Saq - Stop Look Listen (Album Review)
Record Label: VIP RECORDS
Release Date: NOVEMBER 2006
No Of Tracks: 12
Scotland seems to be churning out Bhangra producers faster than battered mars bars in recent times, and Saq is the latest to bring out his debut album on VIP Records.The production line seems to be in full flow up far north, as this is already the fourth release from VIP Records, who have only just celebrated there first birthday bash.
Saq up to now has been relatively unknown, however he did have the small matter of a song on ‘Pure Desi Vol 1’ called ‘Tarrak Tarhi’ and if you haven’t heard it yet then hang your Bhangra head in shame! One of the most under estimated songs of 2005, why? I’ll get to that later into the review!
So since then Saq has been busy working on his solo album, Stop, Look Listen brings together a top class line up of performers. Surinder Shinda, Bikram Singh, Manak-E, Lehmber Hussainpuri (yawn) and a few others who I will get into later.
The video to the main song ‘Hai Nehalo’ has been spinnin’ on your music channels, click here to watch it. Make you own conclusions up on the quality or lack of it on the video.
So if you want to make a hit Bhangra song to begin your album with, its quite easy.
You grab a piece of Lehmber Hussainpuri, get him to sing an age old classic which you know will rock the dance floor, combined with a funky yet listenable beat, and hay presto you have it! ‘Hai Nehalo’ is a remake of the ‘old’ Malkit Singh classic ‘Tootak Tootak, Hai Jamalo’. Its a little short at just under 3minutes, the song is good it gets you dancing, however the originality is lacking on this song. Sounds as if it came straight out of the “How to make a Bhangra hit, For Dummies” book. Good track nevertheless. Thankfully this is the only Lehmber track on this album.
So after rinsing out his album ‘Darr’ im glad to see Manak e back on another track. ‘Jindh’ is one of those rare tracks that I find it hard to say anything about, not because its really really good, or not because its really really bad, its just a solid track. Typical Saq production, if you can call it that, its got your VIP feel all over it.
Bikram Singh gives a helping hand to label mate Saq by providing the vocals to ‘Modhe Te Bandook’. Think of Bikrams previous songs such as Taakre and Chaklo Gandasay, this is somewhat in that template however much more toned down. A simple piano beat accompanies the track through the song. The build up to the chorus has been well produced by Saq, giving its desired impact. Quality track!
‘Pindh Mera’ is the first of two Surinder Shinda tracks on the album, and I love this track. I think I say this each time I review a Shinda track, but what the hell ill say it again, his voice is the most powerful voice in the industry, still! His best suited to these kind of tracks a la Mirza Part 2. But anyway onto the song, Saq does a good job in complimenting Shinda’s vocals, giving a good feel to the song.
Reggaeton seems to be the new flavour of the month for Bhangra, so what better then to give a ‘Tarrak Tarhi (Reggaeton Mix)’. Vocals are by the much talented Bhupinder Gill, who also featured on the Northern Lights album last year. This mix I have to say is excellent, its usually hard to beat an original, but Saq has done well here. Stripping down the original song of all of its components and completely reworking it with a smooth beat.
Saq shows his versatility here as a producer on the title track; ‘Stop, Look, Listen’. A total hip hop based song which features the ever impressive Blitzkrieg. Who incidentally will have his own solo album out on the VIP Urban imprint sometime in the coming months. The production on the song is impressive, although I do keep an open mind when listening to songs Im a Bhangra lover by heart, however this song really caught my eye.
‘Mittran Da Challan’ is track number 7 and is sung by Avtar Deepak. The tempo is upped on this track. The vocalist does a good enough job, and the production is different from what I’ve heard so far, not sure what else there is to say about this song. Its good but nothing mind-blowing.
Ramesh Chohan returns for VIP Records, he has sang one of my faviorte tracks ever! Mehndi off DJ VIPs Partytime 1 was defiantly a song that passed many by.
Onto the song, ‘Ghori’ has got a real desi vibe to it, the tumbi by Raj (Tigerstyle) is an excellent addition to the track. Overall a solid track.
‘Oh Kuri’ has been sang by Glasgow based vocalist Aman K, the production on this track is very similar to other VIP tracks, and much like most songs on this album has come straight off the VIP production line.
Surinder Shinda returns on ‘Ik Naam’, the the melody once again is nothing original, the use of samples is something that has been heard before on other VIP tracks, and it just seems as though they are running out of ideas here!
One of the better tracks on the album here ‘Mela’ has been sung by Amrik Babbal who does an excellent job. The lyrics and vocals save this song to be honest, as production wise it has nothing original going for it. Maybe I listen to too much Bhangra, but I’m sure your average listener out there can see the similarities in production on most of the songs.
The final song on the album, ‘Tarrak Tarhi (Original)’, for me to tell you about this is going to be kind of difficult. As I’ve been literally rinsing it for the past year. In a sense it’s a shame that the song was put out early on Pure Desi Vol 1 as it would have really helped to push this album. The song is absolutely brilliant! Dripping with dhol, the vocals of Bhupinder Gill are magical, going well with the song. If this doesn’t make you dance, I don’t know what will!
This album does give good value for money, 12 songs for £10 is excellent, and its not like any of these songs are remarkably bad. However as I mentioned in the KS Bhamrah review, the songs and styles are not breaking barrier, Saq has stayed in the comfort zone of tried and tested VIP formulas. The positives are the two versions of Tarrak Tarhi.
The album is solid, but much like most things coming from VIP Records, its an album for a few listens, after that this will go back into my collection to gather a thick layer of dust.
Saq - Stop Look Listen gets 6.5/10
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