HO HO WHO: Hasidic reggae’s (only) hero shoots for a holiday classic with a Jewish twist. Matisyahu has been rocking the yarmulke and toasting about Yahweh to the jam band kids for a few years now, and it’s only natural that he would release a Hebrew-flavored seasonal track.
LATKES AND KUGEL: The Sleigher is stoked to review Hannukah singles, despite their relative rarity. In this case, we get a catchy, triumphant pop hook about miracles that kippah-covered heads can nod to when everyone else seems to be hangin’ out with an old fat guy wearing red robes. If nothing else, it’s nice to have anything other than the dreidel song stuck in your head for eight straight days.
AFTER THE GEFILTE FISH: The trouble with the track is its surprising similarities to The Black Eyed Peas instead of Burning Spear. The bearded disciple of Jah usually relies on syncopation and roots -riddims rather than highly processed, radio-friendly sheen, but here it sounds like he oh-so-badly wants his voice heard in department store elevators and crowded food courts. While it’s admirable that he’d seek to expand beyond the reaches of his stoner-friendly cult following, the hyper-produced shopping mall vibe he ends up with isn’t quite The Sleigher’s cup of Manischewitz.
CHEER FACTOR: 5/10. Matisyahu gets an A for effort and an F for execution, which averages out to 50 percent.
WATCH: Matisyahu “Miracle”