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Album Review

Matisyahu might get all the pop culture credit, being the first Hasidic rapper and all, but his album isn't actually all that interesting once one gets past the novelty aspect. On the other hand, the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Rav Shmuel's solo debut is an immediately likable bit of good-humored anti-folk that doesn't require the visuals — or even the knowledge that, yes, Rav Shmuel really is a Hasidic rabbi — to get across. Musically reminiscent of everyone from Barenaked Ladies (Rav Shmuel has a certain vocal resemblance to Steven Page) to Jack Johnson to the Moldy Peaches' Adam Green, Protocols is a likably shaggy folk-pop record filled with catchy acoustic guitar-based tunes and thoughtful but not hectoring lyrics. "Fatherland" is the most overtly spiritual song, with lyrics that question faith, but only in the same way that a devoted Star Wars fan will debate the specifics of whether Han or Greedo shot first. In other words, this is not a heavy record by any means, nor is it thematically forbidding for Gentiles. Much like the old slogan for Levy's Rye Bread used to say, you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy Rav Shmuel, but a fondness for laid-back, AAA folk-rock sure helps. (Also, extra points for the gutsy Elders of Zion joke implied in the title.)

Customer Reviews

5 Stars! This is the best album I have ever heard!

This truly is the best album I've ever heard. Every song is wonderful. Here are my ratings. 1. Dumb World (8/10). This song is great! It shows how stupid the world can be. Also, it has some great lyrics. 2. Somebody Else (10/10) This is one of the best songs I have ever heard. It's so true. Everyone wants to be somebody else. To sing like a mockingbird. Act in the theater. Everybody wants to be somebody else. And the oh's are a very good addition. 3. Big Talkers (9/10) This song proves that people can't do everything. Also, it gets stuck in your head easily. 4. I Feel Love (5/10) Not such a good song, but it's very nice. Good for a guy to sing to a girl if he loves her. 5. Protocols (10/10) So true. I have to suffer through anti-semetism, but Rav Shmuel doesn't take it too seriously in this song. 6. Realistic X (7/10) Not such a great song. It could help people that are feel like they need to do too much to get back to realistic expectations. 7. Last Chance (8/10) Not such a great song either, but it is good. Scat gets stuck in your head all day. Trust me. 8. Confused (9/10) It could be in a movie. I want to be enlightened. I want to amused. I want to be Jeane Dixon. But I'm only confused... 9. Social Suicide (10/10) Very good song. Social Suicide is something that no one should do because it's terrible and depressing to everybody. 10. Itinerant Plea (9/10) It's a good song. Kind of moving. 11. I Am Oxygen (10/10) One of my favorite songs on the album. It's very nice and inspiring to me. 12. Fatherland (10/10) A great conclusion to a hypnotizing and wonderful album by Rav Shmuel. BUY IT NOW!! IT'S SO GOOD!!! HELP ME!!! I CAN'T STOP LISTENING TO THESE SONGS!!!!!!!


Rav Shmuel is greatley talented and is halarious and creative. This album is a must buy on my list. Listen to the samples and you will buy this album!

Best thing I've heard all year

"Protocols" had me in stitches the first time I heard it. Great stuff, fun to listen to, and very thought-provoking, but definitely not recommended for people who suffer from an irony deficiency.

Protocols, Rav Shmuel
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Customer Ratings