Alexx ONell/ Twenty Days, Self-Released
With its heartfelt lyrics, classy production and abstract black n’ white video, Alexx ONell’s latest song Twenty Days has plenty in its favour. It’s about a girl returning after a vacation, though the boy isn’t sure she will come to him.
The video, which features ONell, Shama Sikander and Bharat Goel, effectively uses close-up shots in a studio. ONell and Sikander had earlier appeared in his song Still On My Mind a year ago.
The song’s mood is summed up by the lines, “Should I give her my love, would she just take it and leave me blind? If I give her my heart, would she break it?” All through, the words and visuals have been synchronised rather well.
Rating: 8/ 10
Lucky Ali & Botzer/ Amaraya, Botzer Project
In late 2019, Lucky Ali had released the catchy track On My Way with Israeli artiste Eleizer Cohen Botzer. The follow-up Amaraya, meaning mirror or reflection in Arabic, has taken a while.
The song has lines in Arabic, Hindi/ Urdu and Hebrew. Though it’s got a catchy tune and sing-along factor, the two struggle at a specific point near the three-minute mark when their voices blend.
The percussion and flute use Middle Eastern and Indian flavours, and there is prominent electric guitar and piano too. This is the second single from their album Lemalla, and one looks forward to the rest.
Rating: 7/ 10
Sadu/ Habeeb, Self-Released
Part of the Indipop band Aryans, Sadasivan KM Nambisan aka Sadu has recently been releasing ghazals in a contemporary format. His latest Habeeb is a rendition of the great Dr Bashir Badr’s poetry.
Sadu has a pleasant voice, and one senses a Ghulam Ali influence, minus the classical nitty-gritty. The opening lines, “Kabhi yoon bhi aa meri aankh mein, ke meri nazar ko khabar na ho, mujhe ek raat nawaaz de, magar uske baad sahar na ho” set the mood.
The smooth orchestration adds to the charm, giving the song a laidback feel. If you’re into simple and soulful ghazals, this is recommended listening.
Rating: 8/ 10
Sharat Sinha/ Rajnigandha, Crescendo Music
Though the title may remind you of the 1970s film classic, the new Rajnigandha is totally different in theme. It’s a simple pop ballad sung by Sharat Sinha, and having Rameshwar Sharma’s lines, “Kitna akela hoon main duniya mein, tera bhi shayad koi nahin hai”.
Like many contemporary singers, Sinha tries to sound over-expressive and unnecessarily guttural, when he could be more natural. While Santosh R Nair’s tune is hummable, the back-up chants are jarring.
Mohit Vadia’s video, featuring Sinha and Jia Jacob, is the usual tale of walking on the beach or in the woods. It looks good, though you’ve seen similar videos for years.
Rating: 6/ 10
Abhijeet Srivastava, Prateeksha Srivastava/ Tu Saamne, Springboard Records
After working together on Khayaal, singers Abhijeet Srivastava and Prateeksha Srivastava return with Tu Saamne. It’s another of those songs where a person remembers warm romantic moments during social distancing.
The song has a warm melody, and should attract the younger generation. Shayra Apoorva’s lyrics, Nakul Chugh’s keyboards and Aman Moroney’s guitars are a perfect foil for the singers.
Ameen & Zeeshan’s video, starring Vaishnavi Shukla and Sudhanshu Thakur, starts interestingly but quickly falls in routine territory. Again, one gets a seen-it-before feeling.
Rating: 6/ 10
Arun Kamath/ Hala (Home), Self-Released
The word ‘hala’ means the aura of light around the moon. Symbolically, it’s been used as the title of Arun Kamath’s new pop song, interestingly sub-titled ‘Home’.
The song evokes warm memories of being young, and to depict that, Rishi Anand and Shubham Raulo’s video uses a collage of childhood photographs of various people associated with the project. It’s an interesting concept, well executed.
Lyricist Rohini Basu writes, “Raat ko maa jo sunati thi kahani, ladoo ki sheeshi chupati thi naani”. They go well with the theme, though the song needed a strong hook. You like it soon, but after a while, only the visuals stay back.
Rating: 7/ 10
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