Samira Said

Youm Wara Youm

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AllMusic Review by

With 30 albums to her credit in the Middle East, Samira Saeed is a certified superstar there, and this, her debut American release, gives the west a chance to discover her. It's actually a total makeover for the Moroccan-born superstar who's made her home in Egypt for over 20 years, not just in her look, but also in her music. And the result? Well, if the idea of '80s electro taken to Egypt appeals to you, you'll be a happy bunny. The title cut pairs her with rai star Cheb Mami for an appealing piece of music, but from there it's largely downhill. "Ezzay Aheb" has hip-hop overtones; "Dahakteni" works at updating the sound of Arab traditional (i.e., classical) music, with mixed results; while "Ehsasi" is the kind of emotional ballad (with massed female voices soft in the background) that's best suited for Celine Dion. A big part of the problem throughout is that Saeed simply doesn't have a distinctive voice. She can sing well enough, but you'd be hard-pressed to pick out her voice from a thousand others. And the material? Perhaps it plays well in Cairo, but in the U.S. it's just not going to cut it. Add to that liner notes where only the song titles (and lyrics to one song that doesn't appear to even be on the disc) are in English, and you're not exactly being consumer-friendly -- an ideal way to shoot yourself in the foot.

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