Elai Botner is the sort of musician you want to believe still exists, an immensely talented songwriter who climbed his way to fame by working hard and building a loyal audience. Now that he’s arrived, his dominance is absolute: His song “Hachi Karov Elayeich” (“Closest to You,” with Aviv Alush), is burning up the Israeli radio playlists.
If you want to know what it’s about, imagine if the Red Hot Chili Peppers were raised not in Los Angeles but in Tel Aviv, which means not only the sort of syncopation that mimics stop-and-go traffic but also the funk that comes from living in a country where every encounter has the potential to grow very intense. Or, better yet, because it’s mid-July and we all deserve a cool treat, just have a listen:
Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One.