Out with the old, in with the new

Israel's self-described pop queen, Sarit Hadad is back with her thirteenth album.

sarit haddad disk 88 298 (photo credit: )
sarit haddad disk 88 298
(photo credit: )
Sarit Hadad Miss Music (Avi Gueta Productions) Israel's self-described pop queen, Sarit Hadad is back with her thirteenth album. Boasting an all-star composer line-up including Zvika Pick, Henree, Yosi Gispin, Kobi Oz and Zeev Nehama, among others, Miss Music is meant to be an album of hits. From the singles "Bayn Kol Habalagan" and "Bosem Zarfati" to "Hakahal Sheli" - a thank-you song to her fans - Hadad's songs are packaged and produced to a premium. But Hadad - who hopes fans will start calling her "Miss Music" - goes overboard in places. Hadad includes her signature Middle Eastern beats as the background to her songs, and layers them with electronic and dance club tunes. Either in an effort to appease as many people as possible or to demonstrate her cosmopolitan appeal, Hadad throws in a couple of words in English and Spanish on the songs "Miss Music" and "Im Hapanim Le'maarav." While devoted fans will still enjoy the album, Hadad's offerings here aren't all that exceptional. Any distinctiveness she had on her previous albums is lost. Hadad and her production crew have clearly invested tremendous energy trying to make each of the album's 13 songs a hit, but too much tampering and fine-tuning ruined their chances. While critics across the board have dismissed Miss Music as an artistic flop, there's no doubt Hadad's star will continue to shine. As usual with a Hadad album, it's as much about the presentation as it is about the content. The Miss Music album cover features Hadad in 16 poses - making it impossible to forget she's a star, whether one likes it or not. Emanuel Steinbaum Presents Puch (Helicon) A recent debut in record stores is a solo effort by Emanuel Steinbaum, better known as Puch, and the Helicon record company has been heavily promoting its new young singer. Born and bred in Jerusalem, Puch wrote lyrics and composed the music to all but one of the tracks on this album. His first single, "Nemalim," was quickly picked up by radio stations. His music is pop with a splash of rock, electronica and world beats. The album is fun to listen to - Puch sings softly, then louder, croons and harmonizes, and sounds totally at ease with singing solo. On the track "Meaz She'halacht," musical backup is provided by none other than Idan Raichel (who collaborated with Puch before Raichel became a star). Like its melody, the words of this break-up song are touching. Puch is not afraid to play with different styles: "Od Horim," which follows "Meaz She'halacht," is more lively and even has a polka intro. The one song not written by Puch on the album ("Kol Hazman") was penned by his musician brother, Ronen. The 26-year-old Puch has been involved in the Jerusalem music scene since the age of 12. The album has a high quality sound, and whereas other bands quickly record and release their material on disc, Puch and Helicon took over two years to put this debut together. There's no doubt we'll be hearing a lot more from this up and coming Jerusalemite.