‘Coke Studio 5’: That didn’t impress us much

Published: May 14, 2012
The show’s latest season opens on a low note. PHOTO: KOHI MARRI

The show’s latest season opens on a low note. PHOTO: KOHI MARRI

The show’s latest season opens on a low note. PHOTO: KOHI MARRI
The show’s latest season opens on a low note. PHOTO: KOHI MARRI
The show’s latest season opens on a low note. PHOTO: KOHI MARRI
The show’s latest season opens on a low note. PHOTO: KOHI MARRI
The show’s latest season opens on a low note. PHOTO: KOHI MARRI

The first episode of the much-awaited musical programme “Coke Studio” was released on Saturday night. This time around, the episode was released on the internet before it got aired on channels, which resulted in tracks like “Paisay Da Nasha” by Bohemia and “Charkha Nolakha” by Atif Aslam and Qayaas receiving over a 100,000 likes within a day.

The episode itself, however, didn’t live up to the high expectations and hype that surrounded this season and didn’t get the raging response “Coke Studio” episodes usually get through social media. It seems that the show has set the bar so high with phenomenal performances in the past that anything that is less than perfect disappoints fans and puts them off.

However, one thing that can easily be concluded after listening to the first episode is that “Coke Studio” may not get as popular this time around but will definitely be more experimental.

‘Charkha Nolakha’: Atif Aslam and Umair Jaswal a deadly duo

The first thing that comes to mind after listening to “Charkha” is that amazing vocalists like Atif Aslam and Umair Jaswal didn’t really need backing vocalists to make a Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan classic sound brilliant. Aslam proves his critics wrong once again by displaying the best of his vocal range and strength in this song. However, on the other hand, a hardcore Qayaas fan would have wished the band to perform their own song “Charkha” and bring forth their own signature style of music instead of working on renditions.

‘Kamlee’: Hadiqa Kiyani and Sufi rock

With “Kamlee” the iconic Hadiqa Kiyani demonstrated her love for Sufi poetry and attempted at doing something extraordinary with an already overdone song, which unfortunately doesn’t leave a lasting impression . The song stands out for its groove and the lyrical content but the overall make-up of the track is cliched and done to death.

‘Tum Kaho’: The filler performance

Symt has been creating quite a buzz in the music industry because of their hit songs like “Zamana” and “Pyar Di Ganderi”. Their latest track, however, “Tum Kaho”, despite being a sweet, mellow number wasn’t worthy of being featured in “Coke Studio”. Even though the song isn’t all that bad, it just could not match the unprecedented standards set by outstanding performances in previous seasons.

One word of advice is that bands like Symt should refrain from experimenting and mixing, as incorporating a short piece by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in their act didn’t do their average song any good. The only thing that stands out is the backing vocals by the Viccaji sisters, who outdid themselves in this song.

‘Paisay Da Nasha’: Rap gets a makeover

Bohemia’s performance could have been labelled as ‘just another rap song’ but “Coke Studio” manages to bring out an unexplored facet of rap fusion. Kudos to the team of the show for not replicating what is happening in rap music all around the world and in fact generating their own way of treating rap music with funk and pop influences. The song “Paisay Da Nasha” is a lyrical masterpiece that has received an ideal launch via “Coke Studio”. One shouldn’t be surprised if the song becomes the next youth anthem in Pakistan.

‘Larsha Pekhawar Ta’: Hamayoon Khan redefines Pashto pop

Hamayoon Khan is among the new breed of Pashto musicians from Peshawar and his love for modern music has gained him immense popularity in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Afghanistan. “Larsha Pekhawar Ta” is one of the many folk tunes that serve as the essence of Pashto music and what “Coke Studio” did with it is truly experimental in nature. However, where funky rendition of it amazed many new listeners, some traditional Pashto music fans are of the opinion that it lacks the soul original folk tune had.

Regardless, such a piece is definitely an achievement for the “Coke Studio” house band. Guitarist Asad Ahmed and keyboardist Mobi deserve a pat on the back for their contribution to this song.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (58)

  • Shahid
    May 14, 2012 - 9:48PM

    People with fixed musical tastes might not like the new season. But in fact, it is very experimental this time and does justice to the music. You have to have a good ear to appreciate the work.


  • Ammar Khan
    May 14, 2012 - 9:51PM

    ‘Paisay da Nasha’ best song of Episode one.
    Hands down


  • May 14, 2012 - 9:56PM

    Coke studio without Gumby is like daal without tarka.


  • saif
    May 14, 2012 - 10:04PM

    There was nothing of pashto folk in song Lar Sha Pekhawar Ta then its lyrics. Rubab is essential in pashto music in its true sense which lacked.


  • ANON
    May 14, 2012 - 10:22PM

    Rafay! Every song was worth listening. Certainly different than normal rock pop songs that we hear but i like it. Listen them again. Coke studio songs slowly grow on you. That’s their beauty. It is easy to criticize and form opinions but it is difficult to take initiative. I admire coke studio effort. They focus on music, not commercial numbers.Recommend

  • May 14, 2012 - 11:14PM

    the best performance of last season, no one can beat it


  • Sheharyar
    May 14, 2012 - 11:22PM

    I recommend changing the title to ‘Coke Studio 5’: That didn’t impress Rafay much’.
    It was a very good episode, especially Charkha and I was certainly impressed.


  • Ammar
    May 14, 2012 - 11:47PM

    The title and tone of this review is terrible. This was the best first episode of Coke Studio from all seasons combined. Petty criticism Rafay. Hollow criticism just for the sake of it.


  • Zamir Malik
    May 15, 2012 - 12:03AM

    Sorry to say but for me Coke Studio 5 is better than ever. The lyrics of old folk songs weather from Peshawar or Charkha nolakha to Kamlee are all superb and it really bring wonders and Bohemia is another story altogether this time with a rap beat fusion of tabla and contemporary lyrics of real life. So for me Coke Studio 5 rocks like ever before. Some people will always criticize and we will see many attention seeking columns in the comings days to be critical about Coke studio to get some attention but we should ignore these self styled critics who can even be critical of their own existence sometimes.Recommend

  • Ashfaq Shinwary
    May 15, 2012 - 12:06AM

    You might be certainly speaking for yourself and not for the masses because from what I have read or judged from the enormous views on youtube/facebook the first EP was definitely what people expected! Not only the lot got experimental with the music but what they delivered touched ordinary music lovers like us and pro-musician alike! And the comment about the “Lar Sha Pekhawar Ta” that there was nothing folk in it is totally absurd! The comments on youtube and facebook and the tweets is evidence to that. I believe that pashto song will make it really big in the days to come.


  • Zamir Malik
    May 15, 2012 - 12:16AM

    @The Only Normal Person Here.: Farhad Hamayoun is one of the best drummers in Pakistan. Those people who know some percussion will agree with me. Gumby is not the most unique as people say. In my View Farhad Hamayoun is doing very pretty well in coke studio and it is a good thing that more musicians are given opportunities in coke studio to prove their mettle..


  • Parvez
    May 15, 2012 - 12:31AM

    The guy singing with Atif Aslam was baaaad.


  • Shah
    May 15, 2012 - 12:41AM

    Another ridiculous article from this Rafay character i really thinks he gives bad reviews to good music and movies because he thinks it makes him appear smart. Shame on tribune for promoting this sort of garbage, the episode under review is actually quite terrific. Pitiful journalism.

    And i agree with Ammar completely, it really is petty, petty criticism for the sake of it and everyone knows it.


  • arsl
    May 15, 2012 - 12:51AM

    it was an awsum show damn!!!
    wat was writer wants to say………really nt impressed with the review.. i think i needs to listen to sum good music..;p


  • Sarah
    May 15, 2012 - 12:58AM

    Hadiqa Kiyani Did well so as Bohemia ! :) … Atif Aslam with that new guy was a dissapointment ! !


  • Mehak I. Ali
    May 15, 2012 - 1:12AM

    ‘Paisay Da Nasha’ was undoubtedly the best song of Episode 1, Season 5.


  • Seeker
    May 15, 2012 - 1:27AM

    Charkha by Atif and Qayaas is a rip off. listen to the track after 3:53. Its ripped from Kashmir by the famous Led Zeppelin. Shame on Coke Studio for promoting such a filthy act. All the band members of Qayaas should be hanged for intentionally ripping off a classic tune.


  • arsl
    May 15, 2012 - 1:33AM

    it was an awsum show……… Damn!!!
    you need to listen to some gud music to understand wat dis episode was…..


  • Ibrahim
    May 15, 2012 - 1:51AM

    It was an obvious article…everyone was expecting this kind of review since this time coke studio did an experimental music which ultimately failed. Be it Atif aslam, hadiqa kiani or sympt, rohail couldn’t manage to bring the best out of their potential. Well let’s take sympt, they way they talked in their BTS was ridiculous. All they had to talk Was about pundii?? Shame on them.


  • Ali
    May 15, 2012 - 3:09AM

    On spot! The episode sucked big time. Bohemia was the only artist worth listening to.


  • stairway to heaven
    May 15, 2012 - 4:05AM

    I am really disappointed of this review and doubt that ET has people with some strong bollywood influences , writing reviews about CS. This episode was the best ever produced, i am still captured of the Charkha rendition of cokestudio and unable to explore other songs. They all are the best music packed in an episode. n 15 comments above are a proof for that. shame ET!


  • Akbar
    May 15, 2012 - 4:41AM

    The whole definition behind Coke Studio is fusion and experimental music and I mean it when I say that it doesnt get any better than this for musicians with diverse taste. Charkha is a song that takes you places, touching every aspect of music possible. Sensational!


  • Jahil
    May 15, 2012 - 5:29AM

    This was the kinda episode, youve to listen to quite a few times to know whats going on. I have probably listened to each song at least 10 times. and every time a listen to a song it makes me want to listen to it one more time. Hence, I think the review is unjust…and seems like the reviewer watched the episode and wrote it without giving it another chance..to me this episode was like an epic bunch of songs which you have to hear to coupla times to come with a conclusion…which is the same case with every other great studio albums of all time..


  • Kashmiri
    May 15, 2012 - 7:19AM

    Leaves much to expect. I just had one goosebump in all of the songs, when it should have been throughout it. And also for the first time I noticed a Cameraman in COKE STUDIO.


  • Stinkfist
    May 15, 2012 - 7:45AM

    You sir are a fine example of all the things that are wrong with this country!
    They covered Led Zep intentionally, if you dont take my word for it, go read the review on Cokestudio’s own website. And in the future kindly get your facts straight before posting.Recommend

  • Afreen
    May 15, 2012 - 9:16AM

    Gumby needs to get back! Farhad is doing all good but its not up to that level :(


  • Qasim
    May 15, 2012 - 9:27AM

    poor review n then deserving reviews of the review by readers…


  • Mina
    May 15, 2012 - 10:02AM

    ,People with fixed musical tastes might not like the new season. But in fact, it is very experimental this time and does justice to the music. You have to have a good ear to appreciate the work.It was beynod awsmu!!So intnese.I luved it all.takes you to another level.There was a wonderful blend ov old and new n international.Luv Coke Studio for making me proud of smuthing bout Pakistan,recently <3


  • Hanif Shah
    May 15, 2012 - 10:21AM

    Charkha was the best, RAP was two and rest were average. Though I did like the episode and it was not a disappointment for God sake.


  • Mina
    May 15, 2012 - 10:32AM

    music ov International standard!!Just listen to it, man, how can you dislike it:).INTENSE,it was.Amazing.N,99% people I”ve met around,are luvnig it lyk anything.


  • Dr Omar
    May 15, 2012 - 10:46AM

    I agree with everyone who has said that this episode was more experimental, more fun to listen to and churned out some amazing music!

    And ‘Yes’ the criticism in this article appears to be more for the sake of it! Please realize its OK to show a little appreciation!


  • Anonymous
    May 15, 2012 - 10:47AM

    i was told all of this before i actually got a chance to view the episode myself…according to wat i was told i shuld hav been disappointed…but the fact is…i was not!!! CS is about new & different …n CS 5 has done that…infact after CS 4 i had started thinkin that CS had started its journey downhilll but the new season proves me n so many others completely wrong…no doubt the number by sympt was a little amateursh …prob better off in another show…but then thats wat experimentation is all about…charkha was amzin vocals…n kamlee was totally not done to death …n yes the pushto song is the most addictive:) n im not a rap person but even then i appreciate wat bohemia has been abl to do!!

    so overall a gud effort…in line wit wat is expected out of CS…new talent…difference n somethin away from the usual run of the mill!!! a job well done!!!


  • Ali
    May 15, 2012 - 10:52AM

    This is a bad review. Qayaas’s performance was top notch. And Symt was great too. You have to understand the fact that not every performance would be as good as the other. But overall, i heard a fresh sound in the episode. And we should appreciate them for it. There are still episodes to follow. Do not draw hasty conclusions. You seem to have little idea about music,


  • Hassan Amlal
    May 15, 2012 - 12:14PM

    A very immature, one-sided, and biased review.

    This episode was by far the best Coke Studio episode ever. I’m talking in terms of my own opinion only though, but in terms of audio production, creativity, and set-up. Recommend

  • curious
    May 15, 2012 - 12:20PM

    i bet you bollywood bigwigs are watching it over the internet to get ideas for future soundtracks in India


  • immortal_sooist
    May 15, 2012 - 12:23PM

    I don’t agree at all.
    Qayaas’s performance was fantastic! I don’t get it,why would they re-do Charkha from their album,which is already a re-arranged track that has been performed countless times by “Nusrat Fateh Ali”. Charkha on the album of Qayaas was already a re-arrangement,tribute,and rendition.
    It was a phenomenal rendition,that didn’t need the “Coke Studio” touch in my personal opinion.

    At the end of the day their rendition of “Charkha Nolakaha” was a great start to the “Coke Studio” season. Personally I am a big fan of experimentation and thinking out of the box.
    I don’t want those standardized collaborations,where there isn’t much of an experiment happening. SYMT was great too.


  • immortal_sooist
    May 15, 2012 - 12:25PM

    I don’t agree at all.
    Qayaas’s performance was fantastic! I don’t get it,why would they re-do Charkha from their album,which is already a re-arranged track that has been performed countless times by “Nusrat Fateh Ali”. Charkha on the album of Qayaas was already a re-arrangement,tribute,and rendition.
    It was a phenomenal rendition,that didn’t need the “Coke Studio” touch in my personal opinion.

    At the end of the day their rendition of “Charkha Nolakaha” was a great start to the “Coke Studio” season. Personally I am a big fan of experimentation and thinking out of the box.
    I don’t want those standardized collaborations,where there isn’t much of an experiment happening. SYMT was great too.

    These two acts were better than most of the last season of “Coke Studio”.


  • Raza
    May 15, 2012 - 12:46PM

    There is no question or doubt in the minds of music lovers in Pakistan and across the world that Coke Studio Pakistan is a collection of some of the finest musical minds coming together. Sadly, to each their ownRecommend

  • mikael
    May 15, 2012 - 12:56PM

    what kind of review is that??? I think this episode of CS is one of the best out of 5 seasons! atif and umair jaswal of Qayaas is out of the hook….Bohemia and SYMT they both were exceptionally good, this article sure does not follow masses here because over all review of CS is very very positive Recommend

  • May 15, 2012 - 1:20PM

    This episode was a master piece. But bollywoodish types and Taran Adarsh wanabes will not like this episode. This episode was for the REAL rock and underground lovers of Pakistan music. Recommend

  • Ashwaq
    May 15, 2012 - 1:25PM

    Have you ever thought of the fact that may be they were paying tribute to LZ? Watch their BTS’. Rohail and the houseband is always sighting pink floyd, doors, etc as musical influences.


  • Ashwaq
    May 15, 2012 - 1:31PM

    The difference between other countries and Pakistan; Other countries support each other in whatever they do and in Pakistan we just cant be happy for each other. We LOVE to HATE, typical defense living attitude. GROW UP, you “i am so insecure that I cant be happy for anyone” person. Shame on you Rafay. If you are reading this then know that every person in my office who I shared this article with has no respect for you. I hope you find it hard to look at yourself in the mirror.


  • Donga Bonga
    May 15, 2012 - 1:38PM

    Enough of the dholak man!! EVERY song doesnt need to have the dholak in there… They should try to fuse other eastern instruments now…


  • Shamy
    May 15, 2012 - 2:32PM

    “amazing vocalists like Atif Aslam” ?? dude wheres your music sense ? Recommend

  • Zamir Malik
    May 15, 2012 - 3:59PM

    @Donga Bonga: Well what are you talking about?. Coke Studio in the past have infused Sitar, Dhol, Rubab and Tunbi and this time as well if you would listen to Peshawar da kana then they made use of Rabab which is a local instrument. Also flute is there as well but many instruments are still missing.


  • Ali Sufian Wasif
    May 15, 2012 - 4:12PM

    people with no music sense will disagree with this article


  • May 15, 2012 - 6:08PM

    That is true of any artist or works of art. But let us not judge Coke Studio too harshly. They have given Pakistan a dimension which had been recognized in a desultory fashion.Compare it with the Indian. Being dubbed as a developing country Pakistan is among the first rank of nations with the musical reincarnation.Coke Studio deserves the highest national. award Recommend

  • rajab
    May 15, 2012 - 7:46PM

    Man tribune allows too much trolling…I am sure half of the haters of the article have only read the headline and not the article:P Which to me sounds very positive….Recommend

  • Amj
    May 15, 2012 - 10:58PM

    Once a brand name is established, we fall to our knees and become its slaves. Shoaib Mansoor made classics so we became his followers, to an extent when he made garbage like Bol we still praised him. Same goes for coke studio, if rohail makes a dud we will still praise him.
    And stop with “we must appreciate the effort”, this isn’t pre nursery.


  • ANON
    May 16, 2012 - 1:17AM

    Well i didn’t like Bol but film songs were catchy so it did well. As for Rohail, not all songs of previous seasons were classics. Some were great ,others were mediocre. Even the last season received average reviews. ET also gave the previous season average reviews. So you are wrong that we admire everything that comes out of coke studio. First episode was a great effort and there is not doubt about that. Audience is the best judge and you can’t disagree with them.
    No we could read English. Author was dismissive about every song. So tell me which part we didn’t get?Recommend

  • Arsalan Ali
    May 16, 2012 - 1:20AM

    Coke Studio has always had its own feel to every song. Whats the point of coke studio if a song is played as in its previous version. I really appreciate that this time around they are experimenting with the music. Coke studio’s almost every song has that folk or you can say that classical feel to it, but i believe that’s what coke studio is all about and that’s what they do best. It’s really good to see the way the pushto song’s music was given a new sound, the funky/pop feel was amazing. Atif and Qayaas both were amazing, the vocal expressions of Atif and Umair were fantastic. Hadiqa showed her vocal range as well. Bohemia was good, I think they could have experimented with the music a bit, the lyrics and concept was worth listening to. Symt was good as well arrangement of the song Tum Kaho was really good too, I think Haroon Shahid is really good his vocal tone is different and has that different kind of a feel.


  • Amj
    May 16, 2012 - 1:17PM

    I am the audience and I can disagree to it. No need to “correct” me, I have the right to my opinion, just like this reviewer and all these whiners


  • Funda
    May 16, 2012 - 5:31PM

    After reading everyone’s comments I have come to a conclusion. I don’t disagree with Rafay and his view on Coke Studio, firstly my friends I liked how Coke Studio started when it had a classical, fusion, folk and qawwali which had the essence and tru culture of Pakistan. We are thirsty for music and as it goes we consider any music good, because we are deprived from having no concerts and no proper music channels. So what every we hear feels good to our ears, now I have seen the music industry and I am totally disappointed to actually sit and watch Coke Studio,a new drummer and the drums it self, first it was an acoustic kit now it’s an Electronic kit. I cannot see a change on musician ship, 5 seasons and all we get is the same style of music, the guitars sound the same rhythm is bland and it feels like the musicians and Rohail are just doing it for the money. Coke Studio is a huge plat form for not only singers but musicians, make it intrusting bring in folk and eastern touch improvise make it worth while or if it’s not possible bring in intrusting musicians to bring in change and quality. I am writing not to offend anyone, its just my view and as a music listener Coke Studio has lost its sweetness.Recommend

  • xohaib
    May 16, 2012 - 5:46PM

    ^ funda sab, not so interesting, i am amazed u cant see how many musicians cokestudio has brought on surface who were totally not explored by people before CS. check chakwalis this time, Qayaas band who won some prestigious awards and to me they are the best in Pak now, if it was all about money , it would have turned to a bollywood kind of show without any diversity.


  • Aloo
    May 16, 2012 - 10:07PM

    Funda sab, you really said it. Agreed!


  • khan of quetta
    May 17, 2012 - 11:50AM

    i liked larsha pekhawar and charka nolakha(nice fusion)


  • Adeel
    May 17, 2012 - 5:30PM

    Dear Rafay – it is disappointing review. I believe the 1st episode was awesome & brilliant. As a reviewer, you may point out any shortcomings but please do NOT put negative heading (e.g. “Coke Studio 5: That didn’t impress us much”) on your review.Recommend

  • junooni
    May 29, 2012 - 11:02AM

    definitely missing gumby on drums, the drumming was not upto expectations, was too loud and was drowning the vocals. it was one dimensional drumming, and song selection could have better, there has not been the wow. lets see how the future episodes do.


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