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Songs for the depressed, followed by the hit parade
VIVA SARAH PRESS
12/10/2006
The soundtrack to the Israeli Music Channel soap opera Yeladot Raot (Mean Girls) provides a contrast to Basadot in almost every way.
GABRIEL BALACHSAN Basadot (Hatav Hashmini) Gabriel Balachsan's latest album, Basadot (The Fields), is the third in a trilogy, and not one for easy listening. The cover art features monsters and spooky trees, hinting at the darker material the listener will find on the CD. Balachsan's lyrics are dark indeed, confronting the musician's anxieties and fears throughout the album's nine tracks. Balachsan could be described as Israel's Nick Cave, offering songs about loneliness and his own self-destructive tendencies. Released several months back, none of Basadot's songs have made onto mainstream radio - missing the catchy hooks and repetitive lyrics of its competitors, this is a disc that clearly wasn't written with hit singles in mind. Balachsan has focused instead on crafting poignant lyrics about love ("Arisat Yahalom"), nightmares ("Aneno") and suicidal depression ("Etz Egoz"). Less like musical numbers and more like poetry, the album's songs require more than one read, and in many cases don't actually require any musical accompaniment. The lyrics stand on their own. Packed with honesty and passion, Basadot is more often disturbing than optimistic, though a bit of warmth occasionally finds its way onto the disc. Featuring high-quality musical arrangements and lyrics for those with an appreciation for Hebrew poetry, Basadot is a worthy follow-up to Balachsan's previous efforts, Rakavot and Hashanim Hayafot Shel Gabriel. YELADOT RAOT Soundtrack (Hed Arzi) The soundtrack to the Israeli Music Channel soap opera Yeladot Raot (Mean Girls) provides a contrast to Basadot in almost every way. A collection of singles that have nearly all appeared on radio playlists, the album includes a mix of pop (Shiri Maimon, Omer Barnea), classic folk (Ofra Haza, Chocolad Menta Mastik) and alternative rock (Terry Poison, Shai Nobelman). The compilation kicks off with four electro dance tracks by the the cast of Yeladot Raot and Poison. The music then switches to Israeli rock by the likes of Igi Waxman ("Mesacheket Im Bubot") and Korin Allal ("Ten Li Kzat Mimech"). A couple tracks later, listeners are taken back in time to classic Israeli folk pop by Haza ("Gabriel") and Chocolad Menta Mastik ("Makat Shemesh"). The album's weakest moments are provided by actors and models trying to prove their musical talents (series stars Barnea, Eliana Beckier and Nir Fridman). On the plus side, Yeladot Raot also includes songs by Nobelman, Tali Fine, PR Trooperz, and Josie Katz and Shmulik Kraus. The album is, in short, a bizarre mix of talents burned onto one CD, a purely sales-oriented package aimed at as wide a base of music fans as possible.
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