While Jews wrote many of the pop-music standards that for decades have been the usual fare of Christmas albums, the newly produced Hanukkah+ is the first of its kind for the Festival of Lights. Rivki Silver writes in her review:
The album’s one and only traditional Hanukkah song is the movie star Jack Black’s acapella-meets-metal rendition of “Oh Hanukkah.” . . . Despite the variety of styles on the album, ranging from Yo La Tengo’s Bossa nova “Eight Candles” to the Watkins Family Hour bluegrass cover of Woody Guthrie, it still feels cohesive. Not to be missed is [the all-Jewish band] HAIM’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s 1984 classic “If It Be Your Will.”
For Silver, only one track struck a false note:
The great folksinger Loudon Wainwright III acknowledges that as a non-Jew, he’s out of his element. . . . His “Eight Nights a Week” is a rollicking and enjoyable ragtime swing, with oil, latkes, and menorahs, but did we really need the Christmas trees? And few listeners will appreciate the comparison of the miracle of the oil lasting eight nights to the New Testament’s miracle of the loaves and fishes. Can we not have just one little Jewish space for ourselves?
Read more on Jewish Review of Books: https://jewishreviewofbooks.com/uncategorized/6340/stemming-the-yuletide/