What do you think of the New Album MJK by Haifa Wehbe which was released for the Summer of 2012: the music, the lyrics, the vocals?
Below is a small review submitted to us by a regular Arabic music listener:
I would like to start my article by first clearing out an important point. Honestly I was never a true Haifa fan,...But noticing the obvious resemblance of the album's title MJK with that of Madonna's MDNA I was curious to investigate further..
Perhaps I like the way Haifa looks; she is a truly beautiful woman and deserves the title given to her in 2010 by Fanoos as the Sexiest Arab Woman of our Era, but frankly for me it comes down to (used to at least) to just that most of the time...Malikat Jamal... and yes why not, Malikat Jamal al Koun! Haifa's voice isn't spectacular, but lately I cannot help but notice an improvement somewhere.. Has she been taking singing classes or has management finally figured out where her vocal strength resides and is thus focusing on that area, that sweet spot of hers? Auto-tune is doing wonders lately too, and great music is where it's all at in dance songs anyway..bottom line is in this new album you get excellent tracks worthy of any respectable modern days singer. Haifa here is officially a full fledged singer!
I always felt that people who liked Haifa's songs are of a specific demographic, mostly clubbers, teenagers and those few obsessed people who love Haifa in a weird sorta way as if she reflects what they want to be or would like to look like...
So I never really listened to her albums in full, but rather enjoyed the hits separately as they were being released (singles, video clips, etc..). However for some reason and probably for the lack of good albums on the market (with the exception of Nawal El Zoghby album in 2011), I gave MJK a chance.
The moment I listened to her new album, I got struck by its overwhelming dance vibe. I became in love with every song in the album.. all songs except the Khaliji song "Harami Gloub", no offense. It sounds the same as when Myriam Fares also attempts to sing that style, it just doesn't work. Leave Khaligi songs to Nawal and Yara.
MJK actually contains a variety of dialects, including Egyptian and Lebanese songs, and of course the Gulf one written by Faiz Al Saeed.
In this album, Haifa cooperated with many talented poets like Baha El-Din Muhammad, Amir Toeima, Mohammed Atef, Mohammed Rifai, Salim Assaf, Sabir Kamal and Mohammad Vaziri. But the music is where the magic is! The melodies of Mohammed Yahya, Mohammed Rifai, Mohammad Rahim, and Rami Jamal were embellished with spectacular music arrangements by the very talented Ahmed Ibrahim, Hassan El Shafei, Kareem Abdul-Wahab, Jean Marie Riachi and Hadi Sharara.
Malikat Jamal el Kon is produced by Rotana and was released on the 8th May.
"Matoulish - Izzay Ansak" (Do not tell me) is a great song. The dance music with its dreamy synths beautifully accompanies Haifa's soft voice and echoes... Turn the volume up and enjoy this track..
In "Malikat Jamal El Kon" (Miss Universe), the intro tune sounds very familiar to me, not sure if it was taken from somewhere but once the beat kicks in and Haifa starts singing this song goes in another direction.. yes it rocks.
"Bizyada or Bayza" s lyrics are nice. If you don't like it the first time, you will love it after listening to it a few more times. In-fact the sentence (Walahi Mahma Albi Yetwegalo) can get addictive, the sentence has been playing in my mind for days, and that was the trigger for me to write this article.
"Yalla Maa Baad" (Together) felt to me like a song for school road trips. The style is upbeat funk. Haifa uses her childlike voice which I don't generally like, but it is here well suited.
"Samaani" (Make me listen) is one of my favorite tracks. This was released long before the album. If I am not mistaken I heard it during Mister Lebanon elections event. I like everything about it, the music, lyrics and Haifa's electric voice with the sound effects. Reminded me a bit of Madonna. Hadi Shara did an amazing job on this one.
"Bahrab Min 3einek" sounds EXACTLY like one of May Hariri's songs with that Latin mambo jumbo... Forgot what it was called, I am sure you will recognize it if you listen to it..A useless track if you ask me. I will pass.
"Aref" (You know) one of the slower tracks on the album is my all time favorite Haifa song to date! Honestly, I love her voice in this song, and the music and lyrics.
Call me crazy but "Baheb Feek Hagat" seems like a Dalida song! Haifa here takes another break from the electro-dance style the album is soaked in.
The rest of the album has few good songs too, I will let you discover them on your own. You have the Oriental RnB style "Kobba", another Hadi Charara masterpiece of music distribution "Bokra Bfarjik", a typical Egyptian track "Kont Ha2olak ey", "Ba2olak Ey ya 3am" , "Baddi Shouf B3aynak Hob" (also pre-released before the album), and "Harami Gloub"
Finally, I read somewhere that Tunisian singer Latifa had criticized Haifa for not being a true singer and placed her in the category of monologue performers (Whatever that is! Given it has different meaning in the Arab world and the western world). I personally believe that this is not true, you don't need a perfect voice these days to be a singer, in fact the definition of singing has changed years ago. It is more about being a true artist, to create, to experiment, to express oneself freely...A singer today, and for as long as I have been around (I am not that old lol), is someone who can provide full Entertainment to the audience, and this involves looks, voice , charisma, a show, in a complete package.
A little trivia: Today Dalida is considered a legend, but when she first started out she was shunned for not being apt enough to become a singer..She got her first contract just for being exotic, and years later as her producer listened to her preparing one of her songs he thought aloud, "who would have imagined that one day she would sing like that with so much emotions.."
Haifa is a true artist, and while she might not possess strong vocal abilities, she has proven herself as an artist with over 10+ years of success. She might sing, dance, act or whatever, but most of all she creates controversy and keeps the media engaged with her news and that is an art form by itself.
Haifa, forgive me for I have under-apreciated you for too long. I will make up for it in the coming years.
Thanks for posting my review.
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