There are some things that never change — like Hollaphonic delivering a solid club track, or Tara Rautenbach coming through with a dreamy vocal performance. But there have been a couple surprises in the regional pop scene, too — like the French-Lebanese singer Lea Makhoul dropping a Latin pop song, or Dutch vocalist Pauline Koning continuing her quest to release an Arabic album. From the pleasantly predictable to the unusual and unexpected, here’s a round-up of four recent tracks to check out this week.
Hollaphonic — One Night
The single cover art features palm trees blowing in the wind and blue skies that look like they have been hydro-dipped in neon paint. So, the summery vibe of this song comes as no surprise. Featuring rapper-singer Jada Roxx and the UK-based Ayo Beatz, the hip-hop tinged EDM track is about throwing caution to the wind and falling in love over the course of one night. As always from Hollaphonic, One Night is the perfect club track.
Lea Makhoul — Ay Amor
French-Lebanese singer Lea Makhoul goes full Latin pop on her latest single, ‘Ay Amor’. Makhoul — who opened for the queen of crossover hits, Jennifer Lopez, back in 2017 in Dubai — features in a colourful music video. She appears as a vintage diner girl, beauty queen and more, as she interacts with a mannequin-like love interest. At time of writing, the track (posted on July 22) has more than 700,000 views on YouTube. Makhoul — who celebrates her 28th birthday next week — rose to popularity in 2014 as the runner-up of the talent search contest, Star Academy Arabia.
Tara Rautenbach — Are You the One?
Dubai-based South African songstress Tara Rautenbach returns with her latest synth-pop track, ‘Are You The One?’. A hauntingly danceable song, it hears the singer muse about her latest romantic conquest who might or might not reciprocate her infatuation. Rautenbach’s voice reaches new heights as she infuses a bit of ‘80s nostalgia into an otherwise contemporary single.
Pauline Koning — Kefaya Ghyab
‘Holland’s Got Talent’s’ Pauline Koning has released her third Arabic-language single and is planning a full Middle East-inspired fusion album. According to a press release, the Dutch singer and belly dancer takes her musical inspiration from UAE musicians Ahlam and Hussain Al Jassmi, as well as Dalida and Balqees Ahmed Fathi. On ‘Kefaya Ghyab’ (‘Enough Absence’), Koning laments the loss of her lover and beckons him to return once and for all.