360 Essentials: Great Music for Bad Cairo Traffic
Dallia Abdel Moneim
Doesn’t look like Cairo’s
traffic is going to improve anytime soon, does it? So when it’s just you in the
car, the line of cars endlessly stretches as far as the eyes can see and the
radio chatter isn’t helping to soothe your nerves, you need to plug in your
iPod and play this 360 Essentials playlist.
Now this is a procedure that requires extreme delicacy:
pick one wrong track and we could be looking at a Michel Douglas à-la Falling
Down scenario or you might end up doing this.
‘You’ve Got the Love’ by The Source
featuring Candi Staton: This gospel song has been given a makeover and turned
into one of the best dance tracks around today. Undoubtedly, there comes a
point in a person’s life when all you can do is look towards the heavens and
ask for God’s help. Stuck on 6th October Bridge or the Corniche,
this action is probably undertaken quite a bit. So what’s better than a song
that reflects your frustrated sentiments than a thumping dance track? ‘You’ve
Got The Love’ will lift the spirits; fill the heart and make you want to head
to the nearest dance floor.
‘Turn on, Tune
in, Cop out’ by Freak Power: Remember Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim?
Well after he left 80s group The Housemartins and before he became a big-shot DJ,
he tried his hand in various other musical ventures. Freak Power was one such
venture, all acid jazz mixed in with good dollops of soul and funk. ‘Turn on…’
gained fame from being used in a Levi’s ad and is the type of song that just
releases the tension in you the minute the opening lyrics are sung in the
gravelly, soothing vocals of Ashley Slater.
‘Empire State of Mind’ by Jay Z featuring
Alicia Keys: He not only put a ring on it; but Jay Z also put his stamp on the anthem for New York City.
Seeing as the Big Apple is as big a metropolis as Cairo is – we can easily relate to the lyrics
albeit in a tongue-firmly-attached-to-the-cheek kind of way. When Jay Z raps ‘Now
am down in Tribeca’ think of Zamalek, when it’s ‘Sitting courtside/ Knicks and
Heat give me high fives,’ think of the Ahly versus Zamalek matches.
‘Ain’t Nobody’ by Rufus and Chaka
Khan: A classic that still sounds as brilliant today as it was when first
released. It builds up so slowly and quietly, you’ll find yourself straining to
hear the opening musical bars but once the soulful voice croons ‘Captured effortlessly/ That’s the way
it was’ your mood will not only lift, you’ll also be channelling your inner
Chaka Khan. It’s such a powerful, uplifting song about love and finding ‘the
one,’ you can’t help but feel optimistic and look at the world through rose-tinted
glasses – traffic jams and all.
‘Rapper’s Delight’ by The Sugarhill
Gang: The first hip-hop track to make it big in mainstream music, ‘Rapper’s
Delight’ is undoubtedly a classic. Complete with quirky, funny lyrics; smooth
and quick-fire rapping and an infectious beat, this song will have you jigging
on the spot. The track lacks the swear words that litter most modern hip-hop songs
today; just urban poetry spoken in rapid speed. Besides, it’s free of auto
tune, computer-generated vocals and whatever other musical production tricks
many artists use today.
‘Freedom 90’ by
George Michael: Okay, he may have been singing about leaving behind his
boy-band heartthrob status, but the lyrics still resonate today. Not the
flavour of the month for many but George Michael is one of the best lyricists
around and when it comes to pop music with a heavy hint of r&b, you won’t
find a better artist. Besides, with his track record regarding road incidents,
this song will only serve as a reminder of not following in his footsteps.
‘Baby You Can
Drive My Car’ by The Beatles:
The Fab Four in your car whilst stuck in a traffic jam? But of course! Like
most of the Liverpudians’ songs, this one has the sing-a-long factor, catchy lyrics
and tune complete with the deceptively simplistic ‘beep, beep, beep’
line. It may not be one of the Beatles’ most popular tracks, but it does
wonders to your mood when stuck in traffic – a tried and tested song.
‘Lift Me Up’ by Moby: Another
song that starts off quietly and builds up into a crescendo of house beats with
gospel undertones. It perfectly illustrates Moby at the height of his musical
career when techno and house ruled both the airwaves and the dance floor.
‘Lovely Day’ by Bill Withers:
This old soul classic has an uncanny ability to just make you relax, exhale and
smile. From the opening bass guitar chords to Withers’ silky smooth crooning,
this song can only be described as absolutely lush. ‘Lovely Day’ has been
covered and used in so many different genres of music, from jazz to hip-hop and
dance; yet the original is still the best.
‘Tocca’s Miracle’ (Inpetto Remix) by
Fragma: When dance music is good, it’s good. Originally released in the late
1990s, this track was revamped and given a musical lick to become a floor
filler again in 2008. It’s one of those songs that fit all situations,
including being stuck in a traffic jam. You’ll sing along, sway your body, tap
your fingers on the steering wheel and just forget for a few minutes that you
really are waiting for a miracle to occur in regards to the road situation.