After the early 2000s, I thought that Pakistani patriotic songs are not being made anymore. Then I came across these songs and my faith in this genre has been restored. The reason why we’re not so updated in this age of being “Super Updated” is maybe because everything is too accessible and we can easily ignore on giving a chance to what we are being given. Once we get back to watching music channels instead of news channels for entertainment, the situation of the country would be back to normal – and this thought was shared by Salman Ahmad. He’s right! There are so many patriotic songs around, forgotten, gone completely ignored and go in the “unpopular” category because they were just not given a chance. Here are a few of them:
1. Sabz Sufaid Rang- Asim Azhar. Rating: 4/5
Asim Azhar is known as the Bieber of Pakistan. I disagree – Asim’s better! His voice is controlled and has that little R&B feel, which makes his pop tunes sound very modern. “Sabz Sufaid Rang” was released for Cornetto Pop Rock Season 2, and I wonder why the Cornetto released songs never get famous, considering they are sponsored on every social media site! Hmmm… Anyway, “Sabz Sufaid Rang” is a nicely written national song which has everything a song should have; the lyrics are good, the video got directed by Adnan Malik and the music makes you want to grab the Pakistani flag and run in the streets! But unfortunately, you won’t hear it anywhere – What a pity!
2. Dil Se-Haroon, Muniba Mazari & Javaid Bashir. Rating: 4/5
I may get a little biased when it comes to “Dil Se” because this is the last national song (released in 2002) which makes your heart skip a beat while your eyes try to control them tears. 15 years after its release, Haroon decided to re-make the most “beautiful” song he ever wrote by borrowing vocals from Muniba Mazari and Javaid Bashir – And it turned out to be another beautiful experience. Muniba Mazari is one of Pakistan’s most respected and adored women; listing to her sing made this song a little extra special. Then the video made sure everyone was a part of it and makes you realize that Pakistan has a lot to offer! The song changes a key after the bridge and…. Ohhh did you just feel those goosebumps? Just PERFECT!
3. Jeena Hai Ab Sar Utha Ke-Strings feat. Zoe Viccaji. Rating: 4/5
The thing with sponsored songs is that we all tend to forget about them after the ad get a new brand ambassador. One of those forgotten gems is “Jeena hai ab sar utha ke” which was sponsored by Clear Shampoo – The video obviously included bouncy shiny hair for Zoe while Bilal and Faisal made sure they were having a good hair day! The song is highly theatrical and comes in the Adult Contemporary genre, which is (somehow) liked by everyone – and don’t forget, Strings is (somehow) liked by everyone too! Bilal, Faisal, Zoe got their verse turns followed by a well synced chorus with guitarring which may remind you very much of Faraz Anwar. Now the theme get some well-arranged brass selection and…. The song ends! Remind me why did I forget about “Jeena hai ab sar utha ke”. And did I mention the lyrics are highly motivational? Yes?
4. Roshan Pakistan-Amanat Ali. Rating: 4/5
No, I’m not talking about the 7AM PTV show many of the 80s-90s generation watched before going to school, I’m talking about a nice little song by Amanat Ali which was sponsored by USAID on educating Pakistan. “Roshan Pakistan” is…. Catchy, I mean I just heard it once and I’m singing the chorus in my head constantly. Try it if you don’t believe me! It’s a song which is being taught in school singing lessons – Amanat Ali being the teacher and the children follow with a melodious choir. And once you get into the groove of the song, it finishes (yes, it’s just a 2 minute 18 seconds song, it really does finish in a snap). I also want to mention Amanat Ali’s perfect Raags and Suurs, which go super smooth with the pop sound of “Roshan Pakistan”. That’s pretty much it! Thanks!
5. Pakistan-Naseer & Shahab. Rating: 5/5
The song doesn’t even start and you start to feel those goosebumps pop up just by listening to Quaid-e-Azam addressing the nation. And then the title of the song – “Pakistan” – it doesn’t need any more explanation. Once Naseer starts to sing Pushto in his deep voice, you just know that there is too much emotion there, even if you don’t understand the language he’s singing. The highs and lows, like a U2 song, something just grabs you. To make everything more perfect, the song made sure that you get to hear the voice of the father of the nation in the end again – and then you press repeat!
6. Kaun Kehta Hai Mein Beyikhtiyar Hoon-Zenab Fatimah. Rating: 2.5/5
If you listen to the song without the video, you’re not going to be impressed by it; once you’ve seen the video, you’re then going to understand what is it all about. Happened to me, it can happen to you too. Musically, the song is…. Average. Lyrically, it’s also average – then you watch the video and find out it’s about women empowerment in Pakistan and THEN you suddenly like the song. The chorus line: “Khawab takti rahi, aur main larti rahi” (I kept dreaming, didn’t give up the good fight) – explains the whole process of struggle once you dream, but consider this with the reference of a woman, it gets deeper! Doesn’t it?
7. Ye Mera Pakistan-Jal-The Band. Rating: 2/5
“Ye Mera Pakistan” has 2 versions: The Rock version and the Boring version. I unfortunately heard the boring version before the rock version. But anyway, the song is all about cricket, it was made for the World Cup of 2007 and there is a reason why very less people know about this song wink. The melody is very Jal-ish while Farhan Saeed and Gohar Mumtaz take singing turns to make it feel more complete. Although the song has lots of patriotism in it, and yet it doesn’t give the “national song” feel to it. Yes, you hear the word “Pakistan” a lot, but something is missing. Something-is-missing….
8. Pasban-Shafqat Amanat Ali. Rating: 3.5/5
Written for the Pakistan Navy, the song is absolutely beautiful. The melody and Shafqat’s soulful voice just makes the whole experience truly sentimental. The song is composed in a perfect manner, the lyrics and the melody complete one another like jigsaw pieces. Sure, it won’t be heard everywhere, but I hope it is given a chance on defense day a little more from now onwards.
9. Pakistaniyat-SomeWhatSuper feat. Hamza Akram. Rating: 4/5
When EDM gets a nationality, the song becomes “Pakistaniyat”. I think this is the first song in the national songs category which would make you want to dance like crazy (I mean, come on, it should, it’s EDM). SomeWhatSuper is most famous for their collaboration with Abid Brohi in the song “The Sibbi Song” and now this. If Pakistan had charts, I could easily say that this one might’ve stayed on #1 for a few weeks, but since we don’t have such things, we never gave any attention to this song and SomeWhatSuper’s brilliant talent in making international standard Electronic Dance Music! (that’s EDM btw). Hamza Akram’s sufi voice makes the song a wonderful merger between the eastern raag and western notes and hence, a perfect modern national song!
10. Sab Saath Chalain-Kashmir – Rating: 2/5
If I heard this song from a far, I would’ve thought that it’s some typical song from the English music charts. I’m not saying that Pakistani music shouldn’t sound like that, but I’m just not very impressed from the overall song composition. Yes, this is what the younger generation appreciates now a days, and I hope they support Kashmir’s effort in making this song – but honestly, it’s not even catchy! The video was sponsored by “Outfitters” so you can see a lot of nice clothes there too (No, Outfitters didn’t give me any money to say this). The video is nicely directed and…. Yes, I forgot to mention the guitaring part, that was really nice.
11. Tu Salamat Watan -Shafqat Amanat Ali, Faakhir, Sahir Ali Bagga, Hina Nasarullah. Rating: 2/5
THIS is unfortunately the kind of national song you’d hear everywhere. It has star power, the PTV factor and the melody which goes well in national function themes. Musically, it has structure and yet it sounds annoying. Lyrically, it’s sentimental, exactly how it should be. Yes, at times it touches you very deeply, and yet you feel like being in the audience (in the 1990s) of “Tariq Aziz Show”. If this song was recorded 30-35 years earlier, it might’ve been a hit as well. But not today, na-ah’, and yet you’d hear it here and there. I can’t even say that it could’ve been better – it sounds exactly like it should, it’s perfect in its own ways! But it doesn’t make this song good! No!
12. We’ll Rise Again -Atif Aslam, Todd Shea & Lanny Cordola. Rating: 1/5
I remember expecting too much from this song but then after hearing it once, I never heard it again. Years after that experience, I heard “We’ll Rise Again” again and it still didn’t change my thoughts about it. Yes, it’s highly professional, and it was written for a wonderful cause, but it just doesn’t click. It even has Atif Aslam to grab the fans, but it failed to do so. It’s a forgotten song and unfortunately it will remain to be one. The lyrics are of course very heart touching, and the theme around which it has been written is of course a big plus too, but, naaa…!
13. Hum se hai Pakistan-Natasha Baig. Rating:3.5/5
“Hum se hai Pakistan” has a very sporty feel to it, and then it’s about women empowerment! The song has the rhythm and the beat to become an earworm, and you don’t mind it much either. Natasha Baig would also be seen in Coke Studio Season 11 this year, and I have good hopes from her. Also, you’d be reminded of the Viccaji sisters when you see her perform – ta-da, she was mentored by Zoe Viccaji in “Cornetto Music Icons”, no surprises there. Vocally, her voice sounds very common, and yet it has the uniqueness which has the ability to make a song have its own aura – and “Hum se hai Pakistan” has it.
14. Pakistan se Rishta -Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. Rating: 2/5
If this song was written by Sohail Rana in the 70s, it might’ve been a big hit. The video is FULL OF STARS! It literally has the best, most renowned actors in the Pakistan TV industry. Musically, the song doesn’t impress you in the first listen, neither in the 2nd listen – although a lot of effort can be heard in the composition, and the lyrics are carefully selected emotional words, and yet – they don’t hit you much! Maybe it’s Rahat’s delivery? Or maybe the song sounds too desperate to be liked. For some reason, I am imagining Rahat on PTV, lip-syncing to this song on 14th August! Hmmm… In the 3rd listen, I found the verse part catchy! Should I give a 4th try?
15. Pakistan-Umer Farooq & Qasim Ben Tariq. Rating: 3/5
This song was released on 14th of August, 2017 and in a year, YouTube is barely showing 1500 video views. What a pity! I just want to say: It’s a very good alternate rock song. The sound is highly underground and yet it sounds perfectly mature. The video is pretty good too – Squash and Boxing are highlighted and how one can always follow their dreams if they really want to achieve them. And this is how they have portrayed the Pakistani nation – wonderful! The vocals are worth a praise too, yes some slight polish required, but the approach is fantastic! Yes! Good song!
Happy Independence Pakistan. We all wish, pray and hope that bit by bit we will make the country and society better.
I hope you enjoyed these reviews and listening to the music. Feel free to share your thoughts and feedback by commenting. You can also get in touch with me through Twitter.
The page is a part of Cool Bluez (2018)