Now I’m here in a blur,
And you’re nowhere to be found.
I’m shaking from your words,
You dug on holy ground.

Abdullah Siddiqui sings softly, almost as if he’s whispering to himself. Once again, he bares his vulnerability, his emotional wounds still quite raw and fresh, and translates his pain into some of the most beautiful modern pop songwriting to come out of Pakistan thus far.

These are the opening lyrics to his latest track, Lament. Abdullah has released several interpretations of the same song with the latest one, the ‘pop version’, being the most upbeat. The treatment of the song almost comes across as a contradiction of sorts — you have song lyrics that are so mournful and dark, they take you down to the deepest pit of your soul, one step away from slashing your wrists in despair. And they’re paired with an EDM track that has you tapping your feet as you would on a song celebrating the joy of living.

Perhaps Lament does celebrate life in its own twisted way — of how grief is a part of the human condition and how, no matter what you’re going through, life goes on.

Lament is a break-up track, about a relationship that died a very slow, painful death but in a way that, when it happened, the protagonist didn’t see it coming. It’s a song about the hardship and the hollow bitterness that comes when it’s time to finally let go.

The incredibly catchy pre-chorus, in which Abdullah sings in the highest possible key I’ve heard a man (other than Bilal Maqsood) sing, goes: “I lost you/ Have you lost me too/ Silhouettes glowing dim in the strangest blue/ I lost you/ Have you lost me too/ Kiss the glass that I stood right between us two.”

The chorus, after which the song’s main music riff plays, goes: You threw a grenade into our ether/ You knew then/ Underneath all the haze there was common sense.

I guess this is how our seven years will meet an end/ You write me eulogies, I write you a lament.

The whole song has been written, produced, performed, mixed and mastered by the one-man army that is Abdullah Siddiqui. He’s been incredibly prolific this past Covid-19 year. He’s released two albums and several singles and, on top of it all, he’s also been listed as one of the three Pakistanis in the Forbes’ Top 30 under 30 list for 2021. Abdullah Siddiqui’s star is rising, and it’s rising high.

Published in Dawn, ICON, May 2nd, 2021

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