Monday, August 22, 2005

No sleep till Brooklyn

Matisyahu is very popular in San Diego. The La Jolla Tower Records prominently displays his live album; it was their top seller last week. Lou's Records in Encinitas is also promoting it. I have heard "King Without a Crown" a few times on FM 94.9, the local "classic alternative" radio station. What's going on in the rest of the country? Do any of you own the album?

He's the frat-boy reggae successor to Sublime, I think. There are a few differences: he is more dancehall than punk, he is probably not going to OD on heroin in a motel, and he is not going to write a bunch of lame-ass songs ripping off "The Chronic." Of course this may be bad for his career, but may be good for his soul.

The religious thing is uncomfortably personal. I felt the same way when I saw Jimmy Cliff last summer in Baltimore and he played "Rivers of Babylon." For that matter, Burning Spear reminds me of my Reform rabbi in high school, who was a huge fan. How do Muslims feel when they listen to Brand Nubian or the intro to "Mecca and the Soul Brother"? How about Christians and "Jesus Walks"? Maybe if Matisyahu sang more songs about weed, like the Klezmatics or Bob Marley, he'd be more palatable to close-minded Jews like me. Then again, I don't like the Klezmatics or Bob Marley and don't smoke weed, so there. Come to think of it, I hate psychedelia.

On a completely different note: check out this article in the Times Magazine. It reminded me of the 90's Yiddish culture craze and my own attempts to feel out my Jewish identity in college.

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