Hey everyone! Today I’ll be reviewing an album I’ve been excited about for years! The Ari Goldwag English Album! I firmly believe that Ari is one of most talented people in the Jewish music industry. Starting with “Simcha B’libi” and releasing multiple solo albums, the “Pure Soul” album, “Sheves Achim”, and two acapella collections, Ari has really done it all. You might not be surprised to know that Ari is also an alumnus of the Miami Boys Choir although he has definitely expanded on his talent to include producing, recording, mixing etc. As a fan of Ari’s English songs throughout his other albums, I’ve been waiting for him to release a collection like this. As an added bonus although many English collection albums are just that, a collection of pre-released English songs being made available on one CD, Ari actually has a majority of brand new English songs on this album. Not only do you get some of the “Pure Soul” releases, but you get brand new material! I can go on and on about how excited I’ve been for this album but let’s get started on a review before I get even more carried away.
- Something Different – Starting off this album is an upbeat song with a positive feel-good message. This song (along with a number of others on this album) features the amazing Ari Goldwag backing vocals we’ve all come to love on other artists’ songs. It just goes to show that even though Ari is a talented lead vocalist he still can sing as part of a choir (even if that choir is made with multiple takes of his own voice).
- Angels Out – This next song written by Dror Kivodi is a nice easy-listening tune. Ari writes in the CD booklet that this song explains how many times we are so busy that we take gifts for granted. This song reminds us that every Shabbos (which is a huge gift in itself) we are we are given the opportunity to welcome malochim into our homes.
- Chanuka Light – even if you haven’t gotten the chance to buy this album yet, you’ve probably heard this song by now since it was released with a music video around Chanuka time. Ari writes in the CD booklet that it’s interesting to note that Chanuka is in the winter time when the sun goes away sooner and the weather outside is usually pretty rough. This can be pretty discouraging. Chanuka however, reminds us of the miracle that happened to us and lifts our spirits. The music video for this song was produced by JAHU films. It was filmed in Times Square in NYC among other places and can be found online.
- Your Smile – This song was written by Leah Rubabshi and given a melody by Ari. This song was written to explain the emotion a parent feels for their child. While that may not be an emotion that can easily be put into words this song does an excellent job of doing so.
- Up To You Now – This next track was also written by Dror Kivodi. I appreciate that Ari’s music is always easy to listen to, and that there’s another level to his music. While music that’s easy to listen to can be found in other places, it’s not often you come across great music that has an equally great message.
- Take Me Home – This next song was written and composed by Miriam Israeli. You may recognize her name from other hits she was involved in including Baruch Levine’s “Todah”, and “Yesh Tikva”! This song actually reminds me a lot of “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav”.
- Forever Dance – Without a doubt this is my favorite song of the album. Featuring Ari’s vocally talented son Moshe Dov, this song will have you dancing in no time!
- Teiman – This song was also composed and written by Miriam Israeli. We are taken on a Journey through the eyes of a Teimani immigrant. According to the CD booklet from 1948 to 1954 there were many families moving to Israel from Teiman. During the immigration there were some children who disappeared while being taken care of in hospitals. Although the families were told that their child has passed away, they were not given a clear location of where their child was buried. This song was written to attempt to convey the feelings of a mother who experienced such a situation.
- Choices – Just in case you wanted another Miriam Israeli song, here you go! This next track carries a great message of making good decisions while also sporting a more interesting musical genre in its arrangement.
- Live in the Sky – This song was written and composed by Droro Kivodi. According to the CD booklet the concept of living in the sky relates to living with the mindset Hashem wants us to have as opposed to the mindset many outside influences try to tell us to have. The booklet goes on to say that sometimes all it takes to get to that right mindset is to surround us with the right people who are also on a search for the right things, and to listen to the right music. While Ari may not have been trying to just make a marketing pitch, I do believe that his music definitely fits in that category.
In conclusion, whether you’ve been an Ari Goldwag fan from the start (like me) or whether you jumped on the bandwagon since “Yesh Tikva” or even afterwards, this is definitely a good album to either start or continue your Ari Goldwag collection. Ari’s vocals are superb and the messages that he is transmitting with this album are extremely positive and inspirational.