Then Eli Gerstner came along and released The Chevra. With its disregard to meaningful lyrics and its focus on pop beats instead of the traditional trumpets , The Chevra was a game changer. It became the-then-fastest-selling album in Jewish music, as preteens and teens finally found music that appealed to them. While some traditional artists tried to teach things through their music and others tried to inspire, The Chevra did neither - and was all the better for it. With their mega-hit Yehei, The Chevra showed that they understood that not always did you need music to inspire you. Sometimes you just needed music to unwind and have a good time. Sometimes, you needed music to be fun.
Unfortunately, with the exception of The Chevra 2 and Eli Gerstner's other group Tek-Noy (the other Chevra sequels unfortunately changed their musical style), there has been a major lack of fun Jewish music since The Chevra's debut - despite The Chevra's sales record showing the huge market for it.
Although Nachas Vol 2 is quite obviously his second album (or maybe not that obvious ever since Shmuly Unger released a debut entitled Shmuly 2) it is far superior to his first one. His first album, B'schar Zeh, was a mix of musical styles and a compendium of singles previously released with some new songs thrown in, and it was hard to tell where Nachas was going musically. But even on that album, two songs stood out - Feel the Music and Badaboom. The common denominator in those two songs: They were fun. Fun in a way not heard since Yehei.
While no one will ever accuse Nachas of being a virtuoso - and auto-tune does figure prominently in some of the songs on his albums - one thing Nachas has that a lot of other singers lack is business sense. After seeing what songs were hits in his first album, Nachas went and produced a whole album consisting entirely of songs in that style. The result is an album of hits. And unlike in many other Jewish music reviews, this time it's not a cliche.
Nachas Vol 2: Emes is an album full of fun songs. Very fun songs. Every song - and I mean every - will have you jumping out of your seats and dancing. (Emes, the title track, is the only slow song in the album - and the only song I skipped when listening to it.) Nearly all the songs were arranged by Jewish EDM master Sruly Broncher (of Bas Kol fame). Lehoidois, the first track, starts with a catchy chorus. Melech Elyon has the best tune on an album already full of a great tunes. (Another one of Nachas's huge talents - finding great hits by famed Jewish composers that other so-called JM superstars passed on.) Am Segula's high part will get stuck in your head. And Dance Floor - my personal favorite - has the best hook and drop of any Jewish song I've heard since Hashem Melech. The biggest problem on this album is that all the songs are so good not one will stand out.
While none of the songs on Emes can be called "inspirational" and the English lyrics are not just merely cringeworthy but actually cringy, it doesn't matter. Because the album is all about having a good time. And while Nachas is certainly no MBD or Fried, it won't be their albums on repeat in camps and their songs playing by Bar Mitzvahs, but rather Nachas's. Because, like The Chevra, whose spirit Nachas seems to be channeling in this album, whatever some say he lacks in vocal talent is more than made up for by being fun.
Nachas Vol 2: Emes, was released June 5th and is available on Mostly Music, as well as on Amazon and streaming services.
Check out a great interview with Nachas by Yossi Zweig here.