Review: Stop, Look, Listen- Saq
Track 1- Hai Nahalo
The album starts of in an extremely lively style with the opening track ‘Hai Nahalo’. Now I know the critics are out on this tune for being similar to Malkit Singh’s legendary release, however Saq has done a great job in producing a successful dance floor mover. A tune which definitely sticks more towards the traditional sound whilst fusing with VIP’s new modern style of bhangra. A track which will be popular with Bhangra fans of all ages, not just the hardcore, and is extremely pleasant to the ear.
Track 2- Jindh
This for me is where the album starts off proper. A heavy dhol beat which can’t fail to get you moving is blended with the amazing vocals of Manak E. From the first half a minute of this tune you know it will be a hit. No doubt. This should be successful on the dance floor and again shows great production talent from Saq. A top tune to move to and you will find it hard to resist being carried away on the wave of energy that this song creates. If Hai Nahalo was aimed at not just the straight up, heavy Bhangra audience, then this track definitely is.
Track 3- Mohde Te Bandook
The extremely talented Bikram Singh makes an appearance for track 3 in what is another really catchy track. Bikram’s vocals fit neatly into the melody and its mesmerizing beat will soon have you tapping your feet before you know it. However, it’s not the best song I’ve heard Bikram sing on, as I don’t think it stretches his vocal talent as far as tunes such as Chaklo Gandasay have, which bring out the best in him. But saying that this is still a top track.
Track 4- Pindh Mera
Continuing the all star line up of vocal talent to feature on this release, a short guitar introduction welcomes the legendary voice of Surinder Shinda. A much slower number than the albums first three tracks, but saying that it’s still a strong tune. Unlike many slower songs, the drums on this tune are more noticeable and heavier than most and so it definitely retains that bhangra feel in its overall production. After the energy from the albums opening tracks it’s nice to slow the pace down as Saq has done here.
Track 5- Tarrak Tarhi (Reggaeton Refix)
Now, I have to be honest, when I saw the track listing, seeing that Tarrak Tahri was going to get a Raggaeton touch worried me. I’m not the biggest fan of Reggaaeton, and the original tune was one of the best out there last year without a doubt. I was expecting nothing more than a watered down production which would destroy the reputation of the original club banger. However, I am extremely pleased to say I have been proven wrong and its definitely won me over. Its doesn’t just feel like a quick remix, it sounds like Saq has taken his time and worked hard on this tune. If you’re a fan of the original you should enjoy this new twist. Whether it’s better than the original is another question however.
Track 6- Stop, Look, Listen
Its good to see Blitzkrieg out on another release as his contribution to Asian Rap in general has been massive other the last year. However, overall the track left me disappointed. It’s a good Rap tune but compared to some of the work Blitzkrieg has done it’s not really up to some of the standards he has set for himself. The tune itself feels as if there’s that something missing. Maybe when I saw the name Blitzkrieg I expected too much from this tune, but I think compared to the standard this album has set so far it’s a bit below par.
Track 7- Mittran Da Challan
Saq is definitely showing his reputation as a cross genre producer as we go from Rap to House with a hard dancefloor beat. Mix this with some seriously funky melodies, the vocals of Avtar Deepak, and that Indian pop vibe and you have an extremely energetic and dance floor friendly tune. It won’t be to everybody’s tastes but it’s definitely one of those tunes that if you’re in the mood you can really feel and get into.
Track 8- Ghori
The heaviest introduction on the album by far. I love Bhangra like this and it's just what the album needs at this stage. This bought such a smile to my face when I first heard it, and the catchy dhol beat keeps its stamina for the continuation of the track. However, after such a strong introduction the tune kind of mellows out. This leaves me with mixed feelings because I was expecting a full on, frantic bhangra track, but your left with a tune which is still catchy but had the potential to be more than just that. Definitely not a bad effort from Saq and its still a track you can easily enjoy.
Track 9- Oh Kuri
I really like the vocals which set the introduction for this tune, before the main tune slams in, and then the extremely strong instrumental. It has the feel of Tarrak Tarhi to it so you know it’s going to be a successful tune. It may be no where near as full on as Tarrak Tahri, and is a lot more subtle, but it still has a great vibe and is one of those tunes you will be pressing the rewind for to listen to again. One of the stand out points on the album for me.
Track 10- Ik Naam
Surinder Shinda appears for the second time on a track which reminds me of the introduction of the tune Rakata. It’s a strong song and has that definite VIP sound to it. Shinda does justice with his vocal performance on a song that does not stand out immediately as a dance floor hit, but definitely is a tune you could sit down and listen to, take in and enjoy.
Track 11- Mela
Another slower number, but again it doesn’t feel like a traditional slower song as it’s catchier than that. On the other hand, it does sound like a track which has been done numerous times and fails to spark excitement it’s not a filler but does feel a bit formulaic in its approach.
Track 12- Tarrak Tarhi
What can I say. This song is over a year old and its still on my mp3 player, and every time I play it, it gives me the same feeling, the same excitement. It’s a top tune and a must for all the real Bhangra heads out there. I must warn you now though that listening to this tune will cause involuntary movement of your hands in the air. Extremely well produced and even though it’s already been released its an excellent way to cap of the album, and is a display of why so many people will buy this album
Overall, I can’t say Im disappointed with Saq’s debut album. You can’t argue with the amount of vocal talent that is present, and the production is very tight. He has experimented with a number of genres on this album and in many circumstances it has paid off. Maybe the album could have been improved if there were a few more stand out anthems such as Tarrak Tarhi, but you can’t fault the overall level of production from Saq and it’s a rare album where none of the tracks are bad enough to call fillers. I will be following the career of Saq very closely in the future and hopefully his next release will build on the success he will certainly receive from this album.