The 90s/2000s artistes are on a converging comeback trail. After we looked back at Strings first two singles of the eight that they have promised for their upcoming album 30 two more veteran acts have come up with their new singles. And unfortunately, it’s more of the same.
Both Fuzon’s O Ki Jane and Sajjad Ali’s Lagaya Dil, let the veterans’ down at varying degrees. Maybe it’s a case of rustiness or that all these superstars of days gone by are still stuck in the days gone by, and yet with not even half the same feel as that of the days gone by.
They have perhaps earned the license to rehash the sound and signature that have brought them all the success, but that too appears to be so half-hearted that most would be left underwhelmed – especially those self-identifying as die-hard fans of any of the artistes.
Of the three that we have covered this week, it is perhaps Fuzon that has missed the mark by the longest margin. Fuzon post Shafqat Aman Ali continues to struggle to maintain its brand, while trying to keep the same sound that is virtually impossible to pull off without their former front man.
You’d be too generous to even suggest that Fuzon’s comeback after a decade, even when compared to post-Shafqat Fuzon, has been worth the wait. What the track does have is Bulleh Shah’s poetry, but what it doesn’t have is a consistent song structure.
O Ki Jane peaks at the wrong time and completely falls flat at the chorus. Shallum Asher Xavier’s guitar work is decent in bits, but the stop-start solo doesn’t quite cut it. Emu’s keyboards, especially at the very end of the song are more noise filler than anything else.
And again while there isn’t much wrong with Khurram Iqbal’s vocals, that he would inevitably be compared to Shafqat Amanat Ali, undoes what he has to offer.
Sajjad Ali of course has no such concerns about his vocals, which remain peerless ever after three decades. Unfortunately that voice is all that Lagaya Dil has to offer.
That is precisely what saves the track as compared to other releases over the past couple of weeks – something perhaps Strings could’ve achieved with Urr Jaun had it been sung by Faisal Kapaddia.
Lagaya Dil is a song about teenage crushes that one mistakes for love in high school/college/university and has the lyrics and the sound to go with it as well. Unfortunately, Sajjad Ali’s voice here makes the matter final product graver than it is intended to be, considering the amount of depth it has.
Hence, the song can be enjoyed as a vocal-fest on its own, but becomes complicated when you juxtapose it with the subject at hand, which the video is aptly depicting as well.
Also, one can’t help but think of Dil Lagaya Tha Dillagi Ke Liye, the Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi masterpiece, when one hears ‘lagaya dil’ in the track. That of course leaves Sajjad Ali’s latest offering an even steeper mountain to climb.
The videos for both Lagaya Dil and O Ki Jane are decently shot and add to the music, which unfortunately in most parts doesn’t allow it much room to manoeuvre.
Babar Sheikh has done especially well to lift O Ki Jane considering that the composition’s intention is to deliver the punch. Zaw Ali – Sajjad Ali’s daughter – has similarly done a decent job in depicting the adolescent love set in a university or college, with seven students expressing their emotions and the joy and heartbreak that goes with it.
Perhaps the younger lot might enjoy Sajjad Ali’s new track – the same can be said for what Fuzon and Strings have put on the table – but those wanting to hear songs in the same league as the best as what he, and these artistes, have offered decades ago, would definitely feel let down.
But again, all of them are coming back after a while – a gap which has included duties for the likes of Coke Studio with mixed results – so maybe we should give them time and await the final offerings, whenever they are ready.
Even so, what we’re witnessing right now, is definitely not a leaf out of their glorious pasts.