Since the 2022 FIFA World Cup’s official kick off, we’ve seen more than one surprise go past our screens– or in front of our eyes for the lucky ones that managed to travel to Qatar for the special occasion. In the past week or so, we collectively witnessed Saudi Arabia brilliantly curve Lionel Messi’s Argentina, Tunisia somehow stand up to the Danes and pull off a lucky draw, all while Lebanese songstress Myriam Fares became the first Arab artist to ever earn a number one spot on the US iTunes Chart with Tukoh Taka, the latest World Cup anthem to drop.
It’s been an unbelievable few days in the region, with plenty of things to celebrate, although Fares recently found herself under the fire of critics following the release of her latest track for the quadrennial football tournament. Joining forces with American multi-award winning rapper Nicki Minaj and reggaeton icon Maluma, the trio posted the last-minute World Cup tune last week and it didn’t go down too well for the Cedar country native.
From Tweets and YouTube comments to Instagram memes, the reception of the song was far from being the one Fares was probably expecting as many seemed to be disappointed, frustrated, and even angered by her performance, as they felt that it wasn’t a true representation of the Middle East. Given the backlash that can be tangibly felt across the region’s streets and social media platforms, it seems that her attempt at creating a World Cup classic has left a lot to be desired, according to many football fans.
For that reason, we decided to ask five Arabs on why they feel so strongly about the Lebanese icon’s last sonic offering.
Omar Ikkawi, 21, Lebanese
The vibe does not represent Khaleeji culture at all. You can’t compare this song to previous World Cup songs that were way more iconic. To be completely honest, IShowSpeed’s song, for example, is way better even if it’s a bit of a troll. Tukoh Taka is not a football song, it’s just another pop track that could’ve come out at any other time of the year and we wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.. To put it in simple terms, I just don’t rate it.
Abeer Alakkad, 36, Syrian
The melody is awful, and the lyrics are poor. It’s very stereotypical. It felt like it was just a pale copy of Shakira’s song. I can’t believe it took her five years to come up with this song. It’s so basic and boring. Balqees would’ve been a better fit for the task, especially since she’s from the Gulf herself.
Rania Qaddoura, Palestinan
When I heard it the first few times, I hated it. It’s a bad representation of the Middle East. We have such great music that’s really powerful. And Myriam Fares is iconic. But the reason I ended up liking the song is because it’s catchy, fun, and light. I love Spanish music also and they captured the three biggest languages. I think so much more could have been done. What does Tukoh Taka even mean? There’s literally no meaning to it and I think that’s why it caused so much offense to people. This song is meant to be for the Middle East, but it’s not giving. But I like it because it’s catchy and fun.
Omar Djabi, 20, Algerian
The song is no reflection of Arab art and music. It does not fit the primary goal of hosting a World Cup in Qatar, which is to introduce and diffuse Arab culture to the rest of the world. It comes across as a failed effort to integrate Arab culture into the mainstream. In my opinion, Arhbo was way better in doing so.
Leila Abu Hamdan, 21, Lebanese
I feel like it was done just for the sake of diversity without actually really putting the work in. It didn’t feel original, as if they were just trying to replicate Shakira’s Waka Waka but without the spirit and execution. It was done hastily, and it’s just crazy to think that she had five years to draft it up. It’s just a shame for such a talented artist like Fares to put up such a poor performance. It sounds like a kid’s song. If I’m being honest, it just didn’t hit the spot.