Nawal al Zoghbi

Ellitmane Toh

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If you have a taste for Middle Eastern pop, then Nawal Al Zoghbi will be right up your street. To be fair, it's largely cookie-cutter stuff (although the flamenco-inflected "Malak Alaya Yamine" breaks the mold somewhat), with the typical sheen of strings on the songs. She has a decent, if not exceptional, voice that works with the dated electro-pop that flavors many of the songs, such as the title track and "Yana Yana." The question is, can this work in the U.S. as anything more than a curiosity? Probably not, as there's very little that's distinctive about the album, or about Al Zoghbi, certainly not in a country that expects so much personality from its stars. But if she keeps this up, she'll be ready for the Laura Branigan revival.

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