one that I could play over, and over, and over…

(3) Malchuscho (fast)
This song is so different , and in a good way. It’s got a neat intro (though I didn’t see the intro really matching the rest of the song…it’s still neat). It’s really catchy and you will probably, if you’re anything like me, find yourself walking around the house singing it. My main complaint about it is that it’s only 3:44. It’s another one I would put on repeat. I believe this is what everyone is talking about when they say “fresh”…

(4) Mi Bon Siach (slow)
This is a beautiful rendition of Mi Bon Siach that definitely captures the words and touches the heart. The only issue I have is, for good reason, every album seems to have this song lately… and when I have around 10 versions, all of them good…well unless someone is a chasan or kallah they are not going to listen to Mi Bon Siach for 45 minutes straight in different versions.  This one, though, is particularly beautiful.

(5) Echad Yuchid (fast)
This is another really fun song with a lot of heart in it. A lot of people don’t like songs that sound very different, but of course there is a happy medium between staying within the safe realm and sounding like every other song. This song finds that happy medium. It’s in a way a regular Jewish song, but it definitely has its own sound.

(6)Mani Kolech (slow)
This song is very pretty. I have one issue: I don’t speak Hebrew. It’s not a regular tefila, this song, it’s specially written here.The music is very pretty, the words I do understand are very pretty, and the singing is beautiful. But I don’t know what half the song is saying. I guess that’s to be expected with an Israeli singer….and the song is definitely not in the “autoskip” category.

(7)Tzadikim (fast)
I love how this song goes RIGHT into the lyrics and starts with a bang! Goes right into the heart of the song, and never leaves. It has a sort of disco feel. It’s basically guaranteed to put you in a good mood.

(8)Shir Haparnasa (slow)
If you were told that Baruch Levine composed a song on this album, it wouldn’t be too hard to guess that this was his. It has the Baruch Levine touch. It’s an unusual choice for lyrics, which I like. Ohad has a really powerful voice, but when he sings slow songs like this one, he somehow sounds so gentle. Beautiful.

(9) Boi Boi Boi (fastish)
Latin themed! Potential to be really cheesy, but isn’t. Another fun sing-along that’s very different. I really like when Jewish music tries out different themes… I don’t think “goyish” style music has to be negative. This song songs at first listen like it’s  Dominican…but it’s a great Jewish song in a different style and it’s a pleasant deviation. It’s also a good way to have a lot of fast songs on an album without having any of them sound very similar to each other.

(10) Tefilas Ha’av  (slow)
(see Mani Kolech…)

(11) Mashkimim (fast)
This one is composed by Ohad, which is always neat, when the singers compose their own song. Something about the tune in this song I really like. Like Echad Yuchid, it’s not SO different (relative to Malchuso, Boi Boi Boi…) than a typical Jewish song, but still has it’s own sound. I would bet that Ohad records all these songs just standing in a studio like everyone else, but I picture him dancing around a stage when I hear it. Not because he sounds out of breath or anything, but because he sounds really into the song. It doesn’t sound like someone just handed him the sheet music and he is doing his job. You can hear how much he FEELS it.

(12) Shir Hashluchim (slow)
This song is in memory of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg HY”D and dedicated to all the Chabad shluchim. To be honest, when I heard that, I thought that Ohad must be Chabad. I don’t think he is, but it’s a shame that I thought that, because they were two Jews, and we can all dedicate songs to each other regardless of affiliation. It wasn’t Chabad’s loss, it was klal Yisroel’s loss, and the world’s loss. Anyway, that being said, it’s very beautiful that Ohad dedicated this song to them, and with these meaningful words from Shabbos Musaf. It’s beautiful itself, composed by Yossi Green, but Ohad sounds like he is about to cry while he was singing it. Can’t help getting emotional hearing it.

Like any other album, this has some songs that are much better than others in my opinion of course. But the scale seems to be higher here, where the not as good songs are still hitting around 7 or 8.  All 12 songs are good songs, and there is a very big variety. I definitely recommend getting this album and am looking forward to checking out the other work by Ohad.


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