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Friday, 5 August 2022

What’s summer without good tunes?

What’s summer without good tunes? Summer demands a playlist. Here are some of the tracks that have been accompanying us so far this vacation season.

Embrace the sound of the 80s: It’s not just a Stranger Things thing — large parts of the music world seem to be in the grip of a 1980s resurgence. German reissue label Habibi Funk earlier this year put out an 11- track compilation of Libyan-Egyptian singer Hamid El Shaeri’s 80s oeuvre. Habibi Funk 018: The SLAM! Years features some of Shaeri’s most danceable, charming, and dreamy songs like Oyoun Houriyat, Dari Demou'ek and Ayonha.

In newer music, playful and theatrical band Kahareb in June released synth-pop influenced single Mesh Asef (watch, runtime 3:33). The song has a distinctly 80s vibe, relying heavily on spacey synthesizers, electronic basslines and sparkly textures to create a fun and uplifting tune that sounds great played with the windows down.

Our local rap scene is still pumping out bangers: It's impossible to overlook our local rap scene, which over the past few years has seen the bar raised on quality and ingenuity from a host of heavyweights and newcomers alike. Wegz’s melancholic afrobeat-inspired hit from earlier this year, El Bakht, is a good place to start. Abyusif’s MAMLAKA is also just catchy enough to slide by on the summer rap playlist, as is Marwan Moussa’s boom bap-sounding Wa7da mn Million. (reflective yet boastful Masafat)

Mainstays of the mainstream: For many of us, no genre can better achieve a sense of sunny joy than pop. Beyoncé is back six years after smash hit Lemonade, with infectious club single Break My Soul leading a new album, Renaissance, that has critics declaring the return of the undisputed queen of the global music scene.

Elsewhere, Dua Lipa has been a mainstay of the pop charts for a couple of years now and it's no mystery why— her music is light, feel good and most definitely suited for a summer break. Recent single Potion, featuring heavyweight collaborators Calvin Harris and Young Thug, is a prime example — combines soft vocals with groovy guitar riffs and a rap interlude to create the perfect summer chart topper.

Puerto Rican pop star (and former WWE wrestler) Bad Bunny is another unavoidable fixture of the pop music landscape right now. His most recent album Un Verano Sin Ti sees him fuse reggaeton with a little bit of rap and even salsa to create this highly emotive and energetic album that works just as well for a crowded apartment as by the beach.

Something a little more experimental: What better way to get into a new groove than by listening to something you’ve never heard before? Our underground electronic music scene is a gold mine of often weird and always forward-thinking musical production. Take Cairo-based producer/DJ Hassan Abou Alam’s most recent release Kesibt, which strikes a challenging balance between danceable and complex. Then there’s local collective Irsh’s new compilation tape, did you mean: irish vol. 2. Some of the stand out tracks include Siteh by Yasseen and featuring Dakn, and Kabbut by ABADIR featuring ZULI & 3Phaz.

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