Grading the Top 10 Songs in … AFGHANISTAN!

1. Farzana Naz & Tahir Shabab, “Lah Lah”

Farzana Naz is a singer from Kabul who sings in both of Afghanistan’s official languages: Pashto and Dari. She is the current reigning queen of the Afghan charts. Tahir Shabab is a pop singer based out of Frankfurt who was born in Jalabad. He often collaborates with his brother Sediq, another musician. This song is already fantastic, but just imagine the possibilities for remixes.

Grade: A

Best YouTube Comment: “Beautiful song, two great singers” — poloman1964


2. Farzana Naz, “Shamal”

A cantering mid-tempo ballad written by Master Ali Haider that showcases Naz’s beautiful feathery voice.

Grade: A

Best YouTube Comment: “I’m Mexican and I love Pashto Music :)” — Marcellno Al Andalusi


3. Latifa Azizi & Nabil Elhan, “Qataghan”

This video is the best use of lens flare I’ve seen in years. Not to mention a great synthesizer solo at about the two-minute mark.

Grade: A-

Best YouTube Comment: “The guy is on the phone whilst driving? negative influence?” — sudabeh safari


4. Aryana Sayeed, “Baanoo-e Aatash Nesheen”

Aryana Sayeed is a singer and songwriter who was born in Afghanistan, grew up in Pakistan and Switzerland, and now lives in London. She is currently a coach on the Afghani edition of The Voice. She is famous for singing live, breaking with the usual style of lip-synching to an audio playback track. “Baanoo-e Aatash Nesheen” is her tear-jerkingly trenchant commentary on women’s rights issues in Afghanistan, with lyrics like “I am slave because I am a wife / I am a headache when I am a sister.”

Grade: A

Best YouTube Comment: “Thank you very much aryana jan each time I see this clip I cry” — Anaida Mourns


5. Fardin Faryad, “Nafas”

Fardin Farad was born in Kabul, immigrated to Moscow, and eventually settled in Canada. Who doesn’t love a nice farm stand? Or a green car parked in the desert facing a mirror? Watch for the goats.

Grade: B

Best YouTube Comment: “he has a baby face haha very nice song” — Dreamzzgirl


6. Latifa Azizi & Hashmat Nangarhari, “Mashallah Mashallah”

This sounds like a Mario Kart beach level. That’s a plus.

Grade: B

Best YouTube Comment: “Lovely song” — manutdfc18


7. Chakavak Band, “Qarsak”

When it comes to boy bands, the bigger the better. Unless the Chakavak Band is just those two main guys doing all the singing, in which case the opposite.

Grade: B+

Best YouTube Comment: “ZEBA! GREAT SONG!!” — seosupermaster


8. Valy, “Come On Let’s Dance”

Valy Hedjasi is an Iranian expat with Afghani parents who grew up in Heidelberg, Germany. In “Come On Let’s Dance” he shows off his extreme clubbing prowess in Dubai. Good luck getting the chorus out of your head!

Grade: B

Best YouTube Comment: “Simple words, good music is the key………..good on u” — qkaz420


9. Shakib & Laili Zahidi, “Dilam”


Grade: A-

Best YouTube Comment: “these two i love such romantic couple…..both good looking” — Celltypewhatkind


10. Hamid Taban, “Hal Hala”

Man, has anyone ever seen a caricature artist’s drawing of them and been stoked about it? I didn’t think so. Hamid Talan chills on a giant staircase and leans against some big wood pillars. The breakdown about two and a half minutes in is stellar.

Grade: B+

Best YouTube Comment: “wow this song is hella good same with the music well done” — saylamon007

Filed Under: Grading the Charts

Molly Lambert is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ mollylambert