Sunday, March 28, 2010
Falak's debut delivers on the dance front
The Pakistani music industry has given us some things to be very proud of: some of our music icons have received international recognition, and have been immensely appreciated in India and the world over. However there are certain acts that go unnoticed, or rather, don't receive the amount of attention they deserve. One such artist worthy of applause is Falak Shabbir, whose debut album, Rog was released recently.
Even though this 25-year-old boy from Lahore is relatively new in the industry, he gained much popularity in 2008 with his hit single, 'Rog', as this fast-paced Punjabi song managed to captivate its listeners with a catchy beat and cool background music. Falak also left a great first impression with the incredible styling in the video, which had been done by designer, Munib Nawaz. Therefore it wasn't just the song that caught its audience's attention, the general attitude and image of Falak stood out as well.
Falak came out with a second video 'Tera Saath Ho', again dressed to impress, and this time surprised us with his soft yet strong vocals in the song. With the previous single being slightly dancy, this time he showed his versatility with a slow love song. Falak has vocals which can drown out the music and have you paying attention to him only as he sings effortlessly, and with this song, he managed to do just that.
His third video for the song 'Mahia' was something that caught my attention completely. He introduced a third genre - techno for the song, further proving that he is a man of many talents. The video is bright, colourful and buzzing with an almost tangible energy. However, it wasn't the video this time that caught one's attention; the song itself is super catchy, being fast-paced and perfect to play on the dance floor at a party! It is definitely one of the best compositions on the album. The song is infectious to an addictive degree, and one can't help but listen to it over and over again.
After listening to these three songs, and finding them to be tunes that one could easily get hooked on to, it was time I bought the album. However, once I played the album on repeat to get a real feel for it, I realized that the best songs from the album were the ones which had been shown on television already. The rest of the album was simply ordinary, and ultimately forgettable.
The exciting trance number 'Mahia' has a rock version in the album as well: the lyrics are the same, but the flow of the song is different, as here you can hear more of electric guitars and heavy bass in the background. However, the song loses its edge here, as there was chemistry between the trance-ish music and the lyrics in the original version, and after removing the aspect which had attracted an audience in the first place, the song becomes dull and unattractive.
Another very creative song is 'Bad Boys', which is an amalgamation of English rap, along with Punjabi lyrics, and western music fused with Punjabi musical instruments. Towards the end of the song, the song slips into the bhangra genre, and the tone changes completely. It isn't a bad attempt, but it sounds very like the Josh and Sukhbir bhangra song 'Baan Phar Ke'.
Two songs in the album are very similar to each other. In fact, it seems like one song is the Punjabi version of the original, or vice versa. The Urdu version is called 'Mann Mein Kya' while the Punjabi version is called 'Mandiyaan'. The songs sound almost the same apart from the difference in languages and therefore the lyrics, and while they are not the most special melodies to ever have been sung, they are not half bad.
Falak then furnishes Rog with the quintessential patriotic song called 'Aao Milkar', which is slightly disappointing. He has showcased his ability to perform with bursting energy and enthusiasm, and one would expect something powerful from him, if he were performing a patriotic song. However, the song does not meet one's expectations. It isn't very energetic; in fact, it's more on the mellow side. It also does not stand out in the album, and sounds quite similar to some of the other songs in the album. However, the beat is still kind of catchy, and is something one can listen to.
Another song which is upbeat and fast paced, is 'Udhaar', which is a fun song talking about spending our youth in a reckless way, worrying about things such as friends, playing the guitar, and borrowing money all the time and not paying it back. The concept sounds very Ali Haider-ish, a la 'Purani Jeans'.
The other tracks in the album are on the slower side, such as 'Teri Yaad' and 'Intezaar', which are also leisurely love songs, but aren't very memorable, and don't really make their place in one's mind after they've been listened to.
Finally, the album ends with an 'urban mix' of the original single, 'Rog'. This version is even more contagious than the original version: It has the same melodious flute and guitar in the background, but a slightly more foot-tapping beat to it.
Falak has proved that he has incredible vocals, and he sings with ease. His voice is soulful and smooth, and he manages to make every song work because of it, even though the musical composition or lyrics may not be that strong. Therefore we can expect better things from him in the future, even though this album was average, apart from three or four songs.
He should focus more on the music, and instead try to enhance the club/techno aspect of his music which is one genre not many Pakistani singers have ventured into and managed to surface successfully. But Falak's natural ability to work the dance genre to his favour is evidenced in his album, and one can almost foresee him carving a tight little niche for himself in Pakistan's music scene, if he attempts to.
Source: Instep Magazine