Muhammad Shahid Nazir – “One Pound Fish”

F***ing Unclassifiable!!

Score: 9.9

The complex layers of this subtle gem are carefully hidden from sight. But, upon subsequent replays, you will discover “One Pound Fish” to be an expertly crafted anti-capitalist/government protest song of the highest order, up with the greatest works of Dylan, in many respects. In this Diamond Jubilee year, you have a man – a Pakistani immigrant, nonetheless, goaded into performing by his oppressor (take that, Daily Mail) – who is working at Queens Market. Aside from the obvious “metric vs imperial” war, this is a biting satire on a number of other issues: overfishing in the Atlantic/North Sea; the plight of local market traders against the faceless supermarket bastards like Tesco; in the Age of Austerity, the concept of quality in alliance with value for money (the fish is both cheap and good); the role of women in what is, essentially, a matriarchal society (why else would he only ask the ladies if they want fish?). Aside from the genial writing, the vocal delivery is pitch perfect: Nazir has a wonderful voice, which a texture so velvety smooth, a timbre that instantly cuts through the ambient background noise (presumably due to his years of training in the market), and he delivers his killer melodies with aplomb. It’s an instant and eternal classic. (Reviewed by Jesal)

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