Obscurity Points: Nancy Ajram
So, Nancy Ajram isn’t actually an obscure artist – the Lebanese pop star is a big deal in her home country supposedly, but for us non-Arabic Westerners, she is considerably less known. But here’s a good question: why is a blog that focuses on indie rock blogging about a straight up pop artist? Well, because Lebanese pop is far enough removed from our version of pop that some of it actually sounds pretty cool.
I only know a couple of Ajram’s songs, but there are two in particular that I’ve become a bit addicted to and wanted to blog about. The first one is “Fi Hagat”, which is a sprawling melodramatic masterpiece, alternating between soft, sensual sections and something of a smooth grind, all throughout managing to be hugely melodic and brilliantly colourful. From watching the video (which has 32+ million hits on youtube) I gather the song is about romance or something, but I really have no idea. And Ajram’s Arabic make the vocals sound smooth and, again, amazingly sensual.
The second song of hers I’ve found that really impressed me was “Kol Ma Teddy”, a straight up electronic dance floor banger. So what makes this any different than the typical dance bangers we hear in North America? Mainly the glistening, gliding Middle Eastern-strings that punctuate the song amidst bright, bubbly synths. By any standard, this is beautiful, well produced, and well arranged tune-smithery. I’ve been listening to these songs for weeks and figured it was high time I posted something about them, so here.
Unfortunately, not all of Ajram’s music is as good as this: a lot of her songs really do sound like plastic pop, but I do encourage others to dig through the considerable amount of stuff she’s released and if you want, let me know what else to check out.