Happy Independence Day to Pakistan and all Pakistanis all over the globe. This year, we dedicate this edition to people of Indian Occupied Kashmir who are facing worst humanitarian crisis, being denied their independence and basic human rights since more than 72 years. We hope that sanity and humanity prevails and people of Kashmir be safe.
1. Mera Pakistan-Ali Noor feat. 100 Pakistanis. Rating: 5/5
I think “Mera Pakistan” is the best melody produced as a national song after Haroon’s “Dil se” in 2002/03. Woah, it took more than 15 years – that’s a loonnngggg time. Ali Noor collaborated with some handpicked artists of Pakistani Pop such as Shiraz Uppal, Ahsan Pervez, Sara Haider, Ayesha Omer, Rabi Pirzada, Kami Paul and some talent, which may be seen later spreading colors here in music. It’s basically an Acappella, which is music produced by humans without any musical instrument, so it’s brilliance is naturally multiplied by 100!!! The lyrics are sweet enough to make your heart smile, they are full of hope and can make you feel surrounded by the brightness of joy, peace and prosperity. It is so groovy that you just want to jump in the chorus and be a part of this happy wave. “Mera Pakistan” is mainly sponsored by Strepsils, so let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that we get to listen to this song again and again and again! Now would you please stand up in the honour of the awesomeness of Ali Noor?
2. Hum Aik Hain (EDM Mix)-Almadar Khan feat. Sarmad Ghafoor . Rating: 1.5/5
When I listen to a new Pakistani song, I try to first check out if it has a video – and of course, a song like “Hum Aik Hain” has a it, where I mainly got to know that Alamdar Khan had to change his clothes a loooottttt of times. No seriously, check out the video yourself if you don’t believe me! The song is a wannabe EDM to my ears, but if it was more organic – then I’d cut even more points than I already did. The lyrics are like how they should be, but they don’t make your heart beat any faster unfortunately – that is to say that it doesn’t trigger any national spirit. On the other hand, the video is pretty cool – colorful with a lot of different cultures participating, showing the strength of brotherhood this nation offers.
3. Bolo-Zoe Viccaji & Zohaib Kazi feat. Pakistanis. Rating: 4/5
This Kazi-Viccaji duo should make more music together – because they end up making good stuff. “Bolo” is a tiny little song which is full of colors, full of light and full of hope! Initially it sounds like some sponsored material for a Shampoo ad, but thankfully it’s not! Viccaji sounds relaxed like she always does when she sings, while those beats make sure that you listen to Zohaib Kazi’s signature between those notes. The chorus part is sung by a lot of people, therefore they decided to call it “Zoe Viccaji & Zohaib Kazi featuring Pakistanis” – cute little concept I’d say! And of course, “Bolo” has a nice video, where there is plenty of youth working with colors like they do and making banners which are basically the song lyrics – which are also colorful and bright “rangon main rang bharnay do” (let us fill colors in colors) – nice, right?
4. Mere Watan-Atif Aslam. Rating:2.5/5
Atif gave this performance in Battle of the Bands of 2017 by mixing his very own “Mahi Wey” with “Meray Watan Teri Jannat Main Ayengay Ek Din” in the Kashmiri language. Initially it goes all high energy with “Mahi Wey” where the whole band was rocking with each note! The song took a step into beautification after 2 minutes where it starts to gives chills with a little fiddle and then Atif suddenly mellows the environment by singing this classic in a respectful tone. It takes its pace gradually, stays in its climax and ends up with a beautiful ending where Atif goes “Meray Watan Teri Jannat Main Ayengay Ek Din” – And indeed, I’d listen to the whole song just to listen to this ending part!
5. Apna Aap Milay-Laal, the Band. Rating: 1.5/5
As much as I admire Taimur Rehman, I still couldn’t like this song. I mean, “Apna Aap Milay” is lyrically very nice and somehow knows where to impress the listener with its strong climax points inspired from the poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, BUT musically it is filled with empty holes – it just sounds music-less. Maybe it requires some basic production skill, some filler instruments and a bit of… Loudness! Mahvash Waqar somehow sounds useless, which is a pity because she keeps the ability of bringing more soul and emotion in the songs she is a part of. “Apna Aap Milay” also has a video, a rooftop performance and a bit of red carried by all the band members because it’s “Laal, the band”.
6. Urainge- Ali Zafar. Rating: 3.5/5
I do not have the strength to write about what happened on the 16th of December, 2014 – and this song was written for what happened on that day. I can only give a little review on the song – and to me, this is a really good melody. Heart wrecking, and that is why I don’t listen to it. Musically and structurally it’s how it’s supposed to be, with its adult contemporary genre and meaningful waves. Lyrically, it can break you in tears. And for this “Urainge” project, almost 40 stars joined Ali Zafar to share the nation’s pain.
7. Jinnah- Soch, the Band – Rating: 3/5
OK, first of all – Kudos to the concept of this song. Soch has shown with “Jinnah” that over the years, they have matured plenty as a band – the older they get, they better they’d give their art. “Tera Jinnah Mera Jinnah; Rondaa Howe Ga” (Your Jinnah, My Jinnah; must be crying). The lyrics makes you activate your brain cinema and you start to picture the words with the intensity of the emotion behind the history. Musically, it is all original instruments and overall gives a very serious feel, and that is exactly how it’s supposed to be. I have to be a bit critical to the production, because even with the strings, it gives a raw underground sound. And if you are interested in liking the song a little more, check out its video – a part of you will cry with the last scene where one sees a representation of Jinnah with tears. Hats off to Adnan Dhool and Rabi Ahmed!
8. Pyar ke Diye-Faiza Mujahid. Rating:1.5/5
If you want a PTV feel, listen to “Pyar ke Diye” – because it was specifically made for 23rd March. It sounds like a song from the mid-90s and not in a good way! Also, you don’t have to be a genius to tell that this song has been composed by Waqar Ali – it has his style written all over it. Sure, lyrically it’s a perfect national song, and the melody is catchy enough (in an annoying way) to be an Earworm, but it’s just…. Not…. Good! It’s like your job – you pretend all day that it’s awesome but at the end of the day, you’re not satisfied with it like you pretend it does. The video also has a very PTV feel, kids running around with flags, green and white and you know the rest. There are parts where Quaid-e-Azam’s speeches are added, that’s pretty amazing! There is also a children’s choir, which felt necessary in the song atmosphere. Youth was shown to be enthusiastic, which sort of gave a light at the end of the tunnel and of course – Faiza Mujahid!! She sounds amazing, but this song is still not for her! Make a rock national song, will you?
9. Peace Anthem (Aman ke Rang)-Buitems Band. Rating: 4/5
“Aman ke Rang” is a song performed by the students of BUITEMS and it is absolutely beautiful. The melody is dripping sweetness, the mature immaturity in their music, the light of hope in each and every line sung, the aura of peace – what else do you want? The lyrics are heartwarming and the music completely supports the concept of it being a “Peace Anthem”. And all the choir like parts just fills your heart with joy – the hope in the eyes of youth! I tried to know a bit more about this band, and found a cool little piece on them on Patari: “Every single person is an amateur. They’re probably looking for a break too. Na milli to nokrio main lag jayen gae. Sari Umer pen pencilo main guzar dain gae yeh imagine kartay k agar singer ban jatay to kya kya hota”. Brilliant!
10. Azaad- Kohi. Rating: 2.5/5
“Azaad” is a nicely composed Alternative Rock song, which may remind you of the music made in the early 2000s, except that it is really well produced. It’s one of those songs which finish the moment you get into its groove – and then you notice, “oh, OK, that’s a short song!”. “Kohi” is a new band mainly formed by Adil and Adeel. They were both parts of different bands and ultimately collaborated together to make your head move with their riffs. You may also have flashbacks from the music of EP, so be ready. “Azaad” was released by Patari music in June this year, so there is a chance that you may hear a bit more from them in the coming future. I’m looking forward to that, are you?
11. Apnay Watan ki Mitti-Naad-e-Ali, Jaffer Zaidi & Samra Khan. Rating: 4.5/5
Also known as the “Bahria Town Independence Day Song”, it was released in 2012 for mainly marketing purposes and then somehow never got a chance to hit the limelight. That is the main problem with sponsored songs; they get forgotten – and it’s a pity that a beautiful national song like “Apnay Watan ki Mitti” never got a chance to fill its green and white colors in the popular national song category. Sons of the legendary Nayyara Noor, Naad-e-Ali and Jaffer Zaidi joined hands with Samra Khan to build this beautiful melody which just gives a feel of purity, innocence, faith, love and peace. I’m probably one of Jaffer Zaidi’s biggest fan, so I just admire mostly everything he composes and “Apnay Watan ki Mitti” is a perfect example of his music writing style: the piano highlights, the happy flute contribution, the balanced raags and his secret ingredient of “emotion” (which really isn’t a secret). It’s so perfect that Sohail Rana would be proud to listen to it! Why don’t YOU also give a try listening to it?
12. Rung Do-Call. Rating: 4/5
Fact: There is a 90% chance that if Xulfi is involved in something, it is at least extremely AWESOME! “Rung Do” was a song in Call’s album “Dhoom” which was released in 2011 and in 2018, together with WWF, Call made this as an awareness song for the project of planting 1.4 million trees in a year in Pakistan – for making everything become more colorful and liveable. It’s actually a simple Ballad-ish Pop-Rock melody with a medium tempo, which gets liked by mostly everyone. The middle-8 makes sure that you feel that you feel the hair at the back of neck give some movement – you hear Junaid sing in his signature smiling voice and Xulfi in his tenderly sweet vocal notes – leading again to the heart touching chorus which this song concept revolves around. And did I mention the Violin solo by none other than Javaid Iqbal AKA Uncle J? AND: the video is as beautiful as a telecom company ad (that is of course a compliment). Yes – all the ingredients are there, they’ve been assembled perfectly – now try to smell the aroma which the music brings.
13. Chaand Sitara-Junaid Jamshed, Salman Ahmed & Shoaib Mansoor. Rating: 2.5/5
So, this was basically a PSL song and it was crazy hyped considering it was bringing together bits of Vital Signs and Junoon, and when something is THIS hyped, the expectations are also pretty high. I was one of them of course, and when I heard this song for the first time back in 2015, I was to some extent disappointed. Sure, it sounds like a Vital Signs composition, but it sounds like it was made in a hurry – Nothing too impressive with both the melody and the lyrics. And then there comes the middle-8 with parts from “Dil Dil Pakistan” – that sounded too desperate to my ears. On the other hand, it was just annoying to listen to “dil dil dil dil, chand chand chand chand”, I mean, c’mon, you’re not a teenage boy band! And of course, there is a video, where there is a hot air balloon all over Pakistan’s historical places, BUT (there is always a but) it looks too animated, which makes it have an overall artificial look. In the end, I’d just say that it’s a catchy tune, but won’t last for a really long time! And there is a reason why it is pretty much forgotten after 4 years from its release.
14. Ek Qaum, Ek Awaz- Natasha Baig feat. Nimra Rafiq, Shahjahan & Saad Hayat. Rating: 4/5
“Ek Qaum, Ek Awaz” is also called “Audionic Azadi Anthem” because of obvious reasons. But critically listening to this song, it’s actually a really really good composition. It has everything which a national song should have, but mainly: sweet lyrics with a sweet melody. The melody is enhanced with the excessive use of Sitar and Flute, and the pre-chorus having those drum beats which just sync with the heartbeat. And then the concept of the song – one nation, one sound (which is basically: one goal), and this line is later sung in all the main regional languages of the country making the Pakistani inside of you feel proud. All the singers involved in this song have done justice to it by making their voices show that they’ve sung it from their hearts. Bravo!
15. Pakistan Tu Hum Sab ki Jaan-Afzal Ghouri. Rating: 2.5/5
OK, this is one of those songs which are just… OK, but could’ve been really good! “Pakistan Tu Hum Sab ki Jaan” has a nice composition but it doesn’t really has a satisfying factor. The music is veeeerrryyy pop, and so highly pop that it took away the essence of making it a national song. The vocals are overly focused, and it makes you unnecessarily notice the singing imbalance. The lyrics are average, but they would’ve not been so highlighted if it was performed in a better way. I don’t really know who Afzal Ghouri is, and there isn’t much about him on the internet either, but it seems like he made this song with some hope, and not just for fun. Oh, it also has PTV Transmission touch to it, should be given a chance. One more thing: it sounds like Karaoke… I mean, ggrrrrr…. FIX the production, will you?
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 (2019)