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Disco Saregama!

Rs 60

This is Sonu Nigam's second pop album in a short space of time. The first, Deewana, is still on the music channels, and now here is Mausam. Between the two, he took a religious detour with Sanskar.

Mausam begins with Bijuria, the track chosen to represent it on the music channels. With an unvarying beat and bhangra elements thrown in, it is not as good as some other tracks here. The female voice singing ad lib is ghoulish. Why is the music composed for bhangra-style songs so pointlessly loud? Why is the fast tempo, conveying a superficial sense of vivaciousness, considered a good sell?

Tharo roop in Hindi dialect by Shahab Allahabadi is more lyrical. It seems influenced by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's pop style (Afreen) in its sargams, and its melange of folk, classical and western pop.

The old disco beat returns with some Indian touches, a tabla and a rare sitar bit in Tere ghar ke raaste (also by Shahab Allahabadi). The guitar (synthesized?) bits are lively. It's very pleasant and the beginning is unexpected, low down on the scale. Sonu tries an inflexion like Mariah Carey but lacks conviction.

Rabba rabba is also Punjabi in tone and tune. Breathlessly fast and loud, it is unimpressive. The lyrics are by Allahabadi again, while the rest of the songs on this album are by Ajay Jhingran. Nothing to wah-wah over. Plain pop lyrics about love and girls.

Shezada is full of Arabian-style claps and the beat is faintly reminiscent of Boney M in Rasputin and the disco tracks of the late '70s and early '80s. The chorus brings in the '60s with the shoo-bi-doo-bi refrain.

Yesterday was tomorrow is an instrumental with Sonu singing sargams and a tabla to Indianise the otherwise Western pop-oriented track. The saxophone bits by Shyaam Raj are a little overdone in their sweep. Perhaps in attempting a mix of Kenny G, Indipop, Indian classical (tavil, sargams, a ragamalika of sorts) and sundry disco elements, the song finally makes no statement.

Kaise main kahoon is slow pop moulded on the '50s European style of singing, where the voice is highlighted, and the background music is minimal and secondary to the voice. There is no explicit percussion which is a nice change. Sonu sounds good in it, though his voice might be mistaken for a woman's in the higher reaches. The sax bits are in keeping with the genre. The violin ensemble rises to a crescendo towards the end of the song.

Mausam is a fast song; nothing great. There is a disco-style bass and violin accompaniment again.

Disco seems to be making a comeback, going by the tunes and orchestra arrangement of Ravi Pawar.

The tape comes with a lyrics booklet, and you can tear out and send a form in it if you want an autographed postcard of Sonu.

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