x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Six hit songs that might define summer of 2011

Three English-language and three Arabic tunes that you have probably heard this summer.

LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem
LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem

It is impossible to predict exactly which song will define your summer in the Emirates. But here are six songs you will definitely hear and that may come to mean a lot to you.

Gym Class Heroes: Stereo Hearts

Stereo Hearts is one of those songs almost made to define a summer. Released as the first single from a new album by Gym Class Heroes at the start of this summer, it has rapidly become an anthem.

The song itself is relaxed and summery, full of contemporary references. But it is the chorus that easily trips off the tongue: "My heart's a stereo / It beats for you, so listen close / Hear my thoughts in every note."

The video explicitly references most people's idea of summer - in split screen, two young people carry boom-boxes around an urban landscape, carefree, enjoying their lives with no responsibilities, until, at the end, they meet and walk off holding hands. It is the definitive idea of being young, carefree and feeling in love.

LMFAO: Party Rock Anthem

The latest release from the US electro duo LMFAO (a reference to an internet acronym used in chat messages) is one of the biggest songs of the year so far.

Party Rock Anthem was released in January this year and has topped charts all across the western world. It is a good example of a song that works well in more than one context. Not only does it have a summery beat and self-consciously party-time lyrics - "Party rock is in the house tonight / Everybody just have a good time / We gonna make you lose your mind / Everybody just have a good time" - but the song also has a signature dance, a faintly ridiculous running-on-the-spot number that is perfect for doing the moves seriously, or just having fun on the dance floor. A big song that can be heard playing in clubs all across the Emirates, and beyond.

Pitbull: Give Me Everything

Give Me Everything is another song released much earlier in the year that is still getting huge play across radio and in nightclubs and may well go on to be one of the defining sounds of summer 2011. Released in March, it has topped the US charts.

Really, this is a club song, not a summer song, more likely to be heard blasting down in a crowded Dubai nightclub than playing from a car along the Abu Dhabi Corniche. Yet it is the chorus, sung by rapper Ne-Yo, that gives it a very summery feel. "Give me everything tonight," he sings, "for all we know, we might not get tomorrow." That's a very summer sentiment, when so many people make temporary friends on their holidays.

Nancy Ajram: Sheikh El Shabab

Nancy Ajram is one of the Arab world's most famous singers, with no collection of Arabic pop music or nightclub event complete without a song from her.

Since her breakthrough in 2003, no summer passes without one of her songs being released and played endlessly.

In Sheikh El Shabab ("The Sheikh of Men"), Ajram sings about a crush she has on a self-confident, handsome young man. "What a brave heart he has / And my heart melts from his beauty!"

The video has an innocent feel to it, set in a romanticised Arab village, where young men play and swim together and young women try to get their attention, all under the jealous eye of an older woman.

It's an old story but one that speaks of an ideal past, a fun, happy time of youth.

Nawal El Zoghbi: 1100 (Alf Wa Meya)

Nawal El Zoghbi is another extraordinarily famous name in Arabic-language music. El Zoghbi has been recording music since the 1980s, still to great acclaim.

Like Ajram, she sings a lot about love, but has also dealt with more difficult themes, tackling the Israeli occupation.

1100 / Alf Wa Meya ("One Thousand One Hundred") is pure pop, a rousing, angry girl power ballad against cheating men. "How do you not get confused with all their names?" she sings. "How can you bear to talk to all of them and meet them?"

The title 1100 refers to the purported number of lovers her ex-boyfriend has. In the video, El Zoghbi plays several different women, all dating the same man. The heroine finally gets revenge on her ex-boyfriend by coquettishly passing his telephone number to an overweight man in a restaurant. The video ends with the ex-boyfriend and the man getting into the same elevator, both smiling at the promise of what comes next.

Ramy Ayach: Efrah Fiki

Ramy Ayach is an eclectic musician with pop-star looks. In the 11 years he has been making music, he has collaborated widely with different musicians, often making more serious popular music.

Efrah Fiki is not his most recent song - it was released at the end of last year - but has received a new lease of life for this summer and is still the song most likely to be heard in Arabic restaurants.

A big ballad about love with rock undertones, Efrah Fiki is all about the public declaration of love. It takes its title from an Arabic expression that means to take joy in seeing someone you like get married. "I want to draw our hearts on the sun with the ink of our love," Ayach sings. It is, as one Lebanese fan put it, "not just a love song, it's a song about commitment."

falyafai@thenational.ae