As 2014 comes to a close, The Express Tribune has combined a list of the Pakistani songs that stood out by a mile. With Strings taking over as producers of Coke Studio and mega stars like Rahat Fateh Ali releasing his solo album Back2love, the year was full of hits and misses. However 2014 can be termed as a triumphant year for the younger music acts such as Jimmy Khan & The Big Ears, Sibti & Spoonful, Naseer & Shahab and Usman Riaz released some fresh music. Despite this, known performers like Zoe Viccaji and Abbas Ali Khan also took a leap of faith by releasing albums instead of the odd music video every few months as had become the trend in the Pakistani music industry.Some of the songs to nearly miss out on our list includes the classically rendered songs Tasveer by Sajjad Ali, Abida Parveen’s Dost and Usman Riaz’s Descent to the Ocean Floor.
A heavy mix of guitars, alongside flute playing renders this as quite possibly the best track of the year. Returning with a differed lineup with the induction of Gino Banks (drums), Sheldon D’ Silva (bass) and the powerful Sharmistha Chatterjee on lead vocals, providing another insight into alternative rock with a classical touch.
Perhaps the most unique track to come out this year. The song has a wonderful retro sound to it, which is further complimented by the use of the ukulele and bass within the song. The lyrics to the song and Jimmy Khan’s voice’s texture elevate the song to a different level altogether. The video of the song further strengthens its case as one of the best songs of the year.
No top 10 list of Pakistani music would ever be complete without a song by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. This song, Zaroori Tha, despite not being one of the musician’s greatest works to date, is still good enough to merit a place in the top 10. What benefits an otherwise ordinary song are Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s strong vocals and at a time when Pakistani musicians had forsaken the idea of releasing an album, the decision to release one deserves to be commended.
Mujhay Baar Baar
The song was definitely one of the highlights of Coke Studio Season 7. Abbas Ali Khan, a classically trained musician, performed the song from his upcoming album Tamaam Alam Mast. It is one of the few songs from the show where the orchestral arrangement of the track compliments the vocals and style of the musician.
One of the major stakeholders to have been affected by the decline in concerts and live performances are the underground bands. Therefore, it is quite heartening to see a local band Sibti & Spoonful release a single Badnaam. The alternative rock song is an original composition of the band with the lyrics to the song being penned by Sibti.
The sufi rock musicians from Jamshoro are one of the only two musicians to have their top 10 songs featured in our top 10 list for the second year running with their song Meena. According to the band the song is a dedication to the people who despite having the desire to be educated are left uneducated and promotes the message of equality, justice and education. A soothing acoustic feel to the song compliments the message that the band is trying to convey.
Phir Mili Tanhai
The singer who is well-known for her stints on Coke Studio ventured into the terrains of pop music with Phir Mili Tanhai, a song from her debut album Dareeche. The music and feel of the song alone are powerful enough to resonate with the listener. Though, what works in favour of the song are its rather stunning visuals.
Sanwre is a trademark Fariha Pervez song. The duet which features the vocals of Saad Sultan and Rizwan Anwer on guitar, is a throwback to the early years of Pervez. The song is a beautifully sung love ballad which sees both vocalists on an equal plane.
Sab Akho Ali Ali
If Asrar was the breakthrough artist of this year’s Coke Studio then Sab Aakho Ali Ali was hands down the signature track of the season. The song combines a heavy rock groove with Asrar’s raw vocals. Aamir Zaki’s presence on the track helps take it to another level as he effortlessly infuses a brilliant guitar solo to enhance the mood of the track.
Ghalti Mein Shta
Previous known for hits like Za Pakhtoon Yam, alternative rock band from Peshawar Naseer & Shahab are behind the rock song Ghalti Mein Shta. The song is about two lovers who have drifted apart, after a mistake, and one of them hopes two find their way back to the other.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 22nd, 2014.