Warning: If you’re the type of person that doesn’t believe that non-Jewish music should be sung by Jewish artists, then this CD is definitely not for you, and you can stop reading right now.
Straight off, this is A.K.A.Pella’s best CD yet. The way they infuse hit non-Jewish songs with Jewish ones is very impressive. As a listener of both kinds of music, I found it to be what makes this CD so great. They have 14 songs, which is not found that often these days. Plus they have some great guests on the album which I will expound on as I go through each song.
Many people will not listen to this CD during s’firah which is understandable, as it sounds too much like music, but that’s up to you. I personally will listen to anything as long as no musical instruments are being used.
Hentelach: This song features Berry Weber, which I’m guessing is to help with the Lipa impersonation. The intro starts with a non-Jewish song called Disturbia, and then blends into Lipa’s Hentelach song. It’s an interesting choice of an intro for Lipa’s song because he uses the same intro all the time when he sings at weddings. Here’s a video where he’s singing it with Berry Weber. After the intro, Berry sings a little and then the group starts some singing with English lyrics. The song then goes back and forth, switching between Disturbia and Hentelach while adding some auto-tune in towards the end. Overall it’s a great song done really well by both parties.
L’mancha / V’hoo Kayli: The song starts off with L’mancha from Eitan Katz and then goes into V’hoo Kayli from Baruch Levine. This song is what’s called a “hartzig nigun” (a heartfelt tune), and a great kumzits classic. A.K.A.Pella pulls off some really great harmonies. The song is arranged and performed so well that I’m able to listen to it over and over again without getting bored.
Ma Tamar: Starts off with an intro from a Spanish song and surprisingly, they keep the same opening words of the original song. It then blends into Ma Tamar from Aahron Razel while featuring Mo Kiss. It’s an okay song but not my favorite on the album. When I first heard it, it got me laughing for a few minutes because I used to work in a restaurant kitchen where the Spanish people played the song all day.
Yuffing Else Matters: Starts off with an intro from a song called Nothing Else Matters which is a play on the title, and then goes into Yofyafisa from Shalsheles. This song was one of Shalsheles’s greatest hits (besides from Esa Ainai) and I always loved it. It’s one of those songs where once you hear it, it sticks in your head for a while (or at least that happened to me). There’s a nice guitar solo in the middle. They took a great song and sang it without too many changes, which in this case is good.
Nilli Milli: This song is my personal favorite on the CD and, not surprisingly, doesn’t sound like a s’firah song at all. It starts off with an intro from the song called Run It, and then blends right into Shloime Gertner’s Im Ein Ani Li. This is a techno song and they pull it off amazingly! In the middle they do the guitar intro from a song called Butterfly which blends in beautifully. The song then ends off with Gangsta’s/Amish Paradise.
Anavim: Surprisingly I did not know where this song was from, yet I knew the song perfectly. Kinda weird you might think but it’s because this song is sung everywhere. It was composed by Yossi Green and is sung on his album The 8th Note; he also sings it on this album. The intro and ending are from the theme song from the movie, Exodus. Overall a great pick for the CD and great to help you relax in between the other happening songs.
The TGIF Medley: Yes, it does stand for Thank G-D It’s Friday; that’s because it’s a medley of Friday night songs. It starts off with L’cha Dodi from Eitan Katz and includes a trumpet and drum solo. Next it goes into a really nice Eishes Chayil composed by Yitzy Waldner. It then ends off with Vezakeini from Baruch Levine. Really nice choice of songs with some great solos.
B’inyan Hasimcha: Starts off with a song called Bad Romance and then goes into B’inyan by Aahron Razel. This song features Dovid Gabay who does a fantastic job. The song has a beat in the background which I don’t understand how it’s done vocally, but it definitely sounds very good.
M’heira: I’m not sure where this intro is from, but it sounds nice; actually, M’heira is from Yaakov Shwekey. This song features another acapella group called Kol Ish. They’re fairly new and not that well known; you can check them out here if you would like. This song has started becoming an official chupah song; I’ve heard it many times already at chasunas.
Greatest Medley Ever: It truly is a great medley with at least 6 different songs included. Although it starts off a bit strangely, it then goes into Hot n’ Cold with some great electric guitar. Poseach from Shloimy Daskal is next with a great solo and a guy singing with a chassidish accent. It then goes right into I Gotta Feelin with some lyrics from the original song. Then a song by MBD blends into some kind of jazzy song. Onto Ma Ma Ma from Shwekey which seems to make it onto every medley song these days. Overall the song is okay but could have been done better (in my opinion at least).
V’hee Sheamda: This is a 100% Yaakov Shwekey song with no additions or anything changed; just without music. It would have been great if they could’ve had Shwekey sing it himself, but that’s just wishful thinking. The song has some great harmonies and solos and sounds really good.
Yavo: Beginning of song is from Forever, a techno song which is performed really well here. It then goes into the Miami Boys Choir song, Yavo. This is the first time I’m hearing this song. You’re probably all shocked, but yes, it’s true, I’m not an MBC fan– maybe the only one in the world? Either way, I like the way it’s sung on this CD.
Sunshine In The Rain: This is an English song featuring Shloime Kaufman which was recorded last summer for A Time.
Yufyafisa (Alternative): This song is sung twice on the CD but both are different. This one is sung by Shalsheles Jr. I actually happen to like them. Here they do an astounding job. The song goes into a different twist at the end from another song called Breakaway and it blends in perfectly.
All in all, you can tell that a lot of thought went into the making of this CD. Remember this review is only my own personal opinion, so feel free to feel differently.