Plain and simple: Omer Adam OWNED Israeli music in 2018.
He was named singer of the year on all major radio stations. His mega-hit “Shney Meshuga’im” was named “song of the year” on almost every countdown out there, and was streamed more than any other Israeli song this year on Spotify.
In fact, Spotify’s top three most-streamed songs of the year were all by Omer Adam.
He also commanded – and earned – about 200,000 shekels (about $55,000) per concert on the eve of Yom Ha’atzmaut 2018. He appeared in FIVE different cities that night, bringing in about a quarter million bucks over the course of 4-5 hours.
How do I get HIS job?
Anyway, every major retrospective of Israeli music this year features Omer at the top of the list. OK, we get it. Omer Adam had an insane year. But what if we look past Omer Adam? What if we looked at the OTHER Israeli songs that entertained us in 2018? So we’re dong just that.
And for the purposes of this article, we’re also going to ignore Netta’s “Toy.” Yes, we’re thrilled that Israel won the Eurovision. Yup, we’re thrilled for Netta’s success worldwide. Yes, we LOVED seeing her on the “Today” show. YAY FOR ISRAELI PRIDE! Now let’s move on.
1. Eli Botner & Aviv Aloosh – Ha’chi Karov Eilayich
2. Shlomo Artzi – Kayitz Osah Li Tov
Speaking of summer songs, the latest hit from King Shlomo was a radical departure from his usual style. That’s because he enlisted the help of “Jordi” (Yarden Peleg), the hottest music producer in Israel right now. Jordi’s success with Static and Ben-El Tavori has made him the go-to guy if you want to reach the ears of Israelis nowadays, and Shlomo was ready for a makeover. The result? A fun summer song that was heard throughout the beaches of Israel all season long, with a younger-sounding Shlomo ready to endear himself to an entire new generation.
Oh, and speaking of Static and Ben-El…
3. Static and Ben-El Tavori – Goomigam
The boys have had a pretty insane 2018. From a USA concert tour that proved they were as hot in America as they are in Israel…to a multi-million dollar contract with Capitol Records…to their first single in English (that sounded vaguely familiar to longtime fans), Static & Ben-El continued to enjoy their 15+ minutes of fame. Oh, they also released a couple of hit songs in Israel. They taught us a new word in Japanese (“Kawaii”, which means “cute”), and “Goomigam,” which had us all singing along to their song about ice cream and bathing suits on the beach. Not a bad 2018 at all, and 2019 has the potential to take their celebrity status to a whole new level.
4. Rita & Meshi Kleinstein – K’chi Lach
I love this sweet duet between mother and daughter. It was a highlight of her concert I attended this past summer in Caesarea. Here are some selected lyrics. Rita: “Take with you the song that I sang to you while you were inside me / Take with you my emotional tears when you came out of me…Take the pride of your mother for the human being you are / Take my heart, it’s yours…it’s all food for the journey.” Meshi: “Take with you the warmth of the hug that is only ours / take with you my confused tears…Take the pride of your daughter for the human being you are.” Both: “Take with you all the stories…the special cry that only you and I know…the secrets of the world…the conversations that are only ours…” Beautiful.
5. Stephane Legar – Comme ci, comme ça
Living on this side of the pond, we Diaspora Jews tend to romanticize Israel, don’t we? To us, it’s truly a land flowing with milk and honey…where the people are gorgeous, the beaches are breathtaking, the food delicious and plentiful…blah, blah, blah. Hearing us, most Israelis just want to throw up. To many, there’s nothing glamorous about life in Israel; quite the contrary. And so, when Stephane Legar sets to music what most Israelis have been complaining about in cafes for years, the song takes off as a viral hit. Singing in French and Hebrew, Legar characterizes everything about the country as “so-so.” Well, almost everything. The women? “Ooh la la…”
6. Nadav Guedj – Oolai Nedaber
Best known as our then-16-year-old Israeli Eurovision representative in 2015, Nadav Guedj has achieved worldwide notoriety and fame. On the road to his “Kochav Haba” victory in 2015, he impressed everyone by sounding way, WAY older than 16. Despite a few English-language hits, however, his career in Israel seems to have stalled a bit of late. It was time for Nadav to reinvent himself, and we’re glad he did. He’s now singing Hebrew (yes!) , and scored a big hit with “Oolai Nedaber” – a soulful R&B-type track that enjoyed great success in 2018. He even opened for Static and Ben-El during their USA tour! Now 20, Nadav has an exciting musical career to look forward to in Israel.
7. Sagiv Cohen & Tal Segev – Nessiya Tovah
A fantastic song that didn’t seem to make a big splash in Israel. Who cares? I love it. As I wrote back in October, “I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the song was one of those “feel-good” songs about Israel, about music, about our brave Israeli chayalim (soldiers), about taking a road trip, and about enjoying life’s journeys. It’s the kind of song you’ll want to have handy for your next road trip…or at least to make your morning traffic a little more tolerable.” You may not find it on any of the year-end retrospectives, but it’s a fun song that I want you to hear before the year comes to a close.
8. Eden Ben Zaken – Chaim Sheli
If we’re leaving Omer Adam out of this list (sorry, Omer), we MUST include Eden Ben Zaken – another Israeli artist who scored VERY big in 2018. Not only did she produce a solid stream of hits, but she also got married! Eden tied the knot with Shuki Bitton on May 25. Not only did she come home with a new husband, but also with a hit song and video. “Chaim Sheli” – My Life – was the song Eden sang at the wedding, and the Israeli public ate it up – hungry for a behind-the-scenes look into the private wedding of one of Israel’s biggest celebrities. Watch for Eden’s star to grow even brighter in 2019.
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We’ve only begun to scratch the surface. Tune in to Israel Hour Radio this week for our retrospective of the best Israeli music in 2018. What was your favorite song of the year? Tell us, and we’ll do our best to play it on the air!