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The Saga of an Underwhelming Song

Instep lends an ear to ‘Chand Sitara’, the new music single/jingle featuring Vital Signs and Junoon’s Shahi Hasan, Junaid Jamshed and Salman Ahmed

The Saga of an Underwhelming Song

Bands breakup, and bands reunite, all the time. It’s the oldest story in music. The reasons vary, depending on the act, but it happens. No big deal, right? But when that reunion means the meeting of two of the most influential pop and rock bands, respectively, from modern music history of the soil, the stake tend to rise.

The bands, without question, include Vital Signs and Junoon, bands that ushered in a new era for music and culture in Pakistan, for fans and changed some of us, if not all, forever. These bands existed at a time when news channels didn’t trash each other for the sake of ratings; a time when music charmed us, made us feel connected and made us feel secure. Add stellar musicianship, a plethora of long-lasting albums and you have artists who still hold a place in the hearts and minds of many, even decades after their hey-days, despite personal antics, and years of courting controversies, both positive, and in many cases, negative.

For these reasons and more, the birth of the new single, ‘Chand Sitara’ held special value for many. Unfortunately, after watching the video of ‘Chand Sitara’, which reunites Vital Signs’ former members, Junaid Jamshed, Shahi Hasan with Junoon/VS’ Salman Ahmed, and listening to the song on repeat, that nostalgic value certainly loses spark, completely.

The music video, according to several reports, was launched with aplomb in Lahore, with an event that included participation from not just the musicians involved (Salman Ahmed, Shahi Hasan, and Junaid Jamshed) but also from cricketers like Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik.

However, despite the big launch, ‘Chand Sitara’ swallows the credibility of those associated with it, in one fell swoop. Because it is just shoddy. Period.

The music video, laced with juvenile graphics, travels through several of Pakistan’s national monuments like the Jinnah Mausoleum, while members of the music group, standing inside hot-air balloons float in the sky, accompanied by several people with some sort of accomplishment to their credit. The idea of celebrating young achievers of and from Pakistan is certainly noble and positive but, it doesn’t really make up for all the flaws.

The scene changes, but the amateurish, cartoonish feels persists throughout as an aerial view of scenic locations plays on. Huh?

Then there’s the song itself, which sounds retro, and though completely acceptable, it never really takes off because it doesn’t feel organic. Memorable music tends to surprise you, it changes every time you hear it, and it plays in your head, for years. That’s the hallmark of a good song, and was, for a long time, the hallmark of a Junoon song and before that, the Vital Signs. But ‘Chand Sitara’ lacks any such attributes. Nothing redeems this song. It’s sort of like one of those atrocious jingles that annoy you while you’re watching a test match between Pakistan vs. England or a Wimbledon final between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. You can’t change the channel because you might miss something, so you watch it repeatedly, but it doesn’t cease to irritate you. That’s sort of what happens with ‘Chand Sitara’. The brainchild of Shoaib Mansoor, who rarely misses his mark, ‘Chand Sitara’ has very little to offer in terms of music.

The only way you end up enjoying this song is if you pretend to have partial amnesia, kind of like Pakistan’s politicians, and pretend that all those years of music (from Junoon and Vital Signs) didn’t happen. The end.

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