For those playing catch-up (I was ignorant till I came to Egypt) Amr Diab is Egypt and the Arab world’s most successful pop star. He’s the face of Pepsi in this neck of the woods, and his face, for that matter, changes with every album. He gets younger and more sculptured with each year, a fact not lost on Egyptians. But they love him, so they forgive his love of the surgeon’s knife. The boy from Port Said is 48 years old this year.
This album, Amr’s been doing cheekbones and arms, which are on display in his tight, white singlet as he launches his brooding ‘street brawler’ look. Despite the tough-boy stare (think ‘Blue Steel’, people), he still adheres to the principle that all Arabic pop songs are composed primarily of just five words: habeeby (darling), hayeety (my life), donya (the world), alby (my heart) and bahebik (I love you).
This being Egypt, there is sport to be had with Amr’s album releases. The game is to see if you can download the album beforehand illegally from the internet, then blast it from your car speakers to the envy of all listeners. Indeed, those who managed it this year were infinitely coooooooool, as the album has been long delayed – being at least three months late.
Despite the delays and the internet leaks, my mate Wiki says the album sold more than 1.22 million copies in its first week, so he must be doing something right, eh?