Nothing Defiant in Netta Barzilai’s New Single

'Nana Banana' very quickly turns into one-dimensional, superficial pop

Ben Shalev
Ben Shalev
Netta Barzilai at the Red Carpet Ceremony for Eurovision 2019, Tel Aviv, May 12, 2019.
Netta Barzilai at the Red Carpet Ceremony for Eurovision 2019, Tel Aviv, May 12, 2019.Credit: AFP
Ben Shalev
Ben Shalev

After two super-intensive songs that clucked like a bionic chicken and stomped like a rampaging rhino, one might expect Netta Barzilai to let up a bit on the gas the next time around. And indeed she does with her new single – but alas, not very well.

When you reduce the amount of volatile material, you have to make up for it by enhancing other elements. For instance, the thought and content that were completely absent from the gibberish-filled ballistic missile of her last song, “Basa Sababa.”

Admittedly, any hope that such things would be found in Barzilai’s new single were immediately dampened with the news that it would be called “Nana Banana.” Not that no thought went into “Nana Banana.” It even has a thread of an idea. Barzilai sings about the right to take it easy, not to participate in the race, to shut yourself in your bubble with ice cream and pajamas.

But instead of developing this idea in a clever, candid and vulnerable way, Barzilai and her two partners here (Stav Beger and Natan Goshen) very quickly turn the song into one-dimensional, superficial pop. “Nana banana, I do what I wanna” goes the chorus. This is not empowerment, it’s not free will and it’s certainly not defiance – It’s just childish narcissism: A “because I feel like it” mentality. It makes the gibberish of “Basa Sababa” sound good.

Musically, too, “Nana Banana” feels half-baked. The song starts out like a bit of happy, laid-back reggae pop, a logical choice for a song that talks about not wanting to do what everyone else is doing. But “Nana Banana” doesn’t stick to its original intention for long. Before you know it, the reggae vibe has been abandoned and the song reshapes itself, albeit with a drop of charm, into totally routine pop music, circa 2019.

How can you believe her assertion that she only does what she wants, when it sounds like she doesn’t even believe it herself?

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