Matisyahu’s second installment, Youth can be described in an alliteration phrase: a slump and snore. The album overflows with repetitive and preachy metaphors of Judaism and Zion. If one is looking to music as an escape, which most do, then the listener is bound to feel trapped with this preachy sophomore effort.
The album is such a disappointing piece of work compared to one of the greatest live albums of 2005, Live at Stubb’s. His first album release had irreplaceable energy from the audience and performer. This quickly dwindles upon the album’s first track “Fire of Heaven/Altar of Earth.” Also missing are the non-stop head bopping and finger snapping the listener finds on Live at Stubb’s.
The production and quality of music is mastered in Youth while Matisyahu’s lyrical content was left behind in the creative process of “stepping up his game.” The lyrics are more preachy than innovative: “Fear nobody but his majesty/For you I wait silently/It seems that you believe in me.” The album does, however, meticulously execute typical reggae sounds such as hollow drums and echoed guitar strums, showcasing Matisyahu’s appreciation of the music genre.
Industry and listener expectations were not extraordinarily high for the Hassidic Jew dub singer. The musicianship itself is still strong but the lyrical content is what becomes repetitive; unfortunately not gradually, but immediately. Listeners are bombarded with reminders of current world disasters and events and offered no musical escape.