Songs: Arabic vs. English

As s a teenager I was obsessed with pop music, English and American mostly and though i started to discover alternative music in my early twenties, i still loved pop music. Maybe its the effect of being a teenager in the 80’s, don’t know.

I didn’t appreciate arabic pop music much early on, and only started to about 9 years ago after a wild trip to Lebanon where we danced to lots of cool arabic tunes. Silly I know!

Later I started listening to Um Kolthom, Warda, Abdelhalim Hafeza and Fairuz (I love Fairuz) and the new and pop artists like Nancy Ajram, Elissa, Yara, Fadil Shaker, Marwan Khouri…etc. I love their music.

However, my thrust for english-speaking tunes never left me. And I know why.

Arabic music, new or old is either about falling in love, lusting for someone…etc or patriotic/national songs. You never find lyrics about reflection, about life, about self discovery, habits, family…etc. THIS is a major aspect missing from the wide pop Arabic music scene.

I have to mention here the alternative Arabic music scene, like the great, Ziad Rahbani and musical bands like Soup Kills.

But still I am talking about pop. Dido is pop, her song Life for Rent is a simple example, REM, Tracy Chapman, Linkin Park, The Cranberries, Ani Defranco, The Pet Shop Boys,and even Rihanna and Lady GAGA. You find lots of songs that don’t talk about love, lust and agony.

Your thoughts?

Razan Khatib

Razan Khatib

Playing at the intersection of culture, technology, and values. Trying to structure my thoughts and share experiences, learnings, and insights. Co-founder of @spring_apps
Amman, Jordan