Ahmed Elhouli: “Karma” brings an electro-pop twist to R&B

Singer-songwriter Ahmed Elhouli from Melbourne Australia is gaining traction with his single “Karma”.  The artist seems to embrace the most palatable and exciting part of his musical persona —...

Singer-songwriter Ahmed Elhouli from Melbourne Australia is gaining traction with his single “Karma”.  The artist seems to embrace the most palatable and exciting part of his musical persona — the part that is both extremely relevant and extremely literate. Elhouli himself relishes every moment he gets to play the golden-voiced lothario dripping with swag and intelligence. His songs play like slicker, shinier and more soulful versions of the urban-edged electro-pop inundating the market. All twinkling synths and resonating bass lines, accompanied by smooth melodies lean on Ahmed Elhouli’s wide-ranging voice which reaches for the sky as it runs along its upper register. Strong in production and composition, and just effortlessly cool through the choruses, Elhouli’s songs overflow with catchy hooks and profound lyrical narratives.

“Karma” is built on that very same template, where every little production flourish and progression is in its right place, with almost no fat to be found. Constructed with a discerning eye, Elhouli’s powers are on full display here, as he sings the opening lines: “You forgot that I was your friend / Took me down when I needed help. / That is what I wanted to see cause I knew deep inside / The snake that was hiding in my life / All the bad that you replied / Will be back a 1000 times.” His voice at once coheres into a song that straddles the frustrations, intricacies and convictions of a relationship gone wrong.

“Karma” is rigorously constructed and produced to one end: putting Ahmed Elhouli in the spotlight. His voice stands front and center, supported by the understated percussion and rolling basslines, before the chorus of punctuating synths set in to drive the song to another level.

Elhouli is up to the challenge. He’s got smooth and mellifluous pipes, and he’s willing to push his vocals to where it needs to go, as he demonstrates here. In an age of mumble-mouth rappers and whispering pop voices, Ahmed Elhouli clear, resonating delivery is a blessing.

Quite surprisingly, the track’s profound wordiness also works to his favor – with packed verses and a rising choruses, Elhouli’s crystalline enunciation keeps you looped in and listening. It’s the type of performance and infectious songwriting that’s quickly becoming a lost art.

At just 2 minutes and 20 seconds long, “Karma” is an abbreviated listen that is essentially suitable for the digital download era. So if you typically champion tight songs that leave the listener begging for more, this one comfortably falls into that category.

In an era where moody tracks with dour production rules the R&B roost, the genre is in dire need of some levity. Ahmed Elhouli brings along an electro-pop twist, in a song that has a specific bounce that not just makes you want to listen, but makes you need to listen. At which point you’ll be able to benefit from the raw and revelatory lyrics which unfold with honest emotion.

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