RINAT BAR La'uf Be'ruach Base Records When Rinat Bar first broke onto the music scene more than a decade ago, she was touted by some as the singer who would outshine Mizrahi queen Sarit Hadad. Hadad's status is still secure, but Bar has also proven herself a talent, even if she isn't as flamboyant as her more prominent counterpart. Born into an Ashdod-based Georgian family, Bar has music in her blood. Her grandfather was a singer and her father had his own band. Bar herself released her debut album at 12, and by age 22 had recorded her seventh. She was introduced to the public near the release of her first album with a performance on Dan Shilon's TV talk show, and the title track to her sixth album, Malachim (Angels), became a huge success in 2003. In 2004, she collaborated with rap group Payback Soldiers on the popular song "Ahat Me'elef" (One in a Thousand). On her new album, La'uf Be'ruach (Blowing in the Wind), Bar serves up a Mizrahi-meets-dance vibe. The collection shows off the singer's vocal range effectively, with many of the 12 tracks allowing her to hit the high notes common to her genre. The CD opens with four straight dance tracks - the title song, "Shelach Be'se'ara" (Yours in a Storm), "Yesh Li Otcha" (I Have You) and "Ani Kan Bishvilcha" (I'm Here for You). The songs' celebratory lyrics are matched by buoyant Mediterranean percussion beats that seem guaranteed to ensure La'uf Be'ruach a place on the dance floor. The album's next seven tracks alternate between love ballads and more bopping dance songs. Among the standout ballads is "Lekol Adam Yesh Sipur" (Every Person Has a Story), with Bar's tender voice packed with emotion as it soars through the words. The CD should wow listeners with Bar's singing talent, and also proves she can compose music and write lyrics. She's a gem in the contemporary Mizrahi music market. GILAD SEGEV Ha'ahava Nisheret Helicon Gilad Segev's newest album, by contrast, is rather mediocre. While there are some solid tracks on Ha'ahava Nisheret (Love Remains), the album as a whole lacks the quality of Segev's 2004 release, Achshav Tov (Now It's Good). It's always difficult to release a follow-up to such a superior debut, but Segev has nevertheless denied feeling any pressure to produce a sophomore project that would match the quality of his first. His apathy shows. Whereas every song on Achshav Tov demonstrated Segev's lyrical and musical prowess, a number of the 11 songs on Ha'ahava Nisheret are simply substandard. Among the album's stronger points are its peppy first single, the title track, which has been a huge hit on radio rotations. The second track, "Nitzmad Lalev," also features a catchy tune, and grows on the listener with each spin of the CD. "Mami," with its likable harmony between drums, guitar and the keyboard, has also proven popular, appealing to the mainstream audience most of Segev's songs seem to target. Featuring a standard mix of love songs, break-up numbers and getting-back-together tracks, the album is less enjoyable elsewhere. "Slicha" (Sorry) in particular is one of the most irritating tracks on the album, while "Hahaverim Sheli" (My Friends) features a disappointingly lackluster tune. With more than 15 years' experience as a musician and lyricist, Segev has proven his talent in previous projects, and it's too bad he didn't go the distance on Ha'ahava Nisheret. The album comes in a cleverly designed CD case that will definitely help it get noticed on record store shelves; it's too bad the album's substance doesn't match its style.