The clash has been growing regarding contemporary Arabic pop songs and music videos. It arisen to include furious controversy amid supporters of such vocalists and the region's strictly religious citizens. Provocative music creations have been testing the Arab state's intellectual and societal parameters. A great deal of the storm stirred by the music videos focuses on the acts of a handful female vocalists. Amongst them, Elissa whose one latest music video was prohibited by the relatively tolerant line ups in Beirut; Hayfa Wehbe, whose music video regarding her dancing in a body-hugging wet dress has attained celebrated repute; and Nancy Agram, whose main infamous music video depicts her sexy dancing being a factor to a disturbance. While outspoken sexuality may be the key salient feature of these music videos, it is the slightest imperative element of their ability of making positive change in the Arab world. Arab identity, values, and culture aren’t erased by these erotic video clips, but rather they are slightly enhanced.
Arabs are able to sculpt their personal traits in whichever means they prefer in these musical narratives. These music videos are broadcasting fresh techniques of lifestyle, and increasing tactics to being an Arab that merges both conservative customs and ultramodern standard of living. The basis of intellectual modernization is the liberty to realize a changeable self-formed individuality, autonomy and freedom to picture oneself on his personal terms. These music videos materialized as the principal enlightening path to that progression. This is a definite challenge to the forces of conventional Arab society, which lingers as an atmosphere of restricted, established, and barely self-determined characters. Because of strict parenting and clear religious commandments, the true identity of most Arabs is hidden.
In addition, these music videos immerse viewers in a fantasy world providing the same beneficial effects of daydreaming. After a long day of work, Arabs implement viewing these music videos as form of escaping their habitual tiresome lives. They help many Arabs reduce stress and channel their thoughts towards a positive visualization. These videos relieve boredom and instigate both relaxation & amusement.
Another reason why these notorious music videos are not a threat to the Arab identity is that they remarkably Arabic in essence. The beats, surroundings, instrumentation, and even the contentious dance routine regularly depict on prevailing Arab folklores of dance and music. Much of the outspoken sexuality is therefore entirely Arabic. These productions are not in any way fundamentally foreign; more exactly, in their carnival of individual selection, they are nostalgic. After all, the Arabs are the ones who created the dance form of belly dancing, with a cabaret costume consisting of a mere bra and skirt.
Moreover, the political repercussions of such music videos render them revolutionary. Chuck Freund in "Look Who's Rocking the Casbah" stated that for almost a century, a succession of totalitarian political regimes like Pan-Arabism Nasserism and Islamism have been progressing in the area to stop this type of clash and unpredictability. These have all been unsuccessful catastrophically. What works in the Arab world is what succeeded somewhere else for other countries, a free market of commercialism that does not propagate morals and regulations but tackles the private aspirations of the listeners. He concluded that the Arab world will ultimately attain its belated objective of emancipated modernism, “it might just as well dance itself there” (Freund).
Furthermore, these music videos aren’t threatening Arab culture but are making use of several forms of technology, particularly the use of electronic devices and computer software to facilitate recording, playback, performance, and composition. Nancy Linthcum deals with each side of the existing dispute over the outcome of pop songs on Arab society in “Degenerate Pop Threat to Arab Music Renaissance or Mere Sign of the Times”. Linthcum mentions that controversial modern Arab pop music is a sign that the Arab world is pulling alongside with the Western world in its use of technological advancements for amusement which is not essentially a forfeit of Arab customs.
A new rationale to view such music videos positively is the strength with which their viewers have welcomed them. Music videos are tremendously admired in the Arab world where tens of Arab music TV channels air. Pop superstars like Elissa and Hayfa Wehbe are supplying the soundtrack for millions of adolescents across the Middle East region. This demonstrates that the style of modern Arab pop music is close to the true Arab identity, and that the Arab hearing sense is in harmony with such a genre.
One more reason on how these music videos can enhance Arab culture is that popular culture and not politics can unite Arab countries. In a region of multiplicity where often political estimations clash, music jumps across accent barricades and unites people of dissimilar artistic locales. Through widespread music, people can come together to make the Arab world a more congruous region, where citizens share the same interests in music. Ex-Secretary General Kofi Annan’s preliminary commented at the lecture on “Why Music Matters” that music infiltrates every fraction of our lives and that it shapes and reflects society.
Beautiful lyrics like what you find in Om Kalthum “El Atlal” (The Ruins – refer to lyrics in Appendix 1) regarded as one of the most convoluted and cryptic workings of traditional Arabic music and poetry, makes Hayfa Wehbe’s giant market leader “Boos al Wawa” (Kiss the Boo Boo – refer to lyrics in Appendix 2) seem so decadent and ugly to the ears, but it is just different. If the Arab people go beyond the lyrics, they do find music that is significant. Using the same logic that modern music is awful, even the brilliant music of the 60's & 70’s seem pale in comparison to complex compositions by Mozart or Beethoven. There is nothing wrong with modern Arab pop music. There is more out there so it may seem like you have to sift through more rubbish, but one man's trash is another's treasure. Art is just very relative matter. Each person listening to a musical piece will come to his own conclusion of what exactly the piece means to him.
Arab people should be exposed to all kinds of music & entertainment and not be forced into or away from any genre. Once they come across affection for a particular style, they will add it to their progressing music culture. There are plenty of decent Arab pop artists working right now, but they aren't going to be found on the radio or TV. It takes a modest excavating, but an ample of decent music can be found if an effort is made. Our biggest problem in the Arab world is that we want everything to be sent to us because we are too indolent to go probing for the premiums we truthfully crave in our amusement. The Arab world is in critical need for a culture of democracy and freedom of opinion, and these controversial music videos are certainly helping.