Everybody needs a grand comeback. Some people got it, whilst others didn’t. And with his career showing a downfall since Aap Kaa Surroor – The Moviee (2007), Himesh Reshammiya needed that big comeback. He tried it with Karzzzz (2008), but failed miserably, reason, as it is, being that at the time, his detractors turned out to be more in number than his admirers.
Which is when he suddenly disappeared for over a year, only to come back with more news and buzz for his forthcoming movie, Radio, what with the fact that Himesh’s ‘new voice’ has been made public with his latest single Mann Ka Radio topping the charts like never before. So what does one expect from Radio? Frankly speaking, though his detractors expect nothing, his admirers surprisingly don’t expect much as well.
But, breaking all odds and ends, Radio turns out to be Reshammiya’s best album after Banaras (2006) and Ahista Ahista (2006) (both of which garnered acclaim among music connoisseurs and critics alike), and makes for a very satisfying hear by the end of the album, at which time you will feel like hearing the whole set of songs yet again.
The album starts with the heavily promoted Mann Ka Radio, a song that compares a radio station to a human being’s complex mind, making the equation somewhat simpler for the average Joe to hear. Lyrics by Subrat Sinha are somewhat tacky, but really reflect on human life, feelings and relationships – this with a new-age twist. Himesh’s vocals turn out to be a complete anti-thesis of what we’ve heard of him so far – soft, subtle, and relaxing, his vocals totally change the mindset of even his hardest detractors.
One still gets a pinch of the old-school Himesh though when he changes the pitch in the first and second stanzas, but that doesn’t matter anymore, as the overall melodious feel of the song captures your attention and clicks in one go. By the end of the song, any listener is sure to get surprised and hooked – surprised, pleasantly, with Himesh’s new subtlety in his vocal styles; and hooked, simply because the song is beautiful.
But if there’s anything in this album which should act as a detractor, it is Zindagi Jaise Ek Radio, a situational track that should work primarily on screen, but surely not something that can ever be worth listening to, as Himesh comes back in his loud avatar. This song comes up as a shock - it so disappointing that it’s a torture to listen to. The repetition in lyrics shows that Subrat Sinha is out of ideas in this one, and probably this might neither be Himesh’s nor Sinha’s fault, probably because the director might have asked for such a situation that required such a song. The rap in the start by Aditi, itself determine the quality of the song yet to come, and the lyrics of the rap go as follows – 'It’s a red light and a fishnet, if it’s not then you’re a basket; If you start to feel the fudge, then don’t dare nudge; Get on the road, get into radio mode –Get it? Mother Father!!!'. The idea of using some explicit language ends up being too corny.
Well, as if this is not enough, you find lyrics like, 'Kabhi Happy Karde, Kabhi Sad Banaaye, Kabhi Senti Karde, Kabhi Mad Banaaye'. After a few listens though, you get to notice that the first and second stanzas are really nice, but you also realize, that the overall package will tend to overshadow the first and second stanzas and will remain stale due to its overall tacky nature.
Melody fortunately comes back yet again, this time as a whiff of fresh air, with Jaaneman, a song that will surely touch your heartstrings and make you want to remember the one you love. Himesh strikes back-with-a-vengeance to deliver a scintillating performance behind the mic. Accompanying him is Shreya Ghoshal, who enters a little late in the scene, but surely leaves her mark and never allows herself to be overshadowed in this beautifully composed track. The number is more or less restrained and even, and doesn’t have any highs or lows, that really works for the song – big time – and leaves an impact on the listener. This one to be reserved for repeated hearings throughout the day.
The Himesh Reshammiya of Banaras recreates the magic in Piya Jaise Ladoo Motichoor Wale. This song also is somewhat restrained in composition, and the singer, who surprisingly seconds himself to Rekha Bhardwaj vocally this time, gets back to some serious semi-classical melody, something that was lacking in his previous compositions. His venture in this territory is also brilliant and it shows. Rekha Bhardwaj, like always, steals the show with her unique raw vocals. The shehnai at the start gives an uplifting mood to the audience, who likes similar semi-classical tunes, and also creates a base for humungous expectations of the rest of the song. This is another winner from the music director. A must hear!
If you’re still in the Jaaneman mode and hail it to be the best song so far, there’s another one coming up your way. Titled Koi Na Koi Chahe, this song turns out to be yet another beautiful outing from Reshammiya, who sings beautifully, and touches your heart, as do the lyrics of the song, which has a melancholic feel and talks about lonely hearts. Shreya Ghoshal is a clear winner in this song, singing in a very low pitch and restrained vocals. One realizes that there is no voice comparable to hers in the music industry as of now.
Shreya Ghoshal and Himesh Reshammiya, who have already become the favorite duo in singing, are back for another soft ballad; Teri Meri Dosti Ka Aasmaan, a song that not only moves the album forward, but also manages to win our hearts yet again. Himesh as a composer does a little bit of old-school in this one, and it shows, as the song sounds like he has taken inspiration from his older and more successful albums (Aashiq Banaya Aapne) in the past. A really enjoyable song about friendship, this one touches the chord mainly because of Shreya Ghoshal, who, this time around, gets more to sing than Himesh himself. And though both the singers make an impact, it is the music that ‘takes you down memory lane’ which is the winner in this case.
Just when one thinks of having more of Shreya Ghoshal and Himesh Reshammiya, they come together for the last song together in the album – Shaam Ho Chali Hai. Add this song to your list of must-listens, as this one turns out to create a greater impact as the other songs in the album. This is something that was bound to happen, considering all their previous pairings in this album have the potential to become immensely popular with the class audience.
This particular song one has the ‘IT’ factor to touch the heartstrings of the audience, yet again – whether it is the soft music, the semi-philosophical lyrics, or powerhouse singing from the duo, this song has all it takes to show his detractors that Himesh Reshammiya hasn’t lost it – he was, in fact, only getting the wrong assignments. A beautiful number, just like almost all the previous ones have been.
Normally any composer would want to garner commercial acclaim by putting a song on the separation’s theme into the Woh Lamhe/Dard-e-Tahnai mode, sprinkled with a little bit of soft-rock to make it big. Frankly speaking, these numbers had become clichéd and something new was needed in the industry to grab the listener’s attention. And just when one thinks about it, enters Rafa Dafaa Kiya Nahin Jaaye, another soft song, and yet another number on the separation’s theme, but composed differently. The element of sarcasm in its lyrics (Tere Gham Se Bari Ho Jaana Behtar Hi Thaa), coupled with the unexpectedly lighthearted music, surprises the listener. There is something in the music that gives away some elements of the 90’s, something that will surely be noticed by the ardent listeners of Bollywood music. Another gem of a song, this one successfully ends the album before the start of the space-filling habit of the record labels – remixing.
Normally Himesh Reshammiya will fill the album with remixes of all his original tracks, something which started to get annoying over a period of time. In contrast, it seems that he has finally realized the uselessness of each and every remix in the album, and has gone for remixes to just three songs, which turns out to be a change for the better. DJ Akbar Sami gets a lot of time on hand to make a good mix. And the good news for the remixes is that they turn out to impress (though just a bit).
Mann Ka Radio (Remix) turns out to be the pick of the lot, and it shows, where each beat for the remix has been carefully chosen for the song to make it the perfect dance track to tap your foot on. And with happiness I can say that this can easily go to the list of remixes which can easily compete with the original (something that has been seen – or heard – more often in 2009). Akbar Sami has done a fantastic job and has redeemed himself after his horrid remixes for Wanted.
Zindagi Jaise Ek Radio (Remix) turns out to be slightly better and safe on the ears this time. The rap by Aditi has been dropped for the remix; Akbar Sami did only for the good of the song, as it probably sounds okay now, though listeners and detractors of the original will skip the remix, as it tends to remind them of the torturous first listen of the original.
Piya Jaise Laadoo Motichur Wale (Remix) should surely not have been mixed and it surprisingly helps a lot in the repeated hearings, due to its nice techno beat. Unfortunately, the original turns out to be just too good for Akbar Sami to live up to the expectations of creating an amazing remix - which is why this remix goes one notch down.
The album succeeds in melting the hearts of even the hardest Himesh Reshammiya’s detractors, and in the process, will help him gain more fans and even more expectations from his upcoming Kajraare. Subrat Sinha will surely get more assignments after this one and it’s probable that Himesh would take him for each and every other album, thus sidelining Sameer, his previously favorite lyricist. A must-buy for the class listener!
Reviewer’s tip: Most of the songs might not appeal to the dhin-chak masses; only for the ardent music lover.