Mundeya – Yes, so a ‘spanish-sque’ start of this song is the doing of some amazing string play. QB makes a quiet call first to Mundeya and I almost immediately understood that she would not be used well in the song. More on that later*. Ali Sethi joins her soon and you like the sound because how they sound together (yes, they were very good here and I was looking for a similar sound texture). QB falters majorly in the antras and you can hear her lose the tune and QB-fy the song and in not in a nice manner. Hear 1:26 to 1:33 and you know what I mean. What is praiseworthy is the back up group. Hear how they try to soften QB‘s heavy voice into a softer mood, especially at 2:02 mins with ‘sunn ve‘ Ali shines all throughout and that is nothing new. The way he complemented Humaira in Ho Jamalo was more or less similar. Humaira‘s voice was not QB heavy, still there was an element of softness that was needed and Ali got it right there, just like here. He cannot help himself, he is just too adaptive and talented. He isn’t one of those ‘machine aided’ chaps who want to sing all ghazals but don’t have chops to hold a qalaam with the respect it deserves. Hear the way he ends this half baked song to remind yourself of the versatility of this genius. Also, I found the overall song insultingly short and hurried. It is not even 5 minutes and it gave me an impression that the studio had to vacate their premises on a clock and they just hastened the end of the song. Not. done.
Aaye Kuch Abr – The song starts with Atif Aslam trying his hands nicely with alaap-ing. He is very good because of the way he sticks to the foundation of any note and doesn’t play with the foundation. That is left for geniuses like Ali Sethi to do and boy do they do it well! Coming back to this song, it starts around 1:28 mins in the track. An evergreen qalaam of Faiz is elevated by a largely acceptable singing of Atif and an excellent Sarod play. The sound of this track comes across as delicate and it has those ‘evening guitars’ for company to make us all go weak in our knees. Oh what a magnificent riff of Sarod within the antras, especially during the first one…hear how calming a minor riff of Sarod can be right after hisaab (2:54 mins in the song), in the first antra. The song picks up pace more and assumes the characteristic of the new age ghazal, similar to Ali Sethi’s** Gulon mein rang bhare. There is a more spaced out music arrangement in this track and that is a exactly how Ghazals should be treated. I wonder what was in Rohail’s mind when Harmonium was silenced in Gulon mein rang this season. This one is a good track but there are a few things which are missing. You can sound well if you are Atif, that is God Given but retaining the sharp edges around the limitations as a singer (lack of Pakka alaaps, not for showing off but to romance with the tune) clearly is an impediment for Atif. I would not pay to listen Atif sing Ghazals. Also, no hurry to leave the studio in this case, apparently.
Bo Giyam – has Kashif Din and Nimra Rafiq are very good in this song but the first thing that will hit you is the soul calming, breathing flute. Kashif has a texture and niceness in a voice that is very easy to like. The string play in the song sounds like a little kid playfully jumping down on a staircase. The structure and mood of the track is linear with no room nor suitability for any major variation and both Nimra and Kashif make a meal of it. Although I was not all that happy to hear the Urdu part in the song but it is a credit to Nimra that she has been largely clinical and has done justice to the feel of the song. Excellent and the most mukammal song of the episode, oh and also, this is 5:41 mins long. So no hurry here either. Great! Not!
*I have always said that QB’s voice is a touch too heavy for light songs. She needs to be guided by a producer that teaches her to not hold on to the ‘ya’ part of ‘Mundeya’ in a light song. With a playful track in your hands, you throw words in jest and not hold on to them to convey your seriousness. I will go back to her unplugged ‘Ankhiyan nu ren de’ for intensity. I have not found a single light song from her and that is injustice for an artist as talented as QB.
**Hear the pitch of Ali in Mundeya. Ask yourself who else can floor you with a delicate whisper of a song as well as take your breath away with a high pitched delivery. It is the Riyaaz and Hard work***, stupid!
***Hardwork doesn’t mean hard work on the autotune equipment, boy!
While there is a large symmetry of presentation this year, I am just appalled by the sheer mismanagement of the property. Pilfering of songs before release, uneven releases per episode, Youtube issues. No free download option. Do all the problems wait to mar the proceedings only when Rohail Hyatt comes to the Studio?