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Life is elsewhere

Sonu Nigam's new pop album doesn't help you escape from the run of the mill. Jaan is bejaan

Sonu Nigam
T Series
Rs 55

It took T Series 10 months to produce Jaan. Please, someone tell us, why did it so long to produce so ordinary an album?

An expectation when we buy a non-film album like this -- and you'll agree it is not an unreasonable expectation -- is that it will be different from the routine film songs we hear day in and day out. Neither in singing style nor in orchestra is Jaan very different from the routine film songs we are sick and tired of.

The music is by Nikhil-Vinay, composers working in the Mumbai film industry. They make no attempt to break away from the style they are used to and that Bollywood expects of them, and the result is an album that can't be accused of too much originality.

Sonu Nigam's singing, influenced strongly by Mohammed Rafi, is competent, but there's a monotony in the renderings that he probably couldn't break despite his best efforts. The lyrics seldom rise above the level of the mass-produced movie song.

Musically, only one of the eight songs merits attention. Tera milna pal do pal ka is sung with passion. A distortion guitar brings a rock feel to it, and the strongly sung lines alternate with soft phrases, creating some striking dynamics.

If you've seen the video for this song, you will have noticed that it uses every camera trick in the book to make it spectacular. Not to speak of a model called Bipasha Basu...

Diwane ho ke ham, the last track, has a couple of interesting harmonies sung by Sonu on parallel tracks.

But then, as I said, if you're looking for an album that'll help you forget all your depressing thoughts about the Mumbai music assembly line, Jaan is certainly not for you.

Smriti Ananth

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