View Full Version : CD review of Jake Shimabukuro's "Across the Universe"

01-06-2010, 07:55 PM
I'm sorry mods if this is in the wrong spot.

So I got this CD for Christmas and I LOVE it!The tone is great song selection is perfect and is just altogether neat. Here's my brief opinion and review of the album song by song:
Help!: Great song to start off the album. happy and upbeat, it really does go back to the fast, steady tempo of early Beatles songs. Makes you Wanna grab your uke, learn it, and jam with friends.
Norwegian Wood: My personal favorite of the entire album. Instead of the strings in the original song, it uses an acoustic guitar which keeps the same, earthy feel as the original. He replaces the sitar with the uke, again, keeping the earthly, natural sound in the song. The sound of the uke gives it a lighter voice which makes it more lively, yet the beat of the song it kept the same and so it helps the music from becoming too energetic. Beautiful rendition, again, my personal favorite.
All You Need Is Love:The Acoustic guitar accompanies this piece as well, this time from the beginning, providing a great harmony/bass line. This rendition is slightly different to me, more happier if you will. Very nice to read a book to, however not in the more "serious" tone of the original song. Nevertheless, very well produced.
Michelle: Very complex, but in a nice way ;) If you were to learn a song off this album I believe this would be the most difficult. Sounds it at least. Very calm yet almost a jazzy feel? Great rendition.
I Will: This rendition is cool because it gives 'I Will" a more sophisticated sound. While in the original it almost sounds country, Jake makes it sound like a beach song, one to watch waves to, and just a happy tune.
Yesterday: I was very exited to hear this since "Yesterday" is a favorite of mine. Spot on song! The vibrato and syncopated pauses create a great feel of desperation felt in the original. The quick pull-offs remind me of stuttering when you cry. Beautiful rendition.
Here, There, and Everywhere:The most peaceful song on the album. EASILY a lullaby, but I mean it in a positive way, not to insult the song to say its boring. I do have to say though, I was a bit sad because if I'm not mistaken its a direct copy from his "In My Life" EP... unfortunately disappointing, yet its still a beautiful song so I can't complain! :D
Let It Be: LOVE this version! Jake has ghost notes throughout giving a lively, proud performance. The use of dynamics is also very evident in this song, giving it strength. Beautiful solo as well, doesn't take away from the original song at ALL.
In My Life: Another song that is nice and peaceful. Similar to "Here There and Everywhere," it is slow and has many quiet notes making it a GREAT chill song. Also like "Here There and Everywhere" though, it is a copy-paste from the EP :(
Something: Great rendition! Jake takes it a bit slower than I thought he would, but it sounds great. Really gives you the feel of day-dreaming about a loved one... a guitar accompanies Jake at the middle/ending part of the song, giving a deeper, fuller sound, very nice.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps: Jake beats himself in how great this song is played. In this CD's version instead of a slower, then louder then faster style its ATTACK from the first notes and only gets faster and louder and harsher as he continues!! Crazy fast in his solo! the 3-Finger Roll? WOW.
Across the Universe: This is the Album name so I had BIG hopes for this one, yet when I heard it, I have to honestly admit (because I want this to be an honest review) I was saddened. I do NOT want to disrespect Cyndi Lauper, her music, or her fans, AT ALL, but I feel she was the wrong choice to sing this song. I honestly had expected an instrumental, yet Jake only plays the background... Again, no disrespect to Cyndi, but her style of singing distracted me from the song a bit. Its a song that should be smooth, floating and surreal, yet it seemed more earthly than I had hoped. Possibly I was disappointed because I built the song up in my head. Still a beautiful rendition, yet if you feel the song should be smooth as I do, you will understand why I feel it could be a bit better.
Happy X-mas (War Is Over): Jake teams up with the legendary Yo Yo Ma and its crazy awesome! There are times I'll admit that the cello is a bit louder than the uke, and POSSIBLY overbearing at times (depending on if you like the cello or not). I love it. The cello provides the long, graceful sounds like ice skating through the holidays while the uke gives high, quick, happy sounds like snowflakes, creating a winter wonderland in your head. And honestly, when two musical geniuses come together like this, there's no WAY it can awry.

Overall I would say the album is a perfect example of the creativity, talent, and soul of Jake Shimabukuro. His renditions are GREAT. They stay true to their roots, yet he gives them the edge on the uke, which give them new, and different life. He takes the already beautiful, and makes it new and wondrous again. If you can get ahold of this album DO IT!! I know on the his website it is $40! yes that's right $40, but it's SO GOOD. It is an import, so it is more expensive, but it is a wondrous piece of art, which at one point all serious uke players need to have/listen to.( and all you non-serious uke players too :p)
So thanks for reading my review! Again, this is just my personal opinion on the album with my personal biases and all. If anyone else has/has heard this album please post what you think! I'd be eager to see what you think.

01-07-2010, 02:10 AM
It's $40!????!!! Wow. I think for that amount of money I'll have to pass though. Hopefully the price will come down. It's a great review though.

01-07-2010, 05:39 AM
I agree with sukie, a great review but $40!#@!*#. Way too much! Have to wait till the price comes down! But a GREAT review thanks for sharing!!!

01-07-2010, 08:20 AM
Yo-Yo Ma is too "overbearing"... Yeah, YOU be the one to tell Yo-Yo Ma to hang back.

01-07-2010, 10:58 AM
I've got the Yo-Yo Ma CD that has Jake playing on it. The song is BEE-YOU-TEE-FUL!!! Both instruments get a chance to shine. And I fell in love with the cello. Thank God they're too expensive or I'd want to learn how to play one. Maybe the reason that it sounds like the cello is so "overbearing" is that the song was for Yo-Yo Ma's CD originally.

01-07-2010, 01:25 PM
Does anybody now why the prices on jake's shop are that expensive?
All other lp's are avaible on the amazon mp3 shop for a 8.99€.,,

I would love to hear him playing beatles songs but he can't demand more cash for his performance than the Beatles ..?!

01-13-2010, 01:51 PM
trust me its worth the 40 its like a combination betweeen fergie and jesus

07-14-2010, 12:03 PM
I just sent you a Private Message about this...somewhat urgent