Song - Artist - Album
Living Room - Grouper - The Man Who Died In His Boat
Released: July 17, 2012
Record Label: Fallen Sparks Records
Genres: Reggae, Pop/Rock, International, Contemporary Reggae, Reggae-Pop, Jewish Music
Billboard Reggae Chart: #1
Significance of the title: Matisyahu’s Jewish devotion is present in all his music, which rings true for the title. In an interview, he explains that he got the idea from the Kabala, which it talks about Jewish mystics going to strange places to work with hidden sparks and uplift and connect them back to god, where they belonged. He draws a parallel between this and his music, saying that when he makes music it’s as if he’s redeeming and connecting these “sparks” to their point of elevation.
Spark Seeker is Matisyahu’s fourth album and reflects a bit of a transformation in the artist from the bearded long-lost look he possessed for his previous albums to the strikingly normal look he’s adopted. On this change, he commented saying he’s “reclaiming himself and relaxing on the religion [Judaism]”, which shows up in his more upbeat pop spin on his music in the new album. Spark Seeker was produced with Kool Kojak (Ke$ha and Nicki Minaj), and this collaboration allowed his sound to become more appealing to a mainstream audience. Tracks such as “Sunshine” or “Searchin” show resemblance to songs that artists like Train or Michael Franti would produce with such an electro-pop feel. Yet, Matisyahu stays true to his reggae-rapping style, especially in his quirky take on Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Soldier” in which heavy drumbeats, a flute, and a serious rap-breakdown replace the comparatively roots-sounding organ. Although a majority of the songs utilize electro beats and drum machines, the quality of his voice is left mostly untouched, which creates a satisfying balance.
To sum it up: As stated by the “All Music Guide”,“While both the sternly Chassidic and sternly roots reggae factions of his fanbase might find it disappointing, Spark Seeker holds plenty of life and appeal.” It is an album full of experimentation on where the direction of reggae can go, and evidently the possibilities are endless.