» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

Rating: 4.5/10 ?

May 19, 2006
On his new album Youth, Matisyahu somehow manages to combine everything that is wrong with pop music today into one big, steaming pile of dog shit - which is weird, because normally it's impossible to transform music into something that is physically tangible. I mean, my room still smells like canine excrement - and it's been three days! OK, so maybe I'm exagerating a bit - the album isn't really that bad - but the image of dog browns paints a fairly accurate picture and, hey, an album that looks and smells like poop because it's so abysmal is rather hilarious, right?

The process of reviewing this album was made extra tough by the fact that I actually like Matisyahu. He seems like a nice person and, more than that, the popularity of his song "King Without A Crown" on MTV has really opened up a lot of doors for Jews like me. It used to be that I got mocked whenever I wore my fake curls - now I get comments like "I really appreciate what you're doing man... that's cool, real cool." Yes, for the first time, Judaism has become hip with the gentiles.

For anyone questioning the awesomeness of this feat, remember that established Jewish musicians in this country have traditionally kept their Hebrew sides on the d-l. Matisyahu has done the opposite and garnered success by bringing his Hasidic background to the forefront.

"But I love Matisyahu because his music is good, not because he's a Heb!"

Funny. Would Matisyahu ever have been invited onto the Jimmy Kimmel show if he was Jamaican? Would his massive fan base have developed if millions hadn't seen him on said show, beatboxing and trading barbs with Scott Baio? Probably not.

It's not that I don't appreciate what the man has done for me and my peoples - I'm just pretty sure that there are plenty of superior reggae artists out there kicking themselves for missing the dress-up-as-a-Hasidic-Jew train.

Still, Ol' Matis' isn't completely without merit; for all of his blandness he is quite tuneful and, unlike most popular artists, he doesn't cram his albums full of pointless filler. Unfortunately, Youth is a lot worse than it should be, thanks in large part to his attempts to appeal to a broader audience.

Allow me to elaborate. When one listens to Youth, in addition to the standard watered-down reggae there are treats of 2-cent hip-hop beats, pretentious "look at me, I'm trippy" synths, and superfluous nu-metal solos. The inclusion of these elements is contrived, distracting, and ultimately laughable. Yet various pundits have been quick to call it musical growth. I call it the equivalent of swimming around in a pool full of shit (again - hilarious!) and pretending like it is a good time.

It doesn't help matters any that his lyrics are as vapid as usual.

"You got the freedom to choose/ better make the right move," Matisyahu preaches on the album's title track. I don't know about you, but after hearing that I stopped making the wrong moves - whatever those may habe been - and finally stood up to my parents, and overcame poverty!

Or not.

Things don't get much better. Most of the songs here are about how much Matisyahu loves God, a subject that quickly begins to bore and irritate, especially with lyrics like "I want to be close to You/ Yes I'm so hungry/ You're like water for my soul when it gets thirsty." If Matisyahu is trying to make people jealous of how devout he is, he's failing.

Man, fuck religion if it's going to make a guy sound that corny!

Reviewed by Roy Schwartz
Currently enrolled in the journalism program at the very illustrious University of Missouri, Roy Schwartz felt like writing some album reviews in attempt to justify the obscene amounts of time he wastes listening to music.

See other reviews by Roy Schwartz



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