Matisyahu, "Light"

Album Review

While it may be difficult to see a Hasidic Jewish reggae artist as little more than a novelty act, Matisyahu proved that he was anything but with "King Without a Crown" (which peaked at No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 2006) from his second album, "Youth." Matisyahu's third studio album, "Light," finds him revisiting the teachings of his Jewish faith, but also pushing musical boundaries behind traditional reggae. The new set dips into everything from effects-riddled hip-hop ("Smash Lies") to guitar-driven rockers ("Darkness Into Light") and stripped-down acoustic tunes ("Silence"). The first single, "One Day," is Matisyahu's most accessible song to date, offering a soaring and anthemic chorus. He may still sport the same look, but stylistically his new music proves that he's not a one-trick pony. --Jill Menze