We’ve given Bikram healthy doses of shit over the years, but we always review every new song with a fresh pair of ears. And so it’s great to tell you, dear Reader, that alongside pals Gunjan and Tigerstyle, he’s delivered the charming “Kawan 2”. Gunjan’s gorgeous vocals are pure ear candy, and Tigerstyle’s relaxed production is definitely on point too. Mr Singh himself gives a passionate performance, and this is definitely one to just kick back and enjoy life to. (Reviewed by Raman)
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)
Tigerstyle make a triumphant return, and whilst “Kudi” is in no way innovative, it is brutally effective. Think typical dance track de jour with thumping percurssion, clever sequencing, sinister swooping synths and a bass that shakes you to your very core. Add in some Indiany stuff (that’s the technical term) plus Rani Randeep’s vocals, and you have a strong number indeed. Whilst Randeep works relatively well on the track, one can’t help thinking that her part is a touch too jovial for such a moody instrumental (Example’s “Changed the Way…” fed into the beat much better) but as a party starter in the club, this will bang. Hard. (Reviewed by Sohail)
Although this doesn’t feel like a recent offering (we can’t carbon date it to find out either way), the old school 2008-feel to it works in the favour of “You’re A Star” – the latest, and deceptively strong, Shizzio release. The replay value is high, and the MC’s playful flow dances around the various elements of the incredibly melodic Tigerstyle instrumental. The near anti-chorus is so underplayed by Nikitta that it’s a genuine risk, but that works brilliantly too. Shizzio himself is out to impress, and although the lyrics seems at odds with the ancient Channel U-esque video, this is probably the best release he’s had in 2011 – possibly because it trades on feelings as opposed to anything more tangible. All in all, it’s a very strange number that you could listen to a hundred times and still not fully understand why you like it so, but sometimes that’s enough.
YouTube is a strange beast, with many quirks and foibles. The comments are usually ridiculous, occasionally hilarious and frequently more entertainment than the video itself. There are two dead giveaways, however, when it comes to “Beyonce” – the new track from Bikram Singh. Firstly, “Adding comments has been disabled for this video” (which is never a good sign). Secondly, the Likes/Dislikes ratio. Anytime it gets worse than 20%, it usually means that people really hate the song, the video or the artist. Here, it might just be the cheek of shamelessly naming your song “Beyonce.” So, you should know that Singh’s video is not faring well, at all. When a song inspires genuine hatred, we must ask why – here, the reasons present themselves immediately. Firstly, the video is tongue-in-cheek, sure, but it’s appallingly bad, with some poor models who will probably have their careers tainted for life. Secondly, the beat is ear-aching – considering Tigerstyle usually do a good job, this is a pure flop and shows up their recent arrogance (it comes across on Twitter more and more). The clashing melodies, the over-compression, the atonal quality of the synths – nothing works in the slightest. Lastly, Bikram Singh himself. He’s written a truly terrible song that probably worked well in his head… He runs out of breath halfway through the chorus; the Auto Tune is turned up to 11; he looks and sounds as if he’s literally going to ejaculate at certain points. Finally, calling the song “Beyonce” and trying to piggyback her fame is just a sin. It is doubtful that she’ll ever hear this (her “people” will rightly protect her from it), but if she does, she would have every right to slap two shades of shit out of Singh for pure outright defamation.
Whilst it would have been a trillion times more fun if this had been Shizzio covering “I Swear” by All-4-One, this is actually a collaboration with Scottish producers Tigerstyle (a genuinely talented duo that hits more often than they miss). It is fair to call it that since Shizzio only spits one verse, and the rest of this short, sharp number is dominated by an electric guitar, Arabian strings and someone singing “Kasam Khuda Di” (with the guitar in particular harking back to Kano’s “Typical Me”). It has strengths and weaknesses, but many of them are subjective. For instance, the first half of Shizzio’s verse is pretty terrible, then he explodes into life. His voice will grate traditional bhangra fans, but the more you hear it, the better it becomes. He is explicit, using phrases like “suck my cock” – this never tends to translate well, with very few Asian rappers successfully using expletives (in the manner of Blitzkrieg or Jesal) without alienating a prudish audience. Shizzio is an ultra-masculine, old school rapper: he’s strong, charismatic, hypocritical, obscene, talented. Unfortunately, he’s arrived 5 years too late, as the new school of rappers are much more moderate, pander to the ladies and are much keener for radio play. Shizzio has talent, but we predict he will be swimming upstream for a while yet.