Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Can you feel the rhythm?

Sitting on my butt in my villa on days that are way too hot to even think about going outside, I have no choice but to turn to the internet or to the television (or to a good book, but those are usually reserved for late nights). One channel I frequent is called Music Now, and is obviously what MTV once was (in terms of it ONLY playing music videos!), except for mostly Arabic music. There are some times of day where they play other stuff, but they are usually outdated and not nearly as fun as the Arabic stuff.

That is what I am going to showcase today. I am going to show you Arabian pop music! I have chosen from many, many songs, most of which I see repeatedly every time I go to the channel. It is funny but all the songs I think are my favourites or worth showing happen to be by artists from Lebanon! They really do dominate Arabian music nowadays, or at least this one channel that I happen to have. However, they all use different styles of music and have very different ways of expressing themselves musically.

Just a note: I do not know the meanings of any of these songs! Sadly, I cannot interpret a lot of what is going on. Also, a lot of these songs have credits before/after them. This is completely normal. It's like a mini movie, so I guess they feel the need to give credit where credit is due! It is very interesting compared to the no-nonsense, shortened radio versions of songs we get in the US. Another thing you will notice is that the videos always show very beautiful models whenever they can, and even list the modelling agency in those credits!

I'm sure you will see exactly what I mean, when we actually get to the videos! Here we are:

1. Myriam Fares - Eih Elly Beysahl

This lady is very, very beautiful and has a kickin' body. However, I used to really dislike her because I thought she was just copying Shakira all over the place. Even in this video, I see definite influences from the likes of Shakira and Beyonce in her dancing, but I have to admit that she has a style of her own. That table thing she does is awesome, and I absolutely love that weird jumpsuit thing that she wears on the motorcycle. I think she looks amazing in it. As for the song, I think it's a fun song that you could totally dance to. I know I dance to it! I don't get the racing theme, but hey, I really enjoy it and look forward to seeing it come up on TV.

2. Zain Al Omar - Domek Ya Albi

This video takes bloody FOREVER to start, so you might as well just skip to the 2:58 mark. YES, I am absolutely serious. And this is the version I saw on TV! However, I love the Latin feel to this song, and his crooning voice. He's absolutely adorable, too! I don't really get the meaning of the video, or what is going on in it, but who cares? The song is a lot of fun to salsa to. Even by yourself!

3. Diana Haddad - Azab el Hawa

I am sorry for the dumb ads that get in the way of the music video! It's the best quality video I could get on youtube! But anyway: I love Diana Haddad; she has a very different quality of voice and I have known of her since I was very little and living in Makkah. This song, I believe, is Hijazi style, i.e. the style of the Persian Gulf (Saudi, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, UAE, etc). Her later albums apparently switched to this style which caused her to both gain and lose fans. She is Lebanese but grew up in Kuwait from what I understand, and she also has ties to the UAE, so this is an interesting twist. I think she is so elegant in this video, which I feel is very vibrant and different to other music videos I have seen recently. I would love to wear her dresses!

4. Rabih Baroud - Layl

Oh wow, this song. I call it the Baywatch video because he and the Hoff could compete with those tans. It is a very nice song on its own, but I think this video is hilarious. What a douchebag! There he is, flirting with everything he sees, even right in front of his lady, and he is just SMILING! What a jerk! I see nothing redeeming about the character he plays, but you know, the song is good enough so I put up with it. Rabih Baroud is actually a great songwriter who has written for quite a few famous singers. He's pretty talented. So why does he act like such a dick in this video?!

5. Nancy Ajram - Maashy Haddy

I put this here for purely comedic relief. It's cutesy visuals and strange sound effects totally work for me. I love it! But what is it about people who cheat in Arabic music videos? I actually see betrayal a LOT. However, this one is just silly and a lot of fun. I enjoy it. The song itself isn't exactly the best thing, but I still do a little buttshake dance when I hear it. Nancy Ajram herself is so famous here in the Middle East that I see her everywhere, on TV and the covers of every single magazine! It's amazing! She's very popular and I think I read that she was mentioned on Oprah or something. That's a pretty big deal because I don't think Oprah really talks about Middle Eastern pop music at all. I think that out of any Arab singer, Nancy Ajram might be the one anyone outside the Middle East might have seen. I mean really, here she is singing the Arabic version of one of the world cup songs, "Wavin' Flag":

At least this one has subtitles so you can understand something! Yay! And I LOVE that video. When I first saw it on TV here, I jumped out of my chair immediately and danced with the screen. It's so happy! I love seeing that waiter drop his tray.

Does Arabic pop music have anything different and new to offer? I think so. They have their own style which is influenced from so many places over the world, but they do have their very specific flavour that is purely Middle Eastern. I have not heard any songs from Western pop that sounds anything like these!

No comments:

Post a Comment