By Khaya Ahmed: 2015 was, without a doubt, the year for Coke Studio as Pakistan’s biggest musical show dominated the scene with its eighth season. In a year which marked the return of some of Pakistan’s most formidable performers, here’s a list of our Top Ten most streamed and downloaded tracks on Taazi!
10. Sajna – Amanat Ali
Coming in at number ten is a track that was released in the latter half of 2015 but still managed to make a splash with its powerful arrangement. Amanat Ali is a man of many talents, who is not only trained in classical music but can play numerous instruments to boot including the pakhawaj, table, and dholak. That talent, and passion for classical music certainly shines through in Sajna, with Amanat’s smooth vocals that relax you until you’re treated to a catchy, yet moving chorus; the song has incorporated all the traditions of Pakistani music and is certainly a rich treat to the years.
09. Khul Jaye Botal – Mika Singh, Tehreem Muniba & Shani Arshad
Jawani Phir Nahi Ani’s made headlines everywhere upon its release and though controversy may have surrounded it, one thing’s for certain; it was enjoyed by the masses and has become one of the highest grossing films of 2015. With a fun, “bro-mance,” feel to the movie, the Soundtrack mirrors exactly that. Khul Jaye Botal is one of the opening tracks off the album and pulls you in from the beginning with its intoxicating (no pun intended) beat and will have you on your feet in no time, swaying to the beat of the night. Taazi’s listeners have definitely felt the effects of this addictive track which is why it’s ninth on our list.
08. Tamasha – Khumariyaan
Coming in at number eight is a band that stands strong after their culmination five years ago. Khumariyaan, a Peshawar based band took the industry by storm with their latest single, Tamasha, a track that takes the traditions of the old and molds it into something new for today’s generation. Devoid of vocals, the arrangement brings out a grungy flair with strong percussions. However, it is the traditional rubab which elevates the song to a whole other level and truly invokes the feeling of the northwest.
07. Neray Neray Vas – Soch
Another song which featured in a movie this year is Neray Neray Vas by the band Soch who provided four of their songs to the summer film Dekh Magar Pyar Se. True to the movie and the romantic element of it, Neray Neray Vas is an intense ballad that was actually composed by the band last year and picked up by the director who felt that it fit his vision for the movie; he was not wrong. The Nescafe Basement alumnus have elevated pop music to a new level with Punjabi track as they perfectly incorporate the flute, and the accordion to give it a fun Desi twist only to culminate into a strong and infectious chorus.
06. Na Tum Samjhe – Sajjad Ali
You’d be lying if you said you haven’t sung along to Love Letter at least once. Well the maestro behind that hit single and a copious amount of many others has returned after a two year hiatus with his latest album and accompanying single Na Tum Samjhe which comes in at number six. Based off the work of poet Saba Akbar Abadi, the track is a soft, melodic, and wistful as the lyrics speak about the misconceptions of a couple in love. The song carries all the trademarks of the veteran singer who has incredible ability to carry his soft voice in a comforting, soothing way while fusing it along with the beat.
05. Rangeela – Ali Azmat
Pakistan’s premier rocker comes in at number five with Rangeela, a groovy track which contains a message of unity and harmony; befitting for today’s time. Considering how Ali Azmat was one of the pioneers of Coke Studio, it comes as no surprise that he’s delivered another solid hit. The combination of the underlying tabla mixed with Ali’s signature enthusiasm as a vocalist is a treat to the ear as it slowly builds up to a satisfying crescendo. It is sure to have you on your feet and swaying to the beat.
04. Jogiya – Javed Bashir
Coming in at number four is another song that featured in a movie. No ordinary movie either as Moor was one of the definitive hits of the year, focusing on the humane aspects of the people in our country and the problems that they face. Jogiya, sung by Javed Bashir, the former front-man of the Mekaal Hasan Band, is a song invokes a sense of sorrow yet at the same time doesn’t go overboard. The perfect combination of the haunting flute, combined with the soft guitars invokes simplicity but will have you reaching for the tissues as it embodies the feelings of the movie to a T.
03. Rockstar – Ali Zafar
Coming in at number three is an original song from Coke Studio that is guaranteed to tickle your funny bone. Rockstar is a song that talks about a musician’s journey in the industry with cleverly crafted lyrics which are funny, catchy, and bouncy without being offensive. The singer at the helm of this frivolous tune? Ali Zafar of course, who is fitting to not only hear but watch as he spoofs his own movie star lifestyle. All in all, the song is fun, its light, and it’s got an on-point arrangement and catchy chorus that is just the right amount of rock, jazz, and blues along with an opening flute tune that you’ll be whistling for the days to come.
02. Sammi Meri Waar – Umair Jaswal & Quratulain Balouch
Coke Studio continues its domination of our list with a track that took the nation and the world alike, by storm. Sammi Meri Waar, a folk Punjabi song that is traditionally sung at weddings was given a unique twist by the dynamic duo; Umair Jaswal and Quratulain Balouch whose voices gel together effortlessly for this song. With a rising chorus that is both catchy and irresistible, the groove of the tune is what gives it that extra edge as the flute combines with the mandolin only to be strengthened by the vocalist’ rich voices; it is no surprise that this track is number two on our list.
01. Tajdar-e-Haram – Atif Aslam
Rounding off our list and clenching the top spot is the season opening track of Coke Studio which, since its release has gone on to become the highlight of the season. Tajdar-e-Haram can only be described as the magnum opus of the Sabri Brothers, two of the most influence qawwali singers of our time. An ode to the Prophet (P.B.U.H.), the song has been done justice at the hands of Atif Aslam who has paid the perfect tribute by adding his own flair to the song but at the end of the day, leaves its essence untouched.