This album is very special for me. The very first review I ever did was for Benny’s third album Kol Haneshama Sheli and since then we’ve been going strong(ish) for 2 years! Thank you s much for reading and commenting and thank you to the staff and editors of Jewishmusicreport.com for being an amazing team to work with.
This is Benny Friedman’s fourth studio album. His first album, Taamu, was produced by Avi Newmark and was a hit with songs such as Misod, Moshiach, Taamu, and No Lyrics. His next album, Yesh Tikva: Dawn of Moshiach was a smashing success with the title track’s music video getting countless of views on YouTube. Also that album included hits such as Dawn of Moshiach, Maaleh Ani, Shalom Aleichem, Mamleches Kohanim, and B’sheim Hashem. In 2014, he released his third studio album called Kol Haneshama Sheli, which contained great songs such as Toda, Rak Beyachad, Essa Einai, Fulfill Your Tefillah and Bum Bum.
Benny has been doing great things in the past 2 years. He released a Shabbos album, then a Toda music video, was on the HASC stage for the 28th concert and countless other concerts. He has done countless weddings and the Chabad shluchim event as well. He was on Simchas Hachaim 4 and 5, Shir, 2nd Dance 2, Neemos Hachaim, Kol Hakochavim and Shir 2. Not to mention all the chesed and smiles he puts on so many faces. Benny truly is one of a kind!
This album, entitled Fill the World With Light stands out firstly with its incredible front cover artwork. Its so wonderful and colorful; it is truly a masterpiece. It was illustrated by the awesome Marc Lumer (marclumerdesign.com). The album was produced by Sruly Meyer, a true pro, and mastered by the great Ian Freitor.
Ivri Anochi– Also known as I’m a Jew and Proud, it starts like a nice country song and has has some great lyrics from Miriam Israeli (the Hebrew language genius) to start it all off. The whole song was composed by Ari Goldwag. Then Benny takes it into the English low with lyrics provided by Samuel Marcus of 8th Day fame (and Friedman family member). It gets a little funky and electronic and then the saxes have a nice solo. The music on this song comes from Ian Freitor of PlayMasters Studio (meaning its all electronically produced). The choir on this one is Shira Choir (although they don’t do much). A fantastic beginning to this album.
Al Tishlach Yadcha– This song was written and composed by Elie Schwab and starts with some guitar picking and talking in the background (which is credited to Yitzy Berry). The music was arranged by Eli Klein and Yitzy Berry. I happen to think the low part is nothing special but the high part is very nice. I’m also starting to think that this album will be very Israeli-sounding and be heavily influenced by the type of music that Shwekey and Fried are singing these days.
Ashira Lashem– Simple lyrics for a nice, simple song. It has a nice rhythm to it and has great arrangements, especially the brass. This song was composed by Eli Klein and arranged by the team of hm and Yitzy Berry. The end of this song is interesting in that he switches from the high part in the middle to the low part to end it. Very cool way to end the song.
Reb Yehoshua Omer– A Spanish styled song with great Spanish guitar played by Omri Zelig, composed by the incomparable Boruch Sholom Blesofsky. The song was based on the words and spirit of Benny’s uncle Rabbi Yehoshua Gordon. The song begins with some quotes (I believe from his uncle) and then gets into the song whose lyrics were provided by Shmuel Marcus again. The best part of this song could very well be the bridge with the lyrics “Hustle, You’ve got to hustle Yossel, Hustle,Yossel, move a muscle.” A legendary song for the ages. Shkoiach BSB!
Fill The World With Light– Composed by Yitzy Berry and with lyrics helped by Shmuel Marcus again, the title track definitely deserves it. Mixing Hebrew with English is no easy feat and to do it so seamlessly is a special talent that Benny really uses well. Music for this song was provided by PlayMasters and Ian Freitor again, and the strong low lyrics combined with it’s equally nice high part really make this song incredible. I also happen to think Benny’s voice on auto tune is quite good.
Kulam Sharim– We’ve all been listening to this incredible song since the summer but it still deserves a spot on this album. It was composed by Eli Klein and Yitzy Berry (they are all over this album). It’s a disco and has a really good electronic beat from PlayMasters and Ian Freitor. There’s also a great guitar solo from Avi Singolda.
Meloich– Composed by the legendary Yossi Green, this is the first real slow song on the album since song 2, which if you’re counting at home, was 5 songs ago. This is a classic YG song and with arrangements by Naftali Schnitzler, I can totally imagine this song on a Yiddish Nachas album. The choir on this song is Meshorerim. This is some good work from the whole team, from start to finish this song is amazing. It has the sound of the Benny we heard on Kol Haneshama Sheli.
Laasoik– This is a medium tempo song with a lot of brass by Jim Hynes. Its actually a very nice and fits with the words perfectly. It eve has a Bum Bum Bum in it! It was composed by Moshe Shmeel Deutsch and was arranged by Mendy Hershkowitz (used to be in Freilach Band). The coir for this one is Shira. A nice song with great arrangements.
Es Tzemach Dovid– Another slow song composed by Yossi Green, this one has its arrangements from Tzvi Blumenfeld of Blue Rhythm Label. I especially love the high part of this song but the Yiddish bridge is not so well placed as it goes straight into the low. Overall, though, a really good slow song to keep the count at 3 slow songs through 9 songs.
B’Sefer Chaim– We heard this song when it came out as a single around Elul time. It was composed by Eli Klein and in my opinion, not their best work. However, its still a solid song and on a 13 song album, its definitely good enough. Now is a good time to point out that Benny’s voice is getting better and better with every album. It’s so good right now.
Al Yishallel– This one was composed by the great composer Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz. It was arranged by Udi Damari and really stands out in this album as one of the better songs. Choir on this one is Shira and its tempo is like a faster fast kumzitz song. A really good song with a classsic ending.
Meheira– This album is not over yet! This one is a beauty from the stupendous Yitzy Waldner. A slow song with beautiful arrangements from Tzvi Blumenfeld, with strings provided by Ayal Shloach and co, and brass by Jim Hynes. This could definitely be a chuppah or dinner song. Really a special song, and Benny does a terrific job on it.
Kol Yemei Chayai– The final song composed by Elimelech Bumstein, its got a sick bass but I feel like the high part is missing something; its a drop too basic. The Hebrew lyrics were provided by Miriam Israeli. The arrangements were done by Eli Lishinsky. I like the chazzanus part and all the little shticklach. A nice way to end the album.
In conclusion, if you are a fan of Benny’s (and how can you not be?), what are you waiting for? Get it already. All Jewish music fans should add this album to their Benny Friedman collection, bc this one is a classic. This one is worth every cent.
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