Been listening repeatedly to Classically Mild by Sonu Nigam. With music by Deepak Pandit, and lyrics by Ajay Jhingran, I think the album is a great example of what people should find more of when they venture into the 'Indian pop' collections at any music store. Here is a quick breakdown:
The album kicks off with Sochta hoon main, a song that asks a question integral to humanity. With lyrics like: insaan jee ke paata kya hai? sadiyon se yeh raaz chupa hai, you can be assured that it is a question worth asking for anyone who has sought purpose in life. Haven't we all?
Bheege bheege nayan jale jiya is a sad song, but beautiful nevertheless. It would fit right into a film like Devdas (2002) with Ismail Darbar's music. If you are happy and in love, stay away from this one.
Soona Soona is showcased almost as the theme track for the album. It is a decent listen, very well sung and choreographed. And here is where the album starts getting interesting, and the great tracks start emerging.
Suratiya is a classic track which describes the 'matwaari' face of a [hopeless] lover's romantic interest. Very amusing, and a beautiful rhythm to it too.
Chhalki Chhalki -- my favorite track of the album -- is another love song that is par excellence. Chhalki Chhalki chaandni mein gaati hai deewaangi, beete jo baahon mein teri wohi pal hai zindagi. Interesting? You bet. A definite future subject of a Lyrical and Musical Genius segment of this blog.
Dhanya Dhanya discusses the virtues of womanhood, and women in general. How women sacrifice, as daughters, sisters, mothers, and wives. The song portrays women as unselfish, apne liye tu soche naa, jaane jag tujhe kyun poojey naa...wah! Once again, great lyrics, and a beautiful composition no matter how you look at it.
Lamha Lamha is a feel-good track that celebrates life. Yaaron jashn hai zindagi, indeed, but this ends up being the weakest track of the album, and a song that has diminishing repeat listening value. One weak link.
Ae Dil Mat Ro is a sad song, and an excellent one at that. Once again, the musical genius shines through. A strong overall finish to a mostly strong second half of the album.
All in all, a beautiful album that showcases what some of us hope is a glimpse into the future of Hindi pop music. This is how music should be made. It is meaningful, worth listening to, and most importantly, has excellent vocal and musical quality all over it. The lyrics throughout the album are fantastic, the music is haunting when it is not modern, and Sonu Nigam just proves that he is way, and I mean WAY, above his peers of Hindi singers. The only person I would place in the same league as his would be Udit Narayan.
I am going with an unprecedented four stars, for an album that is a shining star among sets of pop albums that have failed to take Hindi pop in the right direction for a long time now. Sonu Nigam's Classically Mild is classically classic!
My rating: **** (Excellent!)
Go grab this one off the shelf. If you are a fan of quality music compilations and vocals, you will be glad you did.