Published January 23, 2022

After the powerful performances delivered by Abida Parveen and Naseebo Lal in Coke Studio’s Season 14’s Tu Jhoom, it’s hard to listen to newer music currently being released and not want to feel the same level of awe and excitement from them. Tu Jhoom has set a very high bar for this year’s music.

The current season is helmed by renowned music producer Zulfiqar ‘Xulfi’ Jabbar Khan — who has previously spearheaded the popular music platform known for discovering new talent, Nescafe Basement, and lent his production skills to select numbers in Pepsi Battle of the Bands (Season Two onwards; he was a finalist in Season One himself). He brings with him a ton of experience, both as an artist and a producer, so it might also be unfair to compare his work with budding newbies.

Some of those newbies are also selected by him to be featured in the current season of Coke Studio. These include the likes of Hasan Raheem and Talal Qureshi, both of whom had new releases out last week.

Hasan Raheem has collaborated with longtime producer and friend Abdullah Kasumbi in Sun Le Na. It’s a moody, melancholic number with a catchy beat that has Hasan Raheem singing in his soft, mumbling rap-verse style in the highest pitch possible. The mumble-singing has been taken to another level here — the verses are indecipherable, except for the main chorus.

Both Sun Le Na by Hasan Raheem and Shaam by Talal Qureshi, Maanu, Mujju and Towers are underwhelming and could use a bit more of an effort put in by the artists

Hasan Raheem’s team has posted the lyrics for those that can’t quite follow the lyrics. The songwriting, not his best, reveals a person in pain and looking inward. Sun Le Na doesn’t come across as a romantic number. It’s a cry for help. From all of us. Do better Hasan Raheem.

In comparison, Shaam by ace producer Talal Qureshi, Maanu, Mujju and the electropop outfit Towers, is an upbeat number, where the artists are delivering their verses with clarity. It’s a fun number to have on in the background. It’s not memorable or easy to sing along to. The lyrics are available on the song’s YouTube link.

Shaam is a song about modern courtship. Frankly speaking, there isn’t much to the lyrics in both songs and all of the artists listed in both songs have come out with much better songs in the past. Much like Talal Qureshi, Hasan Raheem and Maanu’s previous, fun release, Sweetu, Shaam by Talal Qureshi, Maanu, Mujju and Towers is a song that doesn’t take itself seriously. It seems to have been put together very quickly, on the spur of the moment and released.

It’s not bad, it’s just not terribly memorable. Both in terms of composition and lyrics-writing. In fact, it feels like hardly any effort at all was put into the lyrics. And in comparison (whether fair or not) to Tu Jhoom’s release around the same time, both Shaam and Sun Le Na are terribly underwhelming.

Published in Dawn, ICON, January 23rd, 2022



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