Dana International’s latest album, Hakol Ze Letova, was my second favorite album of 2007 (Siobhan Donaghy’s Ghosts being my #1 fave). I ranked it above Kylie’s X, people. You know Hakol Ze Letova must be fab!
Hakol Ze Letova is equal parts joyous celebration and bittersweet contemplation – all set to flawless dance productions. Now when you think of Dana International, “bittersweet contemplation” is probably not what comes to mind. You’d be forgiven if you couldn’t quite believe that Dana’s song themes could go deeper than, say, the lyrical depths plumbed (and banana-ed… and potato-ed…) in “Cinque Milla.” But, you’d be wrong.
Dana’s discography boasts quite a few songs that are tinged with a bit of sadness. Even her first album (Danna International) featured a cover of Queen’s “The Show Must Go On,” a track not exactly bursting with happiness. Subsequent albums had tracks (in particular, “Ani Lo Yechola Biladecha,” “If You Don’t Love Me The Way I Am,” “Hargasha Tova,” and “Ad Hayom,”) that showed a more vulnerable side of this glamorous diva.
Hakol Ze Letova is lyrically Dana’s most personal album to date (she even wrote the lyrics to several of the tracks) and musically one of her best – quite possibly the best. The lyrical themes seem to be divided into three categories: fun lyrics that hearken back to the flamboyant, carefree singles of her early days (“Love Boy,” “Memagnet,” and “Seret Hodi”); lyrics about how life and love can be sad but ultimately things will be OK (“Hakol Ze Letova,” ” Yom Huledet,” “Yalla Balagan,” “At Muchana,” “Eifo Halev?” and “Yom Aher”); and lyrics about life and love just being sad (“Bereshit,” “Lo Ma’amina,” and “Behoravot ha’ahava”). The music suits the themes beautifully, from the exuberant Bollywood beats of “Seret Hodi” to the wistful, yearning strings on “Behoravot ha’ahava.” Absolutely flawless production!
The album is kicked off in style by lead single “Hakol Ze Letova,” a dreamy trance track with killer beats, swooping synths, and a great sentiment – “hakol ze letova” (“it’s all for the best”). The storming tempo of the first track is slowed just a tiny bit with “Yom Huledet,” a gorgeously melancholy dance song about birthdays marking the passing of time. The beats keep rolling along in “Bereshit” (“Genesis”), where Dana sings about having a grand old time in the Garden of Eden – until she gets kicked out. It’s actually a rather depressing tale! But “Bereshit” has a chorus that’s irresistible, so it’s all good.
The tribal-influenced “Lo Ma’amina” was written by Dana and, like “Hakol Ze Letova,” is a bit of a “message” song about believing in yourself. “Yalla Balagan” has a spirited reggae vibe that you’ll find yourself humming along to! Idan Yaniv, a popular Israeli singer, guests on “Seret Hodi,” a brilliantly catchy his-and-hers tune about how we’re all living in a Bollywood movie!
The striking synths that open Dana’s record-breaking hit “Love Boy” let you know that you’re in for a treat! This fab disco-inspired track is so much fun and a true highlight of the album. We go from fun to fierce with the next track, “At Muchana.” Its grinding guitars and driving rock beat underscore Dana’s aggressive vocal performance as she sings about how “they” (the media?) just want to see her fail. Those meanies!
“Eifo Halev?” brings us back to the dance floor with its yearning cry of “eifo halev?” (“where is my heart?”). It’s another slightly melancholy yet energetic track and is one of my favorites on the album. The hyperactive “Memagnet,” however, is not. It’s OK, but a bit too average (and kind of annoying) for this superb album.
Things pick right back up, though, with the piano-based ballad, “Yom Aher.” It’s a lovely little song with delicate production. The final track, “Behoravot ha’ahava,” is also a ballad and is just beautiful. Atmospheric and despondent, the song is a haunting close to Hakol Ze Letova. (There are two bonus remixes, but they aren’t really a proper part of the album, are they?)
Give the album a try – you will not be disappointed!