These past few weeks or so have seen a number of high-profile song releases. Whether they all live up to the hype created by their creators remains to be seen. Here is a quick review of two of the music industry’s latest offerings:

Raat Shabnami by Strings

I have a feeling Strings will be making music until their dying breath — and why not? They’re undeniably one of the most consistent, prolific acts in Pakistan’s mainstream music scene. The lyrics of Raat Shabnami have been penned by Anwar Maqsood (of course) and the song is part of their album 30, which celebrates 30 years of the band having been together.

To put it succintly, I love this new song! It might not change your life (like the band’s Yeh Hai Meri Kahani from Zinda, ahem) but it will definitely brighten up your day. It’s a fun number with a fun beat and overall arrangement. And according to the lyrics, in this raat shabnami, anything is possible.

The video, a semi-animated feature by Yasir Jaswal, is also a treat to watch. The year is 2088, our Pak-China friendship is going strong. There are tons of influences from Chinese pop culture, all of the neon lettering in this futuristic Karachi is in English and Chinese. An enchanted Mahenur Haider, donning a pink wig, has been dropped into this futuristic fantasy. She is fascinated by the hologram versions of Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia and, later, the whole band, that turn up at different points in the city.

A fun video for a very fun song. Good job, guys.

A look at two latest offerings: Raat Shabnami by Strings and Parwana Hun by Kashmir

Parwana Hun by Kashmir

“Parwana Hun is about finding the strength to face the truth in the hope to find inner peace,” wrote the band on their Facebook page while introducing their latest track.

In line with the band’s previous music, Parwana Hun is a heart-felt rock ballad that gets off to a promising start. The hook/main chorus comes in very early at around the 50-second mark. The song is about breaking free from the shackles life has imposed on you and going to the light — like a moth to a flame.

Overall, the song is just all right. It’s not the band’s best, but it’s listenable. One can’t help but feel they have the right idea, but need to develop it more. It seems a tad undercooked.

Coming to the video, what are we looking at? It seems like a post-apocalyptic world, a bunch of old raggedy old men, a woman and a child inside a cave around a fire. Everyone is miserable. Fire seems to be blocking the only exit. They are all just sitting around and sinking deeper into depression. At one point, the ‘main’ character, a man, can’t take it anymore; he gets up and runs into the fire — everyone is shocked — and comes out into the light at the other end.

Basically, the message is ‘be brave, take your chances, conquer your fears, there is light at the end’ — the type that won’t kill you.

Published in Dawn, ICON, November 24th, 2019

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