‘Back 2 Love’ is the much talked about solo album by one of Bollywood’s most popular singers, Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. The album has been produced by Sahir Ali Bagga, Mian Yousaf Sallahuddin and Salim-Sulaiman. The album also has Shreya Ghoshal, who makes an appearance in the song ‘Rhim Jim’. BollySpice was at the album launch event in Dubai this week as well. Read on to see what we think of his work in Back 2 Love!
First up we have ‘Rab Jaane’ which contains a mixture of Asian and Western flavours. I love the use of the electric guitar which gives the song an intense feeling to it, whilst other sounds such as the tabla and harmonium help to sustain its overall Qawalli theme. Rahat manages to get the pitch just right and as the song progresses, his voice manages to build up quite nicely whilst remaining in tune. I found this one to be particularly striking with regards to how it has been arranged, including Rahat’s meaningful performance. All key ingredients which are needed for a great number such as this one!
Next is ‘Habibi’ featuring the talented duo Salim-Sulaiman. This one has a nice Arab blend to it and the use of the oud during the opening of the song gave this away easily. In addition, the use of bass and techno samples gives the song a nice kick to it, whilst remaining adhered to the traditional Arabian themes. I enjoyed this song very much and Rahat has proven his versatility by making an easy leap from ballads to up-tempo numbers like this.
Following this is ‘Rhim Jim’ which features the beautiful Shreya Ghoshal. Though the song features two of South Asia’s great musicians, it was run-of-the-mill for me overall. The guitar and violin were well executed and helped transform the song from soft to upbeat in some places, but it just did not have enough attention-grabbing melodies for me to really appreciate it.
‘Zaroori Tha’ is next and Rahat really pushes himself vocally in this particular track. It has quite a mellow feel to it and the flute samples travel nicely alongside the various sounds that have been incorporated into the song. I found it to be a respectable number, though beware that it will take time and a number of listens before you begin to accept the catchiness of this song.
Next up is ‘Nach Dumadum’ which will leave you confused in the beginning. You’re first left thinking that the song will develop into a slow ballad, yet midway through the song it becomes somewhat fast-paced. Rahat performs splendidly throughout and he delivers the notes quite well, thus demonstrating his eclectic abilities as a singer. Though the song is by no means great, it still does have some spice to it that will leave you wanting more.
Following this is ‘Sab Jhoote’ which starts off with a haunting recital of the piano, as well as some chilling female vocals. The effect of the electric guitar mid-way through the song adds to its disturbing affect, which is essentially a song based on how everyone is a liar. The song was a bit too depressing for my liking and I don’t think the music has been composed very well either. This is not to say to make a song is a bad thing. I just found this one to be weak in terms of composition.
‘Dil Ke Taar’ is next which has some cool drum beats that give it a thumping effect that will grab your attention. I also found Rahat’s voice to be very melodious in this one and he performs with a lot of soul and passion. I could imagine this particular song to be part of a Bollywood film due to its romantic theme, and hence I recommend that you try it out as it is has a likable quality to it.
Next up is ‘Sharab-E-Husn’ which has a bit of a club theme to it due to the heavy use of techno music and bass. However, it was quite dull and was deprived from more of the zing that you would expect from such up-tempo tracks. I also found Rahat’s vocals to be less strong here compared to some of the other tracks in this album, and therefore, I kind of found myself assuming that he was just breezing his way through the song. Have a listen and see whether or not you agree.
We also have ‘Aag Lagi’ which was just boring to listen to and lacking in the depth that I thought it might contain. It was mostly just the heavy use of the electric guitar, which I have already encountered several times in this album. It would have been nice if the song had more of a Qawalli quality to it, which I think would have made the song even more vivacious to listen to.
Finally to close the album is ‘Fusion in Rang Champa Kali’. The song was quite dreary for me and there was an overuse of the drums and cymbals which just made it a little too heavy. In addition, the use of the piano towards the end of the song just made it slightly messy and I think it could have been done without. Though Rahat delivers some amazing and memorable vocals which will definitely stay with you, my main problem was with the music which was not as well-composed in contrast to some of the other songs in this album.
To sum up, I found Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s Back 2 Love to be a mixed bag for me. There were some songs such as ‘Rab Jaane’, ‘Habibi’ and ‘Dil Ke Taar’ which were attention-grabbing and wonderfully produced that there are little reasons to complain about them. Yet there are also songs like ‘Rhim Jim’, Sharab-E-Husn’ and ‘Aag Lagi’ which could have benefited from more rhythmic sounds and beats in order to make them more attractive compositions. Overall, though it is not the best solo album I’ve heard, it still has elements to it which may appeal to the masses!