Local Wire

Matisyahu @ Maya Day and Nightclub

It's only partially Matisyahu's fault that all his interests conspired to make him the perfect poster to hang next to Bob Marley in your freshman dorm room. That is, lots of teenagers and young adults find meaning and truth in following Phish around and reconnecting with the family traditions and (yes) in listening to a lot of reggae while looking at a poster of Bob Marley. And it's only Matisyahu's fault inasmuch as he was the guy who synthesized all those college-experience touchstones into an incredibly buzzy album, 2006's jam-and-reggae-and-pop Youth. Since then, he's released some less-buzzed-about albums, cut back on the beatboxing a little, and — more recently — left Hasidism, shaving his beard and posting the resulting (unrecognizable) photo on Twitter. Which would leave his college-kid market a little less perfectly triangulated than it used to be, except that his most recent album, Spark Seeker, is influenced in part by ideas from Kabbalah. Religiously, it might be more syncretic than usual, but musically, you'll recognize it as a Matisyahu album: poppy, vaguely world music filled with uplift that signifies spiritual enlightenment, whether you wear your hair in sidelocks or not. Whether he wears his hair in sidelocks or not, too.

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Dan Moore