There are a number of points to address on the latest effort from Kee. Firstly, the song itself is produced by Tigerstyle – and is instantaneously recognisable as being derivative of their own recent single “Kudi.” That is not unusual in itself, as producers develop a “sound” and apply it to various tracks (think of the Timbaland/Danja era circa ’06). It’s certainly not a straight rip, either. However, here the Law of Diminishing Returns unfortunately applies, although fortunately it does possess an indelible melody in an otherwise blandly written/delivered offering. Secondly, this is labelled the “first single” from Kee’s new album… Really? The past two years of singles and videos are being jettisoned? May we politely point out that unless the album work is significantly better, don’t be afraid of including the quality tracks that got you here. It might just be a case of a fresh start – or maybe these tracks will be included as bonus cuts – but it would be a shame to deprive your audience of “It’s Over” & “Jaaneman Pt 2” – not to mention “Nai Nachna” & “Pyar Hai.” (Reviewed by Rahul)
Kee returns with a whole load of gorgeous mushiness for all you lovers out there. Whilst it is now customary for artists to take advantage of Valentines Day – hey, why not when V-Day takes advantage of us? – it’s clear that some do it better than others. Exactly a year ago, Raxstar dropped “Jaaneman” and Kee lent him an extraordinary assist on the chorus, helping to mould a classic. In 2012, she returns with production courtesy of regular partner-in-crime Arjun, who continues his superb form with an ingenious instrumental (it has a touch of the Stargate/Ne-Yo’s to it, complete with unexpected switch-ups). It’s just an honest, beautifully delivered, slightly uptempo, sugarcoated love lament – and it most certainly deserves your time. (Reviewed by Sohail)
There are so many interesting openings into “Jaaneman – Part 2” that it seems almost perverse to start with someone who has nothing to do with it at all. Yet aside from the witty freestyles and Twitter rants (although he’s sadly currently in self-imposed “#TwitterJail” right now), it’s easy to forget that Jesal is also a pretty great DJ. His “UK Asian Mixtape Volume I” (http://soundcloud.com/jesaltv/jesal-uk-asian-mixtape-1) was an unselfish attempt to shine a light on his peers, and – tellingly – he opened up with Raxstar’s original version of “Jaaneman” but stopped it after a verse, reloaded, and perfectly mixed it with the instrumental of “My Love” by Justin Timberlake. Suddenly it all made sense: the BPM and sequencing was identical (we obsessively checked ourselves). Clearly, someone else in the Raine Records camp cottoned on to a potential vocal number as well, and persuaded Sunit/Raxstar to rubber-stamp this version, driven by Kee (who subtly transformed the original). Despite sounding essentially the same, it has an almost entirely different feel: for one, it’s longer, allowing more breathing space for Sunit’s instrumental; but it’s also, well, longer, which unfortunately dilutes that excellent chorus a touch too much. The sequel is even more melodramatic, and this time Raxstar returns the favour of balancing out the tone with a well-written verse, sure, but truly totemic delivery (he really is on fire right now, with a quiet authority leaving him peerless). Whilst “Part 2” could have been a touch better/tighter (the pre-chorus in particular weighs the song down at times) this, even more than the original, is a song that demands you listen with feeling, not thought.
Kee returns with her second single, “It’s Over” – an absolutely superb effort that dovetails quite brilliantly with intelligent, well-paced production from Arjun. Whilst her debut (“Crazy”) was a fun way to start, this single means business. It’s excellently sequenced, with breathing space allowed to give resonance, prior to a chorus that implores and empowers in equal measure. It’s well written, delivered pitch-perfectly and is, unfortunately, probably going to be a completely unheralded gem of a pop song. Right, so aside from all that, are we to believe that Kee was dating this Tillek guy in the video – you know, the one who gets it badly – and that Arjun knew that said bloke was two-timing Kee? WITH RANI?!?! The musical/business partner of Kee (Raine Records!!). Scandal… Underestimate this single – and Kee’s penchant for revenge/violence – at your peril, for this is top notch stuff. It is lesson in how to pen penetrating pop, and has transformed Kee into an artist to firmly keep tabs on.
After his interesting but wrist-slitting “About A Girl” EP (which dropped in the last few weeks), it’s relatively easy to see which direction Raxstar is heading: as Pac once so famously told Biggie, “Go for the GIRLS!” In this post-Drake landscape, the new school of rappers make very specifically targetted, near-formulaic songs where they cater to the female market, don’t swear, and make sure their track will get on the radio/TV, by hook or by crook. “Jaaneman” most certainly falls into this category, and that’s not a criticism in itself – whatever you do, do it well. Raxstar delivers his as-per-usual impressive verses (at this tempo, at least), although Kee comes in to really save the day, with pitch-perfect backing vocals (taking her part out would just not make this as effective a song). Give “Jaaneman” time, for it is a genuine grower. In the end, we can dissect a track all day long, but if you really connect to it, and the artist makes you feel a certain way, it is has probably achieved what it set out to. And like most great relationships, the first impression may not have been all too great – but there is a real substance to “Jaaneman” meaning that actually, it probably will go the distance. As the hands of time relentlessly tick forward, this could well turn out to be a true classic.
Initial tangent: it must be said that Kee’s appearance on the Asian music scene is somewhat refreshing. Whilst we actively veer away from overly-cheesy statements on this site, it’s wonderful that artists are now apparently allowed to be above the age of 21, and don’t have to be airbrushed models/”singers.” Whilst it’s great to make the most of what you have – and augment the finished “product” to expand your market – the focus should always remain on the music, and people should give you a fair chance based on your talent. Kee has already aligned herself with Arjun (who we at SuperCritic think may well be destined for stardom) and “Crazy” is produced by Charles Boscoe. The song itself it pretty well sung, though the chorus is a bit underwhelming, but it has a carefree fun attitude and a kinetic energy. If we were to make insane predictions about Kee’s career, we’d bank on her being some sort of cult hero and headlining cruise ships when she’s 40. In a nice way.