Shua Kessin is not stam (normal), in a good sense. There, I’ve said it. He is a multi-talented artist. Singer & Composer, Kessin is the next big thing! I may not enjoy every one of his songs, but it’s obvious that he is brimming with talent and a lot of work went into this album. From the top notch compositions, to the masterful arrangements, to the mix of genre’s in the songs – This album screams “HIT!”-
The artwork for this album “Lo Lihitya’eish” is easily one of Sruly Meyer’s greatest creations. And the booklet is gorgeous. You’re going to want to go to DesignsBySruly for your next photo design project, because he’s the best in the business. One of the coolest features of the booklet is the notes supplied under every song. Kessin added notes from where he was inspired for each song, allowing you to feel like your personally there with him, listening to his story.
Kessin was interviewed by JMR’s very own KolIsha in Country Yossi, which can be seen here. That article will give you the gist of the album.
How am I getting this review out to every so soon after the album was released? I had the privilege to listen to the album early so that I could review and get out the information on this album to you, the buyer, as soon as it hit the stores! I’m reminding you to constantly check into the Jewishmusicreport.com for the most up-to-date information in the Jewish Music industry. Also, see my blog, jmderech.blogspot.com
Lo Lahitya’eish: (HOT) Crazy Israeli styled intro. Kessin’s range can be heard from the start with this “bang” of an intro! Very often I hear that words don’t really fit the music (you know who you are ;D), but there’s a noticeable difference with this song. The mix of Hebrew and English and the meanings are fantastic. What’s amazing, is the fact that the song is 5:23 long and never gets boring. Fantastic intro and title song!
Nishmas: (HOT) This song, we were privileged to hear early as an acapella version. I was not nearly as impressed with the song then as I am now. This is definitely a song that needs and sounds better with musical backup. Kessin mentions in the booklet that his inspiration for this song came from after speaking to a friend who had been through a troubled life. He told him, Nishmas is about thanking Hashem for the basics of life, not the extras.
Maminim: (HOT) A hora or salsa? composed by Kessin during a friend’s sheva brachos. This song is not something to just sit and listen to, one needs to be dancing in order to bring out the pleasure of this song. So come on! Get up off your feet and break it down! My favorite parts of the song are the wordless parts; the “ay di da da dum” parts. Great ending to the song as well :)
Aneini: (HOT)What’s interesting about this song, is the fact theat the music has an eerie twist to it, yet the actual song sounds like something off a Shalsheles album. A weird combo. It doesn’t matter, this song is a lot of fun to sing. The second part of the song, Kessin plays around more with his voice and harmonizes with himself, giving the song a better sounding quality. For me, this song is more fun for me to sing then to listen to.
Nekudos Toivas: (HOT) Why does this song start off with a stereotypical rap sounding “ya! woo!”? Regardless, it works and it’s a intro I’ve never heard, yet enjoy. The beauty of this song is it’s simplicity and sing-ability. You’re not going to find anything complicated in this song, which is what gives the song its gadlus! The shticky part, with the added lyrics toward the end (3:55) are very smooth and sweet. Sounds like something Yossi Green would do.
Niggun: (HOT) What would an album filled with diversity be without a Niggun to add to the collection? The sound of this song gives off an “around the campfire” feeling. The music is gorgeous, especially the violin work starting at 2:45. The harmonies following the violin piece spice up the song. It goes from “just another niggun” to a “geshmake niggun”.
Refueini: (MILD) Kessin chooses a Chassidic pronunciation for this song and uses Yiddish as well. Kessin composed this song while by an ill young man’s bed side. While the song lacks in an amount of different words, it makes up for it in depth. You can feel the heart in this song when he screams out “Refua Shelaima!” (Heal Completely!).
Beitin: (HOT) Motti Illowitz lended a hand in this song with lyrics. Kessin writes that he decided he needed a song with some rhythm and that’s where “Beitin” comes in. It sounds very much like a Shloime Dachs song; perhaps Bayom Hahu from Dachs’s Avinu album? Regardless, it’s way better than that song. 3:59 is amazing! Listen for when he slows down the song for a little bit, it adds some spice.
Generations: (HOT) This song is composed by Yossi Toiv, originally for his zaidy, now with Shua’s help, the lyrics are directed more towards all of Klal Yisrael. The guest child soloist is Ami Eller from Kol Noar Boys Choir. He adds some beautiful harmonies behind Kessin – 4:21 and on is beyond words. Kessin slows down the song and begins the climactic ending of the song. This is by far one of the best English songs I’ve heard in a long time. It’s Abie Rotenberg’s, Journeys caliber.
Vizamrun Loch: (MILD) This song is very Shlomo Carlebach/Eitan Katz style, with some additives. Anyone who appreciates that style of song can more than appreciate this song. Kessin has the perfect voice for this genre. The guitar strumming behind his voice throughout the song is very befitting. It’s my least favorite song on the album, but I still enjoy it, that’s saying something.
Bye Bye Bye: (HOT) We all had the pleasure of hearing this song already. A rocking song composed by David Kaufman. Shua uses a Chassidic pronunciation for this song as well. It really would be Bay Bay Bay, but with this change in pronunciation, it sounds like Bye Bye Bye. When I first heard this song, I’ll be honest, I didn’t like it. However, after the umpteenth time playing it, I fell in love with it. Now I can’t stop singing it, just ask my wife. She was going to send me “bye bye bye” if I didn’t stop. :P A terrific song to close up a spectacular debut album.
HOT = 9
MILD = 2
COLD = 0
Go to the store now! Go buy it now! Why are you still sitting at your computer now? Bye Bye Bye!!! :). You can also buy it on Mostlymusic.com through this link, Shua Kessin – Lo Lahitya’eish.