Friday, February 04, 2005

Craimer



Album can be previewed/purchased at Mostly Music

Reviewer: Mindy

I first heard of Shimon Craimer a couple of years ago when someone posted a link to his web site (now defunct). I listened to his first track – don’t remember now what it was – and liked it. And I thought to myself, “Poor dude, another Brit who thinks he can make it in the JM world…” English boys have had a very hard time breaking into the business, don’t know why. When I heard a little later that Yossi Green was taking him on, my hopes for him rose but I was still skeptical how a young man from England would “make it” in American-based JM. Then when I heard that he’s moving to Riverdale, I told myself, “That’s it!” :)

Although I did not see him perform at the Hospice concert, I heard that he made an excellent impression. So after a couple of years of waiting and constant promises of ‘it’ll be out soon’, we finally have ourselves the album CRAIMER!

I heard Shimon on JM in the AM and he seems a pleasant fellow, not to mention ‘wickedly’ funny and very ‘clever’. Ha! I always loved British slang – as well as the accent, and I laughed so hard when Shimon referred to his three boys as ‘gorgeous’ on the cd insert. When we Americans hear ‘gorgeous’, we think of beautiful blonde curls and luminous blue eyes… in Britspeak, gorgeous means something else entirely. :) Perhaps other Brits will enlighten us. :)

Anyway, I’ve listened to CRAIMER as much as possible since receiving it on Friday, and to whatever I had already heard on the radio, and here are my comments:

Overall it’s an outstanding production. Shimon has a strong, pleasant, high voice, and he injects a real warmth into his singing. The compositions are solid Yossi Green, and the music – just WOW. With Yossi Tyberg’s input and expertise, the music ended up being a mix of the classic traditional and real new age rocky stuff. I love it! I guess you can say that the collaboration of Yossi Green, Yossi Tyberg and Shimon Craimer, produced… Green Tea with Creamer :-D (No, it’s not my original joke). Shimon graduated from the Royal Academy of Music and is the chazzan at the Riverdale Jewish Center, so he is no newbie at this stuff. He is just a previously unknown act waiting to be displayed to the Jewish Music consumer.


On to the songs:

~1~
Song: Adir Ayom
Composed by: Yossi Green
My rating: 10
General: Shimon’s “British” accent is evident with the way he pronounces his ‘l’s and ‘r’s, which makes it all the more endearing. It’s a solid beginner, a hit which pulls you into the rest of the album.
Positives: I LOVE this song. The beat, the music, the tune – you are just transported into some otherworldly sphere when listening to it. I don’t know the classification for this beat, but it’s really perfect – modern and sophisticated yet not goyish-sounding. Yossi is heard strongly in the background vocals and it adds a lot to the song. I fell in love with the song as soon as I heard it.
Negatives: The only negative comment I have with this song is that the words seem a little too awe-provoking – “Adir Ayom V’Nora” for such a lebedik song.

~2~
Song: Ilon Ilon
Composed by: Yossi Green
My rating: 7.75
General: Nachum Segal raised a great question to Yossi: did he feel qualified to take on such a classic as “ilon” and try to create his own classic? Yossi answered in the affirmative, but only time will tell if this song will indeed wend its way into the classics of the next generation.
Positives: It took a while for this song to grow on me. It’s a nice song, but not my favorite on the album.
Negatives: Don’t kill me, but I am just not crazy over this song…yet It’s just too… predictable for me. Every line in the song had me singing the next line before it came on. It was just too easy. No crazy highs, unpredictable twists, awesome heartfelt kvetches… a nice, easy, singable song.

~3~
Song: Nichsefa
Composed by: Yigal Calek
My rating: 10
General: Oh baby! This was the first song I heard on the album – on Five Towns Radio – and was smitten instantly! It’s my favorite fast song on the album, along with Adir Ayom. Shimon pays homage to his British roots by offering us a remake of a forgotten Yigal Calek classic, albeit updated and modernized.
Positives: What an amazing song! The tune will have you tapping long after the song has ended. The music is just fantastic. It’s got that accordion sound, which is not a very oft-heard sound in Jewish music. The beat is also something unusual in JM – I wish I knew its proper name.
Negatives: I’m sure Shimon, Yossi and everyone reading this will be thrilled that I have nothing negative to say on this song :).

~4~
Song: Vhu KChoson
Composed by: Yossi Green
My rating: 7.75
General: As I felt after the Ohad album, I think Yossi Green’s strength recently has begun to be more evident in his fast songs as opposed to the slow ones. While I loved the fast songs on the album, the slow ones have yet to really grow on me. Perhaps it is simply the fact that a solo album bores me more quickly and the slow songs begin to sound the same after a while. Nevertheless it is a solid song with a lot of heart.
Positives: This is a soft song with the potential for becoming a ‘wedding meal’ repertoire song. Shimon’s true range is exercised as he has to hit some truly high notes, which he does effortlessly.
Negatives: As noted above, I need to listen to the album a bit more to truly appreciate this song.

~5~
Song: Zeh Shir Shevach
Composed by: Yossi Green
My rating: 8.5
General: Here we go with another great, catchy fast song. Lebedige, fun Shabbos Zmiros song.
Positives: I always love songs with Yossi singing along in them, and this song is no exception. Shimon also hits some high notes in the song, showing off the true prowess of his voice. There is some cool shtick halfway through the song with simulated clapping and stuff.
Negatives: It is a rather predictable song, but at least it makes it easy to sing along with.

~6~
Song: Shifchi
Composed by: Shimon Craimer & Yossi Green
My rating: 8
General: Nice, relaxing slow song. I like the soft Yossi Green backup and the original Yossi Green acapella.
Positives: Very nice musical intro of flute and piano. Shimon really puts his heart into this piece and I can see this being a future kumzitz song. Very relaxing song which puts you into a mellow mood.
Negatives: See what I wrote to the above slow songs :)

~7~
Song: Mehairo
Composed by: Yitzy Waldner
My rating: 9
General: After I got over the original disappointment about the high part sounding like a Hillary Duff song – which someone in the production told me was purely coincidental – I really began liking this song.
Positives: As with the other fast songs on the album, the music is catchy and up-to-date. So are the tune and the beat. Another excellent wedding-type song which definitely has a future.
Negatives: Since I’ve harped on this song enough due to the above-mentioned similarity, I think no more negativity is necessary :).

~8~
Song: V’Chol HaChaim
Composed by: Yossi Green
My rating: 10
General: I haven’t heard this song enough times to really form an opinion. As you imagine, it is a slow song.
Positives: Shimon exercises all the beautiful nuances of his voice in this song. The music is also really beautiful.
Negatives: None to enumerate besides my continuing struggle with the slow songs on the album.

~9~
Song: Ki Heim Chayeinu
Composed by: Yossi Green
My rating: 10
General: In keeping with the tone of the fast songs on the album, this is another masterpiece. It’s full of shtick and surprises and will keep you on your toe from beginning to end.
Positives: As I said the song is very shticky… Remember Yossi Green’s piece at the beginning of Dedi’s “Ki Heim”? This song has something similar, and it fills you with great vibes of that hit song! The music is solid and pumping. At one point the music mimics a tape being played backwards – it’s really cool. Yossi sings a lot in this song and harmonizes as well. It’s a very high-spirited song. I love it… as I said this album is full of great fast songs.
Negatives: Nothing noticeable to comment negatively on.

~10~
Song: Im Eshkochech
Composed by: Yisroel Craimer
My rating: 7
General: The album ends off with a soothing, somber reminder of Yerushalayim.
Positives: The song is only 4 ½ minutes long so it doesn’t tire you. The violin/cello music is emotional and beautiful.
Negatives: I think I’ve been negative enough with the slow songs on the album so I’ll desist for now :).


I realized upon completing the review that I might come across a little overly negative… Don’t worry, I love the album, and I’m sure the slow songs will grow on me over time. And even if they don’t, they will surely grow on you! Craimer has a beautiful voice, the compositions are top-notch, and the music is never-heard-before spectacular. A true masterpiece and a must-get!

If anyone has additional positive reviews on CRAIMER, please feel free to speak up!

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