Music Journal in 2000words Essay Example
Music Journal 3
The music world is ever growing and with this growth comes some sense of universal inclusion. Artists from all walks of life are all in the business of providing their fans or simply listeners with what has long been referred to as food for the soul as described by Wu et al, (2016.Pg.77). In this context of universal diversity in the music world, Maher Zain is perhaps one of the most peculiar cases. He is an artist who has defied the odds of religion and cultural backgrounds and went on ahead to earn himself an international recognition in the music arena with his award winning tracks. This has in the progress earned him a legendary status among his fellow Muslims.
Maher Zain has since 2009 went ahead to produced a number of albums some of which will be later discussed in this work. For this review however all the focus will be on the breath taking album, Thank You Allah. This album earned him the international spotlight he currently basks in and quite rightly he has done that excellently this far. In this album he of course recognizes that God is above all and deserves to be honored. The most captivating aspect and perhaps his greatest strategy is how is has used that platform to foster a sense of togetherness, mutual coexistence.
One feels one with the songs that are provided in this album regardless of religious and racial background. It is almost impossible not to be swept away with the messages he so artistically brings out and the impression of any first time listeners in my opinion should be, “wow! What a world it will be if we all practiced what Zain is advocating for here.”
Maher Zain is a Swedish R&B, Soul and Islamic singer born on 16th July, 1981. His birth name is Maher Mustafa but for the purposes of this refer we are going to refer to him as Maher Zain, a stage name he is often referred to by. He is also a song writer and music producer which really points the fact about how diverse his musical life is. Since beginning his career in music back in 2009, he is been in for it up until now. He has never shown relentlessness or indications of quitting and his latest release, one is an evidence for that.
His Lebanese family immigrated to Sweden when he was only eight. He thus attended school in Sweden thereby seeing the world from a different angle from that back at home. This could perhaps have been one of the factors that moved him to do music that center on a global cohesion as suggested by Yuni, (2016.Pg.58). Music that says the world is a place for everyone to exist as equal. This is echoed in his single Hold My Hand in the line, “..Lets pray for the beautiful world, beautiful world I share with you.”
Perhaps the most captivating aspect about Maher Zain and his music is the fact that despite the fact that he is a Muslim, his music appeals to audience worldwide regardless of race, age and gender. He brings his content out in a way that as much as possible doesn’t stray from the aspects of unity. Perhaps the only pitfall that he may have had so far is not providing a translation of his Arabic songs to other languages like English so that his worldwide audience can marvel in his sizzling artistry. The works available have however executed that duty to perfection and perhaps surpassed even his own expectations.
Maher Zain has proven that his work is genuinely from the heart and that could be a good explanation as to why he has so quickly achieved international spotlight in a very short span of time. This is echoed in the fact that despite attaining a degree in Aeronautical Engineering, he opted to concentrate more on his music and it’s amazing the support his family has accorded him over his quest. Few parents would allow their kids to put aside such a career in pursuit for music as shown by Grant, (2017.Pg.44).
As already suggested earlier, this review is inclined toward the album Thank You Allah, a work so well done to the extent of attainment of awards of international recognition.
The Album: Thank You Allah
In January 2009, Maher Zain embarked on his album Thank You Allah. He worked on this in collaboration with Awakening Records. Upon completion the album was released on 1st November, 2009 and by the assistance from the Awakening Records he was able to promote and market the album through the social media platform such as Facebook and Twitter. This earned the album a quick online following especially in the Arab-Speaking and Islamic nations. Young Muslim in the western countries followed suit and the spread to other people in the world could have been unavoidable.
It is very easy to note Zain’s smart move in making the themes in his songs in the album as simple as possible and embraceable by Muslims and Non-Muslims alike. For example in his song Inn Sha Allah, he simply is trying to motivate people world over to never despair in the face of hardships. In as much as he brings this out in the best way he knows how and that is Islamic ideals, the message is honestly comprehendible and applicable to anyone who believes in God regardless of the Title given as discussed by Yuni, (2016.Pg.22). One line specifically in the song Inn Sha Allah brings out the aspect of dependence on God in tricky situations. The line reads and I wish Maher Zain would sing this or explain this to anyone reading this by himself, “…turn to Allah never go astray because Allah is standing by your side….” Any believer of whichever religious organization simply has to put this into perspective and the meaning is undeniably clear and point blank.
Throughout the album Maher Zain tries to bring out three very strong themes. He does this in a very simple way. This is so to avoid as much as possible causing contradiction and unnecessary criticism as shown by Van den Bulck et al, (2017.Pg.33). This owes to the fact that he is a Muslim and unfortunately that could not have a very positive bearing to the impressions of first time listeners or simply those introduced to the idea that this is a Muslim artist and these are his songs. The themes include;
Most songs in this album are centered on this theme. Baraka Allahu, Thank You Allah, Inn Sha Allah and Allahi Allah Kiya are all song that he has used to carefully craft and coin together a universally accepted simple fact that God in whichever title or form that one believes in need be worshipped. Even in so doing it is commendable that Maher Zain has maintained originality throughout this album. He is a Muslim and has presented his work in the ideals of Islam. Originality is just one aspect he has excelled at in this album as discussed by Hartwig, (2017.Pg.91). It is incredible just how he has managed tailor the aspect that Allah deserves to be worshipped in way that doesn’t make listeners feel obliged to do so as Muslims. As already mentioned earlier one can easily put the message in the songs in this album in their own contexts and perspectives and meaning comes easy.
One good example is a line in the song Alhamdulillah, “Allah you brought me home I thank you”. Any listener can easily put that into perspective. It’s a simple phrase that suggest a change in ways probably from negative to positive and Maher Zain acknowledges that Allah enabled that happening to his life. Many people especially Christians will share the same sentiments as Maher Zain and as such it is clear that he managed to find a common ground for two ideals, two religious diversities and that in that very simple sense is the basis for peace establishment and promotion in this album as illustrated by McClain & Bernhard, (2016.Pg.59).
In the same song he further uses his artistry freedom to further spread peace via the use of several languages in the same song as shown by Shuker, (2017.Pg.22). An example is a line in the song’s chorus where he says, “Alhamdulillah all praise to Allah.” That English phrase is simply a translation of the first Arabic phrase. This is significant as it brings that aspect of inclusion.
Peace and love
Maher Zain is wise in realizing that for a Muslim artist peace promotion is the best way of commanding appeal in a world where for some reasons they have never found very many odds working on their favor. He does this brilliantly in his songs and that has had things working for him. For an artist the mere ability to be able to bring out some aspect of universal peace and cohesion through your music is a great achievement as alluded to by McClain, (2016.Pg55). In his song Turn Around for example, he talks about sharing and relates it to love. In his own unique way he sees so sense of in sharing the same planet, same moon and same son and fails to hold each other’s hands in sharing the same love.
In the song Turn Around he says, “no matter how far I will be am always going to be your neighbor.”This simply shows how free minded he is to a mutual coexistence among people in various areas of the world regardless of the race, gender or age. Maher Zain in this very song is very categorical about the fact that we can’t hide from the fact that everyone is always going to be somebody’s neighbor. It is almost as if he is saying that we have no choice but to live together in peace and love as discussed by Reti, (2016.Pg.67). In bringing out such strong conviction to peace and love in a single song that goes ahead to earn itself a global audience underlines Maher Zain’s master class in the usage of songs to convey messages that can shape the course of the world.
The performance of his songs from the Album Thank You Allah has unfortunately seen varying levels of audiences and online following based on geographical locations. Malaysia is one country for example where he has received more success in terms of the frequency at which songs are played or rather listened. The song Thank You Allah in this album is particularly a hit up until now in Malaysia and most Arab-Speaking and Islamic Nations. It has for example been certified multiple platinum by Warner music Malaysia and Sony Music. Another very well performing song from the same album is Ya Nabi Salam still in the same countries. This song earned him an award in the context of the best religious song in 2010 in an event organized and coordinated by Nogoum FM a major Middle East mainstream radio station. In the process he set his work a step higher from those of other prominent singers like Sami Yusuf and Hussein Al-Jasmi.
The reason behind this success is simple. Maher Zain brings out as enthusiastically as possible the Islamic ideals of worship of Allah. This accompanied by the melodies and the nice voice he is blessed with has done well in captivating the attention of many Muslims and other audiences alike as shown by Yuni, (2016.Pg.44).
For the non-Muslim world however, Things are slightly different as pertains song that are most listened to as suggested by Nasution & Nasution, (2016.Pg.66). The most standout track in this regard is perhaps For The Rest of My Life. In realizing that become an international icon an artist has to command the international platform, He came up with a recipe to cater for this. His song For The Rest of My Life is a true love song that basically appreciate the role of a woman and her importance to the life of her husband. The reception worldwide is as an R & B. Despite the fact that he brings the message in this song in a very religious fashion it has made more meaning to the world as a love song and may be perhaps the song that has really granted him the international spotlight.
Though an Aeronautical Engineering graduate, Maher Zain chose to follow his passion, music. This is seen in the way he brings out messages and themes from his songs with such devotion and artistry that have went on to earn him international recognition and numerous awards already mentioned.
In his album Thank You Allah he so strongly but in a simple and understandable way brings out the themes of worship, love and peace and all in ways that do not provoke mixed reactions and varied opinions. Being a Muslim he realizes the wit in taking a very neutral ground but perhaps the epitome of his genius is in the way he has been able to bring out all this themes while at the same time maintaining originality by staying true and loyal to his culture and religion in a neutral manner.
Thank You Allah by Maher Zain is as such a living story of the odds that pure genius can achieve in the world of music regardless of race, gender, religion or nationality.
Grant, P., 2017. Conclusion: Music and the Centenary. In National Myth and the First World War in Modern Popular Music (pp. 259-271). Palgrave Macmillan UK.
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McClain, J.M. and Bernhard, E.M., 2016. “Against the Grain”: How Music Journalism Frames Bad Religion as Unconventional. Rock Music Studies, 3(3), pp.300-312.
McClain, J.M., 2016. Framing in Music Journalism: Making Sense of Phish’s “Left‐Field Success Story”. The Journal of Popular Culture, 49(6), pp.1206-1223.
Nasution, N.H. and Nasution, S.H., 2016. SEMANTIC EMOTION IN MAHER ZAIN’S LYRIC OF SONGS: SEMANTIC ANALYSIS.
Réti, Z., 2016. ‘The Second Golden Age’: Popular Music Journalism during the Late Socialist Era of Hungary. In Popular Music in Eastern Europe (pp. 149-169). Palgrave Macmillan UK.
Shuker, R., 2017. Popular music: The key concepts. Taylor & Francis.
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Yuni, Y., 2016. A CONTENT ANALYSIS: DISCOVERING FIGURATIVE LANGUAGES ON ZAIN’s RELIGIOUS SONGS (Songs ofOne Big Family, Palestine will be free, Hold My Hand, Open your eyes, For the rest of my life, and Freedom. JURNAL PEDAGOGIK, 3(2).
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