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Rihanna. Madonna. Shakira. GooGoosha? Meet The Latest Pop Princess (Update)


Gulnara Karimova, aka GooGoosha
Gulnara Karimova, aka GooGoosha
Move over Rihanna, Madonna, Adele, Pink, Shakira, Ke$ha, Fergie, and Beyonce. There's a hot new one-named female singer in town.

Gaga, meet GooGoosha, whose eponymous first album in English went on sale on iTunes,, and elswhere across the United States, Europe, and Asia on June 5.

Who is GooGoosha?

Her website, lavishly adorned with all manner of glamour shots of the blonde bombshell, says she's a "poet, mezzo soprano, designer, and exotic beauty." Many citizens in her native, impoverished Uzbekistan would describe her as a robber baron and a thief with shadowy links to mafiosi. (UPDATE: The website appears now to have been taken offline.)

Everyone else knows her as Gulnara Karimova, the 39-year-old jet-setting, jewelry-making, fashion-designing, and fabulously wealthy daughter of Islam Karimov, who has ruled Uzbekistan -- one of the world's worst abusers of human rights and press freedoms -- with an iron fist since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

GooGoosha is said to be Karimov's pet name for his eldest daughter. (Oh, isn't that cute. Maybe there's a gooey chewy center underneath Karimov's crusty carapace after all?)

She's sung in Uzbek before...

...but this is her first English-language effort.

GooGoosha's website describes her album as "an exotic potpourri of sounds and a personal testimony to the power of deeply felt emotions," a "very brave approach through modern pop, trip-hop and soft rock."

What do others think?

GooGoosha's website says that "Billboard" magazine published a "stellar review" of the album's debut single, "Round Run," in April. However, the link on her website takes readers to this less-than-stellar critique:
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A search on pulls up no references at all to GooGoosha.

Likewise for a "great interview" that supposedly did, also in April, with GooGoosha about "taking the independent route in the music business." A link on her website takes readers to the same gobbledygook paragraph, while a search on reveals no such interview.

(Note to GooGoosha: Fire your web team.)

Those unschooled in the ways of music criticism might describe GooGoosha as an unabashed Madonna wannabe -- bland, pseudo-exotic pop, featuring lots of lush but lifeless harmonies, banal lyrics (the only thing on the album written by GooGoosha herself, it seems), and lots of those bleeps and blips that were all the rage back in 2009.

Imagine if Enya and Moby had a love child.

Well, take a listen to "Round Run" and judge for yourself:
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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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