Pankaj Awasthi is one of the strongest voices we have in our music scene. Some of his previous work can be found here, here and here. His characteristic shiver in the loud alaaps pierce right through your soul. Do try to catch up on some of his work if you have time.
You can listen to this album here
Be it the raw and almost crude ‘Ab ka huiye bhaiyya’ or a rusty ‘Dhadke jaa’, two songs very varied mood wise or be it the kabir inspired ‘Bulbula’, Pankaj awasthi exploits his naturally powerful voice with consummate ease. It’s actually a treat to hear his typical loud alaap in dhadke jaa. You do feel that he had a fun outing especially when singing ‘ab ka huiye bhaiyya’ though.
At first sounding a little out of sync ‘Guinyan’ will draw you into emptiness of the world thanks to extremely powerful lyrics and some intoxicating guitar play. The kid voices towards the end aren’t very clear but just enough to leave a mark on your senses, a good one that is.
Lafzon ke guldastey is a lightly arranged song with main focus on the voice. Very evening like, ‘by the balcony, with guitar and wine’ sort of arrangement. Heart breaking lyrics, sung beautifully. This is not leaving my playlist for a long time. Surely.
World tour pe ‘Makhi’ nikli! Heavy guitars and lyrics filled with irony (mixed with those alaaps of Pankaj that make you sit tight and take notice), this one packs a delicious take on a lot of us, ‘career’ and ‘padhaku’ types. Hear it to know more. (Don’t let the ‘le kar tujhko jaunga dulhan, anan fanan’ sort of tempo distract you)
Mere bhai ki ek kavita – The shortest piece of the album and my favorite. Don’t be surprised if you feel a sudden adrenaline rush when you hear this. The arrangement is top class. The impact, WONDERFUL!
Ruswaiyan – The beauty of this song is that it makes you want to gently sway to the tune and this new age singing style of Pankaj. Lyrics wise, the most ‘by the template of typical album’ sort of song. A little love, a little anger towards life and a lot of melody. Must hear.
Sabun – meaning ‘soap’. Another song that speaks of rinsing the world clean. The way the lines are weaved and spaced in the composition speaks of the genius of this man. The theme of the song will sound tiring to a lot of us but you will be surprised at how early the song ends.This song has the trademark ‘Shiver’ of Pankaj awasthi when he takes alaap, by the way. The video of this song can be found here
Somrass – The lightest (lyrics and treatment wise) song of the album. A catchy tune (yes, I am not able to recognise which tune is this, can you help?), bit of bollywood like sound actually. If publicised well, this could be a college anthem by the way. Yes, too cool. Must hear this, once.
Yada Yada hi dharmasya – Electronica! is it? It sure is digital sound at it’s loudest best! Add an element of finality in Pankaj awasthi’s voice and powerful words and you get this superb track! The moment you feel that the words are running out of tune you will again be arrested by the shivering voice of Pankaj conveying how the world will continue to suffer thanks to petty fights. The beauty of composition is that the song is titled ‘yada yada hi dharmasya’ but it is not used as a ‘hook’. This phrase comes towards the end of the song and leads the song towards finish.Not for everyone but those who will like the song, won’t let this song go off playlist. Word.
Zindagi Reit hai – Another song which is very ‘word heavy and instrument light’. The words are insightful, the arrangement very fragile and voice of Pankaj a tad softer than the rest of the songs of this album. Range is not a problem with him, quite evidently.
The pick of the album is the…entire album!
Pop/alternative/non-bollywood is a genre that hasn’t delivered much in the recent years, thanks to recycled tunes on auto pilot while the composers continued faking accents in public about how their work is so tough. Thank God for Pankaj! In a space filled with bollywood mix albums and wannabe sufis (who don’t understand ‘S’ of sufi, by the way), here is an unputdownable album that plays with electronica, kabir, veer rass, jazz and so many other variations!
It’s a well established fact that our neighbors have a far better and promising ‘pop’ scene and they keep churning out excellent talent. This album is what our neighbors would wish they had produced. This is the sound of Indi-pop that is different and will last. Should last.
100 out of 10 for this gem of an album!