Light

Album Review of Light by Matisyahu.

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Light

Matisyahu

Light by Matisyahu

Release Date: Aug 25, 2009
Record label: Sony
Genre(s): Reggae

64 Music Critic Score
How the Music Critic Score works

Light - Fairly Good, Based on 5 Critics

AllMusic - 80
Based on rating 8/10
80

As an American Hasidic Jewish reggae superstar, Matisyahu is an obvious outsider. After a debut album that felt live plus a follow-up album that was recorded live, the singer's ambition to do more with the studio presentation of his music left any sensible packaging up to the producer. The mismatch with fellow mystic Bill Laswell caused 2006's Youth to wander and sprawl, but industry vet David Kahne handles much of Light, and the difference is huge.

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The Guardian - 60
Based on rating 3/5
60

Awhite, American Hassidic Jew singing reggae isn't the most obvious candidate for superstardom, but this hasn't stopped Matthew Miller becoming a big US star following 2006's Youth. Other countries haven't been quite as enthusiastic, which Light – released in the US a year ago – is meant to change. He's aiming for a wider crossover audience with a blend of dancehall, rap and rock guitar solos.

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PopMatters - 50
Based on rating 5/10
50

While cool rasta rhythms, bouncy riffs, and catchy hooks populated rap-reggae maestro Matisyahu’s two previous albums, his third faith-laced major-label release Light might be a bit of a puzzlement to fans. It ditches, almost entirely, the signature reggae roots, and uncomfortably flirts with other genres, incorporating brash rock guitars, and flashy, bass-bumping hip-hop production. Light is produced by David Kahne, whose repertoire includes such credits as ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, Sublime, and the Strokes, and features a host of different collaborators, including the Glitch Mob’s Ooah, reggae supermen Sly and Robbie, songwriter Trevor Hall, and acclaimed Jamaican producer Stephen McGregor to name a few.

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Paste Magazine
Their review was positive

Having struggled to find middle ground between refining his novelty for a wider audience and retaining his reggae and hip-hop flourishes on 2006’s Youth, Matisyahu’s third album finds him caught between returning to his core and pushing further into the mainstream. The surprise is that the world’s leading (and only) Orthodox Jewish dancehall star actually succeeds by doing the latter, enlisting producer David Kahne (Sublime, Paul McCartney) and an eclectic cast of reggae all-stars (Sly & Robbie, Stephen McGregor), creating an album loaded with oversized guitars, electronic beats and anthemic choruses. Reggae and spiritual self-improvement remain Matisyahu’s foundation, but they’re increasingly buried in the mix, allowing him to focus on his developing ear as a pop songwriter (the soulful “I Will Be Light” and the pitch-shifted hookery of “Struggla”).

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Paste Magazine
Their review was negative

Having struggled to find middle ground between refining his novelty for a wider audience and retaining his reggae and hip-hop flourishes on 2006’s Youth, Matisyahu’s third album finds him caught between returning to his core and pushing further into the mainstream. The surprise is that the world’s leading (and only) Orthodox Jewish dancehall star actually succeeds by doing the latter, enlisting producer David Kahne (Sublime, Paul McCartney) and an eclectic cast of reggae all-stars (Sly & Robbie, Stephen McGregor), creating an album loaded with oversized guitars, electronic beats and anthemic choruses. Reggae and spiritual self-improvement remain Matisyahu’s foundation, but they’re increasingly buried in the mix, allowing him to focus on his developing ear as a pop songwriter (the soulful “I Will Be Light” and the pitch-shifted hookery of “Struggla”).

Full Review >>