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Over and Over Again

Seems to me baseball has it right. When a really outstanding player ends his career, his number is retired along with him, never to be used again. Babe Ruth’s number three will never again be work by a member of the New York Yankees. Number forty two on the New York Mets will forever belong to Jackie Robinson. Wonder if the Jewish music world can learn a thing or two from major league baseball.

I’m talking about lyrics.

So much time and effort goes into composing a song. And setting the right lyrics to the right music isn’t as easy as you might think. But it seems to me that the same words are getting recycled over and over again. Do we really need another Ani Maamin? The Rambam wrote thirteen of those guys, but with one notable exception (Dveykus), only Ani Maamin number twelve that keeps popping up in our CD players.

And then, of course, there are the more profitable lyrics: wedding songs. How many Mi Adirs and Mi Bon Siach’s are out there? We won’t even count Im Eshkachech’s. I understand that singers want their songs to get plenty of exposure, but come on, it’s just getting old. Be creative. Come up with something innovative. Lipa did it. Is there any simcha you go to where you don’t hear the words to the song “Rabosai”?

So to all you songwriters out there: it’s time to start thinking outside the box. Open up your Siddurim. There are so many beautiful and inspiring words in there, just waiting to be set to music. Or check out your trusty Tehillim. With one hundred and fifty perakim, I can’t imagine you won’t find something you can use.

Here is my list of lyrics that have been done to death. I’m sure there are more. Feel free to let me know!!

Adon Olam
Ani Maamin
Av Harachamim
Eishes Chayil
Im Eshkachech
Ma Tovu
Mi Adir
Mi Bon Siach
Od Yishama

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