Salams, hellos and hi to everyone. As the winter season starts in Pakistan, nothing can be more perfect than having a cup of coffee, enjoying and sharing a plate of dry fruits and listening to the songs and melodies of creative Pakistani music artists. So here are my November music reviews for you.
1. Strings – Urr Jaon. Rating: 5/5
“Urr Jaon” is the 2nd single which has been released for the Strings 30 project. It came a few weeks after “Sajni” by taking a totally different approach in music and lyrical dimensions. I mean, you get to hear Bilal sing instead of Faisal, and then the video was directed by Strings’ signature director – Jami; and this time the video was more transparent than what he did in the past! Come on, it’s a full package. “Urr Jaon” won’t really impress you in the first listen, you may feel like there is something missing – but as the song gradually takes its pace, it starts to get on you and you’re gonna feel bad to have thought that it isn’t that good! Yes, it’s AWESOME! You can hear Bilal actually going in a very smooth pace, no major effort there in putting them high notes – I mean, he knows that he can’t put raags, so why experiment, right? And did I mention the late 80s/early 90s feel in the song structure? And with all that realization, the song ends with the tempo getting slower – the same experiment which Bilal made Sahir Bagga do in “Baazi” in Coke Studio 10. Some things reflect well!
2. Schaz Khan – Main Udaan Hun. Rating: 3.5/5
I have one major question: Why is Schaz Khan not a renowned name? EMI Pakistan is producing her music, she must have something in her… Hmmm! After looking around here and there to know more about Schaz, I found a nice little interview from which I have suddenly raised my respect bar for her. She’s a rebel – her music depicts that as well and yet, the overall environment is positive and motivational. “Main Udaan Hun” is a very beautiful song, which talks about the power one has within, only if they understand – You’re the flight yourself, that too is a very non-Sufi way! It’s barely a 2.5 min song with a decent melody; Schaz’s vocals are effortlessly smooth and…. Ohhh, did I mention that Schaz’s is the lead guitarist in her songs?
3. Ali Noor and Sajnana Zehra – Allah Allah Bol. Rating: 3.5/5
I heard this song for the first time thanks to the YouTube marketing for the Pakistani Animated Film “Allahyaar and the Legend of Markhor”. It’s not really an impressive song, no, not at all, but it’s likable – that’s is why it’s called “Pop music”. The song has a very typical “chart music” feel, but it’s catchy enough to keep your mind busy in humming something – Either it will annoy you, or it will make you want to listen to the song again. Produced by Ahsan Pervaiz (yes, that same guy from the band “Siege”) – he can be seen in the video, with some other familiar faces too. Sanjana Zehra (Ali Noor’s daughter) also showed us some talent she inherited from the family. All in all, “Allah Allah Bol” makes you want to move with its groove!
4. Nida Arab – Aa Bhi Jao. Rating:3/5
You miss the 90s pop, but you’re too much glued to the music which was released in the 2010s? Then there are artists, who have given a nice little mixture of both in their songs and yes yes YES indeed Nida Arab is one of them with her song called “Aa Bhi Jao”. She doesn’t have the most amazing voice, her music isn’t extra ordinary; Average is the word, but that is what makes them pop artists – Their ability to make something which many others don’t, and that is what makes them special. Her voice is more known in Drama OSTs…. And in my observation, the dramas which are not mainly HUM TV based, so… That’s why she probably never had her major breakthrough even after being in the music industry for so long. All in all, “Aa bhi Jao” is a nice little song which no one would mind when it suddenly pops up on the radio. I find Nida’s voice has a very TV commercial feel. Hey Nida, have you ever sung TVC Jingles?
5. Nabeel Shaukat Ali – Kooch. Rating:3.5/5
If you don’t listen to a lot of Pakistani music, but “Kooch” pops up, you’re gonna feel like you’ve heard it before, and there is a chance you most definitely did. But where? Recently, a remake of this very same song has been sung by Azhar Abbas for the movie “Load Wedding” and hence there is a chance that you’ve heard this song on: TV, Radio, in a wedding, in a wedding movie, in a friend’s car or maybe in the market when you’re on your way to buy some Naan from the Tandoor. I prefer Nabeel Shaukat’s version, because it sounds more happy and bubbly! What a voice, right? Fits in every genre. Don’t forget the song has a nice video too – absolutely gorgeous model, who is she?
6. Schaz Khan – Piyar Mein. Rating: 3/5
Image courtesy: Schaz Khan Facebook
My heart skipped a beat when I check out Schaz’s facebook profile in which she mentioned “Roxette” as the first name in her musical influences! Schaz – You’ve got yourself a fan! And for some reasons, her voice sounds like a music teacher, don’t you think so? “Piyar Mein” is the title track of her album with the same name: “Piyar Mein”, and it makes me feel Chrissie Hynde singing in Urdu. It’s an album song, which hasn’t ended up being a single yet. Although, I’m not sure if Schaz is planning on releasing it as a single or not. The song goes in a smooth melody, with a very direct structure so it may not be very attractive for many – But that’s easy listening. She is mainly inspired by music from the 80s so there is a touch of particularly late 80s/early 90s in her songs and….. I mean, my only concern is WHY is Schaz not so famous even after 14-15 years of being in the music industry? And particularly, her voice can fit Drama OSTs real well. I wish to know more about Schaz, like is she making music in Pakistan or somewhere else? Is she doing this as a hobby or as a profession? Questions questions questions…..
7. Taha G – Shayad. Rating:4.5/5
Image courtesy: Taha G Facebook
The first time, I head this song – I went all “What is this?” and gave a whatever-and-a-half rating before the song started to get on me! I’d still give one comment: Good song, but requires a little bit of production polish. The lyrics are relatable to half the population who won’t admit what they’re going through because it’s still taboo to talk about depression. There is no rhyming, it’s like a rap song which doesn’t have a rap format! Taha is singing like he’s simply talking, in everyday language. Hard core music listeners are going to disapprove of the song, and probably will make fun of it for being so straight forward – to me, that makes it even more special. I made a few other friends listen to this song, and their reaction was the same: a minute of “What on earth is this” and then a “Ohhhhh, OK, this is a nice song”. That’s not just it – It’s mega catchy! You’re going to find yourself humming this song later in the evening, believe me!
8. Kaya the Band – Raanva. Rating:2.5/5
Put a little more snare in “Raanva” and you’d feel like it’s a Drama OST. Afsheen, Russell and Emad make Kaya, which is version 2.0 of “The Milestones”, the Pakistani band from the 90s. “Raanva” is the title track of Kaya’s album “Raanva” – and is probably one of the most prominent songs in the album. Afsheen’s vocals are worth an applause with it’s balanced raags and controlled surrs. It’s a song which will make you feel familiar to it for no reason. You’d suddenly imagine being in a coffee house, with some dim lights and a live band is showing it’s talent in the corner – this song fits the environment really well, doesn’t it?
9. Asif Hasan – Dekhoon Tujhe Toh. Rating:2/5
THIS is a typical song which particularly boys like. It’s like one of those Bollywood love songs which boys listen to when they freshly fall for someone and also would also be seen listening to it on a nice volume in the woofers of their cars. With over a million views on YouTube, this song is already famous. The song is a part of an online drama called “Hum Kahan Chal Diye” which features DhoomBros. DhoomBros is a group of 4 Pakistani-American brothers who are pretty famous for their Vlogs – hence, the million views wink. It’s a love song, more like a ballad – tender, mellow and extremely cheesy!
10. Zoheb Hassan – Sunno Sunno (DJ Swami Remix). Rating:2/5
Image Courtesy: Zoheb Hassan Facebook
I’m a crazy Zoheb Hassan Fan – I am not from the early 80s generation and yet I still consider him a heartthrob! “Sunno Sunno” is a part of his latest album called “Signature” and more of a medley of some old Nazia & Zoheb songs (Disco Deewane, Terey Qadmon Ko and Koi Nahin) with a “Sunno Sunno” chorus in between. I would’ve been more interested in this mix if it didn’t sound so much…. Remixed! The tabla/dhol feel in the music is an absolute misfit honestly. I do like the “Sunno Sunno” part and besides, Zoheb’s voice has that smoothness which still keeps things fresh! And yes, it has a party feel to it, so you can put it on Wedding functions too! Think about it!
Well I hope you enjoyed reading these reviews and listening to the melodious tunes. Let me know how you find the songs and the reviews by commenting below or you can get in touch with me through my Twitter.
The page is a part of Cool Bluez (2018)