Sound — 10
Wow, talk about something nobody was expecting. In an era of pop-punk and synth-rock, who would have ever guessed that the next hot new band would have been a Hassidic Jew from Brooklyn singing reggae? His sound is a mix of old school Bob Marley reggae, a slight touch of seventies rock and roll that comes out on the tracks Youth and King Without A Crown, and a dash of Israeli folk music sprinkled over every track. Although he is being very much over commercialized as of late, that does not take away from the fact that his sound is unique and refreshing.
Lyrics — 6
The lyrics are heavily influenced by his Judaism study. The song Medley is the best example of this with lyrics such as Burn the sacrifice of pride/And ride on to mount Zion. The thing that bothers me about the Matisyahu's delivery, while very upbeat and catchy, is the feeling that he is trying to impose his believes onto the listener. He does not talk about his experiences, he just tells the listener what not to do and it makes me feel like I'm eight years old again, sitting in Hebrew school class, and trying not to die of boredom while an old man tells me how great God is. I feel that I can't listen to the album more than once in a while or I'll never be able to listen to the album again.
Overall Impression — 8
Despite all the preaching and the over commercialization, Youth is still a remarkable album that definitely deserves a listen at least once. Even if you usually do not like reggae, you still may like this album because of how different it is than normal reggae albums. If I lost this album, I think I would have to buy it again just to have this unique piece of musical history in my collection. Although most people seem to treat him like a sideshow oddity, the Crown Prince Of Tel Aviv will persevere to do what he does best, and try to become more than a two hit wonder.