Matisyahu: Spark Seeker
Matisyahu has made some big changes since his last album; the problem is there was very little room for improvement. Ditching the alternative rock edge that made 2009’s Light a success, in favor of electronic beats may have been the fatal mistake that did this album in. While Spark Seeker is hardly a weak effort, it is overshadowed by the drastic change in style. The album itself is above average, but after seeing Matisyahu’s previous work, it pales in comparison. That is not to say this is not a good album, it is merely saying that it had the chance to be better.
The album begins with “Crossroads” a cut with a Middle Eastern beat wrapped around an odd lyrical flow. Still, things improve in a hurry, with “Sunshine,” a catchy summer song with a great pop hook. Matisyahu throws it down hard on this track which shows the definite potential to be a hit. The next two tracks “Searchin” and “Buffalo Soldier” are unremarkable, as they possess heavy electronic beats which tend to feel overproduced and unnecessary. “Fire of Freedom” has an upbeat backing with perfectly flowing raps, proving to be the best track of the album’s first half. “I Believe in Love” is a ballad with a great groove to it, showing the diversity of Matisyahu’s style. “Breathe Easy” is a fast paced track with a great pop beat, think Damien Marley meets Maroon 5. “Live like a Warrior” is an inspirational song with a heavy beat to accompany its uplifting message. The album tends to stumble towards the end with a few clunky and forgettable tracks, but that is erased by the closing track, which proves to be its best, “Shine on You.” The track is laid over a jazzy summer style beat, serving as the perfect ending for the album. If only the whole album could be this good.
To call this album average would be insulting, as it is clearly above that status. Still, it is filled with clunky, overproduced electronic beats which overpower the lyrics and vocals that Matisyahu puts so much effort into crafting. The album is still considered a strong effort, and one which fans might still support, but fans also know that Matisyahu is capable of more than he put down on this album. The album is a B+ when it could have been an A.
MP3: Matisyahu “Shine on You”
Buy: iTunes or Insound! vinyl