Friday, December 21st, 2012

Haifa Wehbe – Bokra Bfarjik

The entire video isn’t as sexy as this…


Edward Okulicz: Talk about a thrilling and shape-shifting bit of production! Wehbe’s voice is good but she doesn’t really have to do much other than waft dramatically over the proceedings. The opening thirty seconds herald something that could have gone in any direction. Waves of gorgeously treated strings tick the exotica boxes, but when the drum machine comes in, it’s a mere heart-beat away from being a fully-fledged power pop ballad. Just as well everyone involved either chickened out or avoided the car crash — the rhythm is too bouncy for it. The sounds are different to what you’d get in Western pop, but the opulence is a familiar trick, and executed beautifully.

Brad Shoup: A stuffed production: my favorite bit comes when the drum kit appears. Had it lasted the entire song, it would have given off the stank of goff, so thank heavens. The synth riff burrows around in a few registers; Wehbe does the same. Dance to the indignance.

Jonathan Bogart: I know a very little bit about Lebanese pop, but what I do know suggests that Haifa Wehbe is something on the level of a Madonna circa 1992 or a Kylie Minogue circa 2002. “Bokra Bfarjik” was her big 2012 single, with a splashy video about stolen romance in 1950s Italy (with a brief interlude for a Nescafé commercial) and a production that stops just short of going into a dubstep breakdown. Of course Arabic musical traditions have had their own methods of suspending and elasticating time for millennia.

Ian Mathers: Wehbe’s singing and the melody are consistent throughout, but the backing subtly shifts behind her for the length of the song (and so do the effects applied to her voice). It never goes anywhere too radical, but it still helps “Bokra Bfarjik” hold the attention more than it might have otherwise.

Iain Mew: This could almost be emo for the first ten seconds of guitars. It goes on to have elements that point plenty of other ways amidst a delightfully extravagant and expansive arrangement. Wehbe sounds like she’s enjoying the luxury from a slight distance, which works neatly as a way of stopping it all from getting too much. If those strings could ever be too much.

Andy Hutchins: If anyone had set an SNES game in Beirut and then laid sweet, clipped vocals over the 8-bit parts, then programmed about nine beat moltings into it, this would be the result, I think. Too many ideas that pull it in too many different directions to warrant listens on repeat, but I do wish that there were a game I could play to go along with it. (This wasn’t an elaborate Wiebe/Wehbe pun until I finished this blurb, I swear.)

4 Responses to “Haifa Wehbe – Bokra Bfarjik”

  1. And this one comes from reader Rohin, who helpfully offers that it translates to “I’ll make you pay for this”. The influence of Arabic pop in the West is obvious, so it’s nice to go back to the actual source occasionally, no?

  2. She’s so good. MJK is one of my albums of the year.

  3. Who’s game to put this one through Google Translate?

  4. user Gole Yas (“Thanked 1,127 Times in 717 Posts”) has it as “Tomorrow I’ll Show You,” which idiomatically translates to “You’ll Pay For This”.