New Republic: The Islamic State Produced the Most Influential Song of the Year

You probably won’t find “Dawlat al-Islam Qamat” on the many lists of the year’s best music. But the song has defined the year quite literally in life and death, and marked the emergence of a quasi-state that got the world’s attention. “My Ummah, Dawn Has Appeared,” to give it its English name, is perhaps the most beguiling, hypnotic, disturbing piece of music you might have heard all year. And you probably have heard it—or at least snippets of it, before a news report cuts away or you can no longer stomach what you’re watching.

Released at the end of 2013, “My Ummah, Dawn Has Appeared” sounds almost timeless. It opens with soaring Arabic chants unaccompanied by musical instruments, either hypnotizing the listener or lulling him to sleep. It’s only as you approach the three-minute mark that you realize this is no ordinary piece of music, and you’ll be shaken from your soporific state. There’s the sound of a sword being drawn, boots marching, and a burst of staccato gunfire…