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Review – CokeStudio Season 8 Episode 5 #CokeStudio8

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Hina ki Khushbu – is a song that all of us came across when we were big enough to know Noor Jehan. For most of us in India, we heard a version of it when Kumar Sanu sang this song in a Hindi film. The Song here is arranged rather well and you get the nostalgic 90s Pop feel from the sound of the proceedings. Samra Khan’s voice is strong and gayaki steady. Asim Azhar on the other hand sounds promising but I couldn’t help feeling the presence of auto-tuner in his voice and quite prominently. Also, it was quite uninspiring to hear ‘kinna sona’ because it lacked the oomph, which is why the song feels long and labored.  In fact this debut reminded me of Uzair jaiswal who was not exactly hitting all the right notes but was singing with such honesty that his songs on CokeStudio still remain my favourites till today. See them here and here  to know what I mean. There is a wonderful presence of Sitar by Shehroze hussain but even then the song is just not what you expect from CokeStudio Pakistan. An experiment that went southwards if you ask me.

Khalis Makhan rubs nostalgia in less than 40 seconds into the song. The gayaki is understated in parts and takes parvaaz in bits, keeping the heartfelt tune steady. Bakshi brothers are accompanied wonderfully well by Sajid ali, Tafu sahab and Arsalaan on Rubaab, Flute and Harmonium respectively. Not sure if this is limited to 90s kids like yours truly, but I am sure you have heard this tune somewhere else in your childhood and that makes the song special for me. There are a lot of variations in the song and as I said, all subtle and quite hummable. There is a certain pain in during disda nahi..Remarkable song!

Kinaray – I am not a fan of MH Band but I can safely conclude that with this song, MH Band has given us one of the most unorthodox sounds of this season. It is calming to hear the backups accompany the wonderfully talented Sharmishta Chatterjee and deliver us a soothing composition that is not even 4:30 mins. The tune is perfect and singing is top class! My pick of the episode, without a doubt! For all of us who know that this track by CokeStudio is a tribute to this composition, the only grouse is – it is less than 5 mins! Lastly, for some reason my YouTube comment was deleted by the admin at CokeStudio, so allow me to link you to the composition which serves as the inspiration of this song. It is by Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty and you can hear it here

Rangeela –  Ali Azmat was the reason enough to wait for the episode and in this song even though I was a tad bit suspicious of the sound (because it sounded too fine and pre-recorded to my untrained ears), Ali Azmat shines. The treatment is a bit filmy and lacks depth that Ali Azmat is known to decipher and display in his songs. The song is good but I have heard Ali Azmat Sing better songs.

Overall, not an impressive episode by any standards but the two songs which work, work like magic!

Picks – Kinaray and Khalis Makhan

Music review – AB – An album by Abhijeet

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AB
Lyrics – Sameer, Abhijeet
Music – Abhijeet
Times Music
INR 96 on iTunes
 

The album starts with Koi raja na thee rani with mellifluous singing by Abhijeet, exactly the way we remember him. The song has a quaint charm of the times gone by, when we used to look at the inlay cards of the cassettes to find out the song from Abhijeet just so that we can hear them and then sing them to impress girls in our college. Composition wise, the music setting doesn’t intrude with Abhijeet’s singing and am sure that is intentional. Not that it’s bad in anyway.

We then come across Bujhe Bujhe, the only song that is penned by Abhijeet in the album. Although the singing is as you would expect it to be, at times you can feel that the arrangement is cluttered a bit.

Yet another song that will remind us of 90s, Gul chand sitare is pleasant to the ears and has the trademark Abhijeet singing. Lyrics by Sameer are quite venomous for the lover who has probably ditched her lover. The music arrangement could have been better here.

Pankhuri ki palki has good amount of guitars to keep company to Abhijeet who sings well but the lyrics have a major 90s block and the song fails to register. Just a song that would play as you would complete whatever you are doing without taking much notice of the same. The song is not intrusive, mind you and that is largely due to hummable tune and Abhijeet’s singing.

Reh jaate hain has about 9 minutes long and is paced very well. The song is filled with emotions and is not your typical ‘romantic’ song which we come to expect from Abhijeet. It’s a song from a loving parent to her/his offspring and is done beautifully! It is that song in the car which, when it plays will have everyone quiet and may be sobbing as they remember their parents but noone will change the song.

Zara Zara is a peppy offering that I felt was quite plain and didn’t affect me at all. May be it was put to smoothen out the heaviness after the ‘reh jaate hain’ song. In spite of a relatively better arrangement than most of the songs of this album, the song just didn’t register. The lyrics are

The song Na lafzon ki zabaani starts with the trademark ‘hey hey hey’ from Abhijeet. The whistle that follows is a tad embarrassing and should have been performed better. The lyrics are trademark 90s and the setting is sober. The only thing that will stay with you is that it reminds you of a good old hindi film song.

I don’t know about you but I am terribly nostalgic about 1990s and this album took me back to those good days of audio cassettes, ‘mix tapes’, dubbing etc.

Had Abhijeet tried anything else, I would have said ‘Perhaps he should have stuck to his Bollywood soothing style’. In this case, I am actually thankful that he stuck to what he is best at. The album has a soothing undertone mostly and I would recommend it as a ‘buy’ simply because of the era it took me back to. If you are not a 90s kid, even then listen to it to find out how the songs used to sound when dubstep and cheap remix templates weren’t used to compose songs. It was released on 9th May 2014.

You might not want to listen to this simple album daily, but you will not be disappointed to have this in your car as and when you go for long drives.

Abhijeet, Sing more!

You can listen to the album online here

2 Ads (Not 2 states)

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I keep searching for music. I am always looking for it.

Recently came across two TV ads for phones with good music.

1. Samsung S4. They featured ‘i dont care, I love it’ by icona pop. The ad, as you can see here features a lot of guys pumping up themselves before an all important match (or halftime, or whatever!) using the collaborative listening feature. Song is good but I couldnt make much sense of the way it was used in the commercial. I don’t care, I love it?? for a match win? really Samsung??

Anyway, much of what samsung does doesnt make sense to most of us.

2. Apple –  they used Goldfrapp ooh la la la – i dont use iPhone, but there is a ‘Thing’ about how apple uses good music to sell their products. So, to promote their iPhone5s (which had all the glitter going for it, quite literally), they picked up this song and made this ad.. The song has a techno sound to it but the catch is in lyrics.

Dial up my number now
Weaving it through the wire
Switch me on, turn me up
Don’t want it baudelaire
Just glitter lust
Switch me on, turn me up
I want to touch you
You’re just made for love

The bold italic part is a part of the original song and doesn’t feature in the ad but what a spot on description for a ‘gold and glitter’ iPhone5s isn’t it?

While samsung was hell bent on ‘i dont care, i love it’ song with confusing visuals, apple made their phone flirt with their customers by asking them to ‘switch me on, I want to touch you….you are just made for love!’ It sounds chic and frankly if I could afford, I would buy this phone just because of this ad!

So like always, apple won (1), samsung – (0)owaaaaik!

Queen – Music Review

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An abridged version of the review first appeared here http://www.timeoutmumbai.net/music/cd-review/album-review-queen

Amit Trivedi teams up with the lyricst Anvita Dutt to give us the music of Phantom films’ Kangna Ranaut – Raj Kumar Rao starrer Queen.

True to the film’s theme, London Thumakda starts in Punajbi celebration mood and Labh janjua doesn’t miss a single beat in giving us a foot tapping song. Neha and Sonu Kakkar sing along as well. Even in this done to death genre of punjabi wedding/celebration songs, Amit Trivedi experiments. The excellent use of back up vocals and punjabi words in between are refreshing. Badra bahar features Amit Trivedi behind the microphone amidst a cluttered music setting. Somehow the song and the music comes across as ‘heard before’ and even though it might sound ‘trippy’ thanks to a clever use of Sitar in between, the song is at best average. O Gujaria starts with a club setting and techno sound. Shefali Alvares and Nikhil D’Souza try their best with whatever they are given, tune and lyrics wise. Frankly, the ‘Show me how to party’ bit sounds irritating in a song marred by it’s predictable overalls.

Taake Jhaanke gets the romantic Arijit Singh to croon on a (we repeat) Amit trivedi template. The song has an easy feel but ends up sounding like a very recent outing of Amit Trivedi (Remember English Vinglish?). Jugni starts very nicely and Amit Trivedi sings a peppy number which (again!) sounds like a song straight out of the folder titled ‘Udaan’. We have heard so much of Amit trivedi that you can almost second guess the turns in the tune and treatment. Harajaiyaan has a mysterious sound right from the beginning and even though you feel you have heard this song before, it’s the voice quality of Nandini Srikar that elevates the song. Creativity within the walls of Amit trivedi’s now standardized garden  has worked in this case.

Kinare has the brilliant Mohan Kannan on the mic and while we cannot get enough of Mohan Kannan, we would have liked to hear a song that doesn’t sound like one out of the album Udaan again! The song is good no doubt, just not something new. Ranjha that features a near silent music arrangement with solid vocals of Rupesh Kumar Ram is a song that will make you long for more, just like Heer longed for Ranjha. How we wished this was more than a 2 minute piece! There is a distinct smell of melody in this song that we cannot get enough of!

The makers are clearly depending on the new found oomph of Kangna Ranaut for this film. We would have liked them to stretch the limits of the Amit Trivedi who still remains Bollywood’s most promising music director.

So which song reminds us of what? Read On…

Badra bahar – Dev D as a whole. More So the O Pardesi treatment
Harjayeyaa – Dil dhuduk dhuduk beats From English Vinglish + Main Pareshaan Pareshaan Feel overall
O Gujaria – Ek main aur ek tu title song, O templates!
Taake jhaanke – English vinglish title song and the album
Jugni  – Udaan
Kinare – Udaan Udaan Udaan!

Our Picks – Ranjha, London Thumakda and Harjaiyan

(If 2 out of 3 songs are traditional template song and the third one is a mash up of something we have already heard, you can imagine the album’s score on ‘innovative’ index. Come On Amit Trivedi, Jazz it up with Bombay Velvet soon!)

2.00/5.00 (If you are looking for rating) 🙂

Gangs of Wasseypur – Humnee ke chhori ke – lyrics & meaning

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Like with the previous lyrics post, the credit of this post belongs only to  Varun Grover.

Arguably the only song this year that touches the soul. A folk bhojpuri song that is sung by Deepak (a 14 year old boy) from Muzaffapur. The song features in Gangs Of Wasseypur.

Read on…(English translation – in italics)

———————————————————————–

Humni ke chhori ke nagariya ae baba…

Ki arre baba chhori dihala ghar-parivaar kahun banwa maayi gayili ho…

Leaving my town, dear father,

Leaving the family behind, to which wilderness mother has gone…

Ki aaho baba soooni kayi ke gharwa-duvaar, kawan banwa maayi gayili ho,

Pushing the home into loneliness, to which wilderness mother has gone…

Gaunwaan ke logawa, kehu…kehu se na bolein..

Chhotaka laikawaa, bhora-hi se aankh nahin kholey..

He isn’t talking to anybody in the village,

The small boy isn’t even opening his eyes since morning…

Sunsaan bhaiyili dagariya ae baba…

Ki arre baba nimiya ho gayil patjhaar, kawan banwa maayi gayili ho..

The roads are all deserted,

And the Neem tree has shed its leaves, to which wilderness mother has gone…

Kaisa-hoo ae baba, humaraa maayi se milaa da

Saparo tajaa ke humro araj sunaa da…

Do whatever, but let me meet the mother once..

Anyhow convey my message to her…dear father…

Chhutka ke chhote-ba umiriya re baba..

The small boy has a small life, father…

Ki arre baba, pari lin hum pauwwaan tohaar kawan banwa maayi gayi li ho..

I fall at your feet tell me, to which wilderness mother has gone…

Ki aaho baba soooni kayi ke anganwa-duvaar, kawan banwa maayi gayili ho,

Pushing the home into loneliness, to which wilderness mother has gone…

Agent Vinod – Music review

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Jai Sri ram…I mean Sriram raghavan (Director of Agent Vinod)

Anything he gets associated with gets a lot of attention and rightfully so. As much as I was excited to see the teasers of Agent Vinod, I almost took it for granted that the music would be just a fixture and not a main attraction in the film (because let’s face it, ‘Action’ film mein music ka kya  kaam?)…We all remember how the music of action films has been marketed since time immemorial…’Original dialogues with 4 songs’ was a common byline in the audio cassettes of action films. Anyway, moving on. So I presumed, music would be below average.

Boy was I wrong or what?? (Yes, 2 question marks!)

Pungi – Pritam gives this a template which is quite similar to the ‘iconic’ song ‘Maine paidal se jaa ra tha unney cycle se aa ree thee’ (Iconic film – hero number 1, Iconic singers – poornima and Vinod rathod). The fun element is present in every beat of the song and the inconsistent genius Mika along with so many ‘Nautanki guys’ (Amitabh Bhattacharya, Nakash & Pritam) make this worth a listen and then listen once more! Earworm. Pakka! The ‘rap’ by Javed Jaffrey reminds you of salam namastey wala ‘EGJACTLY’ javed. It elevates the song in terms of BAKAR! Superb song! Mika is a genius for such songs. Without any question. The song shouts it out that it is penned by the ever so brilliant Amitabh!

I will do the talking – Yes, the ‘Rasputin’ wala gana! It isn’t a subtle inspired song but quite a bold copy of the song. No worries on that (It’s Pritam…come on!). Beats are neat and the accordion in between gives it a solid feel. The rap is hopeless in between and Neeraj Sridhar plays to the gallery (Can someone stop using Punjabi? No? Ok! just asked). According to me, the weakest song of the album.

Dil mera muft ka – The techno mujra starts with Nandini Shrikar’s intoxicating rendition of lovely lyrics by Neelesh misra. Accompanied, rather loudly by Muazzam Beg, Shadaab Faridi, Altamash Faridi, Shabaab Sabri…Nandini makes no bones about anything and gives good ‘Vocal Thumkas and jhatkas!’. 2 Thumbs up! Loved the use of Guitar and harmonium….just loved it.The song has an element of ‘Bollywood finality’ in it which is associated with the ‘climax’ sort of situation. Only if it was picturized well…

Raabta – Ok this song has too many versions (not that I am complaning!) and all the versions are equally good. You can’t help but feel this song has a good amount of ‘Ti Amo’ hangover, in a good way. Arijit Singh, Aditi singh sharma & Hamsika and joy have infused so much freshness in their respective versions that you will be in a quandry to put your finger to the most melodious amongst them all! The version by Shreya Ghosal is the most ‘Bollywood-ish’ amongst all and to me, it pales in comparison with the other versions.

Agent vinod Theme – O yea! Hell YEAH! The ‘racing heartbeat’ start to the track will remind you of the opening music of the johny gaddar title song, in a good way. While the news readers in the background tell you that they are grabbing alll the dreaded criminals thanks to Agent Vinod, a bold and ‘in your ears’ guitar steals the thunder and you can picture racing cars and everything exploding! The brass band plays something that sounds like a mix of Mission impossible and the bond theme. Hell I don’t care, I have it as my ringtone already! No prizes for guessing this tops the list of my picks in this superb album!

The remixes

Remixes are so many! Surely to ‘fill up the CD’.

Anyway…the remix of ‘I will do the talking’ is routine and nothing exciting but am sure these factors aren’t important when any song is played on a dance floor. Could be a hit with the DJ’s, you never know! The Pungi remix ‘performed’ (not sung..performed) by Mika Singh, Amitabh Bhattacharya, Nakash & Pritam is again very routine and very ‘bollywood remix’ sort of  presentation. I was looking forward to the remix of this song in the hope of getting some extra smart lyrics…sadly I got nothing.

The remix of Dil mera muft ka stands out and how! the Awadhi & Bhojpuri Singer Malini Awasthi gets rolling from the word go and delivers a very ‘UP-Bihar friendly’ (in terms of singing style and music arrangement). Will surely go unnoticed thanks to the other version (filmed on weirdly dressed Kareena Kapoor). This version should have been called ‘UP-Bihar’ version. Why add ‘jhankaar beats’ and call it a remix especially in an album which has too many versions of Raabta?

Anyway, Pritam scores a boundary with this album  The film appears to be fast paced and listening to the songs, you get a feeling that the same will not stall the same. Good! Very Good!

My picks – All the songs EXCEPT –  I will do the talking (Both versions didn’t click at all)

As @sukanyaverma  pointed out when we were discussing the music of kahaani…It’s better if a film’s OST compliments the movie and not overshadows it by being a ‘super duper stand alone music album’ and that’s the reason I like this album. very much. The OST smells of an action packed FAAAADU movie!

Wah wah Ram ji!

Rating – 4.00/5.00

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