So it came to my notice that I have let this entire monsoon pass without a single Coke Studio post. Baffling because this is the time of year that I miss, relive and enjoy my annual CS-Pak binge. As it happens, it is also the time of year when a shiny, new season is unveiled. This time, said new season had come and gone. And that should tell you how little it mattered to me. How it made close to no impact, and didn’t send me into raptures of love for the show, as it usually does.
I could go into miles and miles of analysis about why it didn’t work for me, as I have so many times now with various folks who share my ardent love for the show. We’ve dissected it to shreds, given our VTs and watched as the current season plummeted to irrevocable lows. But I’m going to spare you the analysis, because it’s a personal opinion and I know not everyone needs feel the same way. Long story short, I found this season lacking in clarity of thought. With a new director for every song, way too much instrumentation and the so-so production quality that Strings can deliver, there was just way too much happening this year. Every song felt loud, mish-mashed, noisy and not a single track stood out with a distinct character or a unique sound of its own – which is what I clung on to as the shows forte, for so many years now.
Yet, even in the noise, these tracks stood out for me. They’re not fantastic by any stretch of imagination. They don’t match up to the legendary level that some CS-Pak tracks from the past have achieved. I know this for a fact because none of these have consumed me in the day-long-loop fix that I usually find myself in with every season. Still, these are the only songs I enjoyed. And I think it’s only fair to share the love. However little it may be.
Best track of the season, as far as I’m concerned.
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. Unplugged version of a Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan classic. It was hard not to like this one. Despite the fact that I think the starlet here is completely unnecessary and doesn’t have a patch on the bucket-fulls of personality RFAK brings to this track.
Because, Javed Bashir. I don’t need much else. I managed to even get to a point of listening to it while blocking out the abomination that is Ali Azmat.
For old favourites Sanam Marvi, Saieen Zahoor and parts of one of my most favourite folk songs.
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