As the lead singer of the Israeli band Teapacks, Kobi Oz was a wild, adrenalized vaudevillian. Most famously, in 2007, he scandalized the Eurovision music competition with a song about Iran’s nuclear capabilities called “Push the Button.” But Oz’s new solo CD Mizmorey Nivuchim (“Psalms for the Perplexed”) is surprisingly low-key–dominated by acoustic guitars, soft drums, and a string section.
The real treat of Mizmorey is a website with interviews, translations, and videos that explain the puns, language, and background of each song. Some songs are playful–“Prayer of the Secular” and “Zalman” question the piety of both religious and non-religious Jews–while the poignant “Elohay” (“My God”) mixes recordings of Oz’s grandfather singing traditional Yemenite songs with Kobi’s own lyrics.
Still, Oz hasn’t lost his ironic sensibility and snarky wit. And thanks to the Mizmorey website, we English-speakers can get the jokes, too.