Sunday, May 23, 2010

Yara - La'ale' Khalijiya

Of the many Khaliji offerings in 2009, La'ale' Khalijiya was easily the most well-received. Rumored to be in the works for two years until it was finally released, the album was Yara's ticket to the last Janadriya Festival in Saudi Arabia. The album has musicians from the kingdom as well as the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt, and Lebanon. It opens with Adri, a good song made beautiful by Amr Abdelaziz's beautiful arrangement. Initially Nawal's, Ana Ensana sounds like the best of Nasser El Saleh's compositions for Mohamed Abdu. The song is surprisingly arranged by Osama El Hindi, who gives the song a lighter, more exotic-sounding beat to contrast the deep, melancholic strings. From the female creative duo that brought us the hit Shomoukh Ezi, Tathker Youm is a more light, upbeat love song. The change of pace that the song goes through is interesting at first, but there isn't enough here to warrant the six-minute length. Raghba Menni is a light love song with typical percussion-centred Siruz arrangement. Fayez El Sa'id's Sekkar Zeyada, a hit by most accounts, is one of my least favorite songs here. It is by no means bad however, and will be an instant favorite for fans of the Emirati style. Sallemouli is not very interesting either, and both Abdallah El Gaoud and Tarek Aakef have done better jobs.

The album picks up with Sedfa, the song that made Yara a Khaliji star overnight. After the number of plays the song got on television and radio stations, most would skip it today, but it remains a catchy, upbeat song on all fronts. Bkel Shay Tajtheb* is another playful and catchy song, albeit too repetitive for some. Ma Roum is another song that stands out, it is short and sweet, but it could have done without the cheap synths. The album takes a surprising turn with Ma Aad Fini Rouh, as the traditional album jumps into the small niche of Khaliji-R&B. Ahmed El Hermi changes things up again, just as he did with her hit Inta Menni in 2008, and arguably does even better here with Siruz's help. Men Hey?, composed by Fahad El Nasser, brings Michel Fadel in. The song is instantly given Michel's western ballad touch, combining beautiful piano with airy strings. Amr Abdelaziz rarely goes wrong with Khaliji songs, and Nasik is no exception, but Ghali's composition, while enjoyable, is nothing new. Nedhar Eini, composed by Fayez El Sa'id, changes the mood again, and the dramatic intro is instantly attributed to Walid Fayed. Neloum El Wagt may have fared better had Mohamed Abdu and Asalah's version not overshadowed it, but the arrangement definitely leaves much to be desired. We end with Ya Habibi Alamek, another good Nasser El Saleh-Amr Abdelaziz collaboration, and the song's pace almost suits its purpose as the final song of the album.

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1. Adri
2. Ana Ensana
3. Tathker Youm
4. Raghba Menni
5. Sekkar Zeyada
6. Sallemouli
7. Sedfa
8. Bkel Shay Tajtheb
9. Ma Roum
10. Ma Aad Fini Rouh
11. Men Hey?
12. Nasik
13. Nedhar Eini
14. Neloum El Wagt
15. Ya Habibi Alamek

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*Contrary to the tags, track 8 is composed by Mohamed Bou Dalla and track 9 by Homoud Nasser.