Album Reviews

Matisyahu – Spark Seeker

on July 16, 2012, 7:59am
MatisyahuSparkSeeker C+
Release Date

As Matisyahu blogged back in December, he no longer resembles a long-lost, Jewish ZZ Top frontman. In his latest video, he looks happy, healthy, and quite normal sans beard, with a handsome head of short, blonde hair. He said he’s reclaiming himself, relaxing on the religion, and trusting his “goodness and divine mission.” As a result, we have Spark Seeker, the 13-track album, produced by Kool Kojak (Ke$ha, Nicki Minaj), and recorded internationally, more specifically New York, LA, and Israel.

The record includes some feel-good pop songs, including “Live Like A Warrior”, an empowering, do-whatever-the-hell-you-want anthem (“Today, today, live like you wanna/ Let yesterday burn and throw it in a fire”). “Sunshine”, a track of buoyant beats, fits a similar mold: The verses may at first feel disarmingly poppy, but Matisyahu’s trademark reggae raps traverse into a chorus that could belong to anyone in the Top 40. His fans might not be down with with the more mainstream sound, but the attitude he’s recently adopted–that spending ten years immersed in Judaism did a lot for him, yet he’s ready to be whoever he damn well feels like–is infectious, as he sings, “I believe in love, yeah/ Now I’m free.”

The layering of the US-recorded songs with additional Israeli sounds and instruments gives the album the Matisyahu feel that followers have come to expect. Plus, on what other album does one find Hebrew croons that become English raps, everything segueing into extraterrestrial-sounding effects (album opener “Crossroads”)? Or guest vocals from an ex-convict turned Orthodox Jew (Shyne on “Buffalo Solider and “King Crown of Judah”)? Or a smooth-jazz sax that rivals the solo on Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory” (“Summer Wind”)?

Many will dwell on the musician’s new look, but they shouldn’t. As he wrote of ridding himself of his beard, “just as when I was 18 and I shaved my dreadlocks to let go of my identity, I felt as if I was returning to a time prior to religion or rules or right and wrong.” Who can say they were the same person five or 10 years ago as they are now? As Jesse Pinkman would say to Mr. Matthew Paul Miller: Mad props, yo.

Essential Tracks: “Crossroads”, “I Believe In Love”


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July 29, 2012 at 2:59 pm

You all are rediculous. I have been a fan since day one and this may be his best album to date. Shake off your stigma to artists growing. Listen deeper; he is delivering a message. I have not heard an entire album in years that is as uplifitng and motivating as Spark Seeker. Every single song is spectacular and half the album will have me listening on repeat for months.
I saw him w/ Dirty Heads a few weeks back, pripr to his album release and he sang Sunshine, Live Like a Warrior and I Belive in Love. I was astonished by how much I liked those 3 songs live with never hearing them.
Kick a$$ Matis. Rock on

August 1, 2012 at 10:13 am

I like Matisyahu even if i consider this album as worst. In my opinion a song must consist of different parameters as a melody and, if it is possible, a good message.
Even if there is a good message (good messages) in each song i feel that these songs lack in melodies and “care”. Sunshine and i believe in love are wonderful but the others are “flat” and “dirty”. I consider this album as an “experiment” in the growth of Matis. Nothing more. I live in Europe and would like to see Matisyahu live.
For me is not a question of look nor style. For me is not a very good work.
I still like Matis.

July 22, 2012 at 5:25 pm

longtime fan, caught off guard by the sound but am beginning to shake off the electronic stigma, seeing him in concert tomorrow and i’m really hoping dub trio can make this album into a hit live

Alex Piñón
July 21, 2012 at 12:39 am

I’ve been a long time Matisyahu fan since Live at Stubb’s and I’ve got to agree that I was a bit disappointed with the majority of this album. I’m wondering if there is any correlation with the fact that the new producer has represented some of the worst music of the decade (i.e. Nicki MInaj…Ke$ha??? Really??). On the positive side, there are a few tracks to enjoy like Live Like a Warrior, Sunshine, and I Believe in Love; all others are pretty much “filler songs” with cliche sounds. Hopefully Matis is just experimenting with his music and retreats to his old sound.

B. Boop
July 20, 2012 at 3:54 am

Matisyahu is still awesome and hotter. I give him a lot of credit for shedding the old look and finding his OWN identity. It’s Ok to be true to yourself and have a great relationship with god.

July 18, 2012 at 10:18 am

I’m a fun of Matisyahu.
I’m sorry, so sorry, but this album is the worst among all Albums of Matisyahu.
Too much “electronic”, sounds are too dirty. We can save 2 songs, sunshine and ibelieve in love.
I would like to say that I like the old matisyahu’s old style. This album is not at same level as others.
No. This is not Matis.

My rating: 2 stars. No more no less.


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