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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Matisyahu review

Hi all, I usually don't do this, but I would like to share with you an interesting comment (see original page) from this guy called Avalon. Feel free to read his comment and my response. Please, add you opinion too, I would very much like to hear other thoughts too.

Avalon said...
I just saw Matisyahu on the PBS series "The Jewish Americans". I had heard of him, but I have never seen him perform or heard his music and lyrics. Intrigued, I read about him in Wikipedia and was curious to read his lyrics, so here I am. I am Jewish gay man in his early 60s. My parents were Polish Jews, lefties, who survived the Holocaust by fleeing to Portugal. They came to Canada in 1944, and I was born in 1945. I have never been a fan of Hip Hop or Rap Music. It's much too angry for me; it's not lyrical. It's homophobic, macho posturing, embraces gun culture and violence against women. I actually find it to be ugly music and I never listen to it. I do love reggae, Bob Marley. I find Matisyahu's lyrics narcissistic: it's all about him and his spiritual journey. I also find his lyrics unfocused and incoherent. He seems more interested in coming up with a rime at the expense of any meaning. The odd image is good, but too personal for this reader to understand. Using that other Jew, Bob Dylan, as a measuring stick, his lyrics hardly measure up. Using Bob Marley as a touchstone, his lyrics don't measure up either. I haven't heard Matusyahu's music, so maybe his focus is more on music than lyrics. Nevertheless, as an idea, I do find what Matisyau is doing very interesting: combining Chasidic music with reggae and rap. Obviously, a Jewish gay man in his early 60s is not his target audience. Maybe someone of Tony Kushner's vintage would be less critcial than I am.

Here is my reply:
First of all, thank you for your honest comment. I have a few things to say:

1. Narcissistic? Telling the world about his spiritual journey is being narcissistic? I don't think so, and saying: "it's all about him and his spiritual journey", is just not true, you obviously did not read the lyrics of other songs, go to the Matisyahu lyrics page and read some other lyrics, like Jerusalem, Exaltation, Dispatch the Troops and others.

2. Rimes are important in hip hop and rap.

3. You have never heard Matisyahu? It's your lucky day; you can download Matisyahu music legal and free from eMusic.

4. I would like to hear your opinion once you have listened to his music.

5. You are right: "a Jewish gay man in his early 60s is not his target audience", that is if you feel like one. Some other 60 year old people with a young spirit might enjoy it.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, I think no artist should ever be compared to another. If everyone held the same standards there would be no variation, something music thrives off of. Bob Dylan defined a generation, Bob Marley's music healed and shed light on love and peace, both so different, both appreciated for what they're worth. Matisyahu is a musician who creates beautiful songs to share his personal journey. Which brings me to my second comment which is about 'Narcissism'; not that I think his lyrics are the SLIGHEST bit self indulgent, but who is anyone to say it shouldn't be. It's his gift/story/spititual journey that he is choosing to share with us. It might be something that we can learn from, or something that hurt him and he needs to release (and music is how he heals). Regardless, it's coming from his heart and his soul and if you listen to "Time of Your Song", I couldn't have asked for a better gift in the world. It's just perfect. Maybe you're right Avalon. Maybe Matisyahu isn't for you, but that would be unfortunate because his music should be interpreted on a universal level. Maybe you should take a deep breath and try again. And btw, who is Tony Kushner?? I must have missed that one.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Tolovana said...

I am 50, and I find Matisyahu's music to touch me in ways I was not expecting. I listen to a wide range of music - I always have, classical, pop, electronic, country, dance, folk. . extending to music in languages I couldn't understand but touched me in a way that was beyond words. The beyond words is where the real music is, the part that makes my soul tingle and my heart expand, and that is where "One day" takes me.

9:57 PM  

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