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Bally Sagoo – Future Shock – The Verdict

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With Bally Sagoo making his long awaited return, it would only be right for us at Chakdey.Com to break the album down and analyse it through our specialist equipment, or as we like to call him Ramneek Tung, Chakdey.Com’s chief reviewer. Is this album a great comeback that will set the industry ablaze or are we all in for a ‘future shock’? Lets find out!

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With Bally Sagoo making his long awaited return, it would only be right for us at Chakdey.Com to break the album down and analyse it through our specialist equipment, or as we like to call him Ramneek Tung, Chakdey.Com’s chief reviewer. Is this album a great comeback that will set the industry ablaze or are we all in for a ‘future shock’? Lets find out!

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After he single-handedly created a revolution in Asian music by setting the standard in both Bhangra and Bollywood remixes and furthered the dimensions of Punjabi music, Bally Sagoo seemed to have bowed out with his 2003 effort, Hanji. Although he ventured into Punjabi cinema with Sajna Ve Sajna and remixed tunes by Taz and the Bee Gees, Sagoo appeared to have retired from making albums. If this was the case, the retirement was well-deserved as Sagoo probably has the most diverse discography in the annals of UK Punjabi music. After releasing landmarks like Wham Bam, Star Crazy, Magic Touch, Essential Ragga and of course Hanji, which still ranks as one of the best Bhangra albums of the 21st century, many might have theorized that Sagoo had comfortably settled into middle age and legend status. But this theory couldn’t be further from the truth, as Bally Sagoo is back to inject yet another adrenaline shot into the heart of Punjabi music with his first album in almost 10 years, Future Shock.

Opening up with the “Future Shock Intro,” Sagoo drops a slightly disappointing instrumental, which bears a striking resemblance to the Neptunes’ production on Snoop Dogg’s 2004 chart-topper, “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” In fact, a listener might even find himself spitting some of the D-O-Double G’s rhymes during the Sagoo beat.

[image src=”http://media2.chakdey.com/Images/BallySagooFutureShockReview.jpg” width=”400″ height=”400″ lightbox=”yes” align=”center”]

After revisiting 2004, Sagoo unleashes the lead single “Thori Ji Kori,” featuring the vocals of Harry Mirza. Released at the end of January, the track unfairly received a lukewarm response. It wasn’t exactly a mediocre song, as Sagoo’s dynamic production and Mirza’s Surjit Khanesque vocals come together to create a club banger, but this subgenre of Punjabi music already exists and has been mastered by the likes of Surinder Rattan. Listeners expect Sagoo to create a sound revolution because he has done it many times before. And since Sagoo hasn’t dropped an album in a decade, the pressure is overwhelming and “Thori Ji Kori” simply didn’t live up to expectations.

After two tracks that don’t measure up to the standard Bally Sagoo established on his previous releases, the salvaging “Marjaana Dil” drops. If you were a Sagoo naysayer, this is the precise moment where you inevitably feel foolish for ever doubting the comeback. Featuring the pristine vocals of Sonu Kakkar, who sings according to a melody established on Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar’s “Gore Rang Pe,” Sagoo’s production is indescribable genre-bending excellence. If Roger Troutman ever travelled to Punjab to record music, “Marjaana Dil” would be the result. It is an exceptional tune, marrying the 80s Zapp sound to Punjabi vocals and firmly establishing Bally Sagoo as the mad scientist of Punjabi music.

While the listener is still recovering from the euphoria of “Marjaana Dil,” the A.S. Kang/K.S. Narula “Gidhian Di Rani” sample is used for the umpteenth time but Sagoo miraculously makes it work on “Peg Peg,” as he pays homage to his 2003 hit, “Botallan Sharaab Diyan.” If you basked in the folk glory of “Kidda Ji,” this is the track for you. Featuring the raw vocals of Kashmira Qadir forming a dissonant relationship with the comforting vocals of Sunita Bhatti, Sagoo takes it back to the days of Surinder Kaur and her rustic counterparts, including Rangila Jatt and Didar Sandhu.

Koi Nahin Hai Mera” marks Sagoo’s foray into contemporary Bollywood, and while Sagoo is fully competent in creating a filmi ballad, the majority of Bollywood tunes are currently indistinguishable, unless they’re from the mind of Amit Trivedi or on the Gangs of Wasseypur soundtrack. It’s an acquired taste, but “Koi Nahin Hai Mera” just represents Sagoo showing off his enviable versatility.

Check Out the Promos of Future Shock Here and continue reading the review below:

Gurlez Akhtar, who does a killer live version of “Mirza,” gets a well-deserved opportunity to shine on “Peeke Nena Cho.” The bass driven track features Marvin B accompanying the criminally underappreciated vocalist with some unintelligible lyrics, but they sound dope and evoke the spirit of Cheshire Cat on Bally Sagoo’s immortal 1991 classic, “Laung Gawacha.”

Thumpke Te Botle Kuldi” is another example of Sagoo mashing up the worlds of Electronic music and Bhangra. Although the genre mash-up was previously heard on “Thori Ji Kori,” this tune is far superior and would have been a more successful lead single, but perhaps Sagoo intended to lower expectations with the appetizer so he could floor the listener with the main course.

Jeena Nahin” could be called a rehash of Himesh Reshammiya’s “Teri Meri” off the Bodyguard soundtrack but that song was obviously influenced by the Christmas carol “Down in Bethlehem,” so charges of plagiarism against Bally Sagoo are unjustified. And the track is first-rate, featuring Tamara Menon’s soothing vocals, which are devoted to the doomed romance of Heer and Ranjha.

Naam Poocheya” featuring Major Singh, who sounds like a Ustad Puran Shah Koti prodigy, is another traditional tune, but it’s more accessible than the abovementioned “Peg Peg” and heavily features the tumbi and tabla, which Sagoo utilizes proficiently, making for a satisfying Bhangra tune. “Koka” and “Dil Jaan” are both pass the test as songs, but they feature forgettable lyrics and represent the inevitable filler moments on an ambitious 80 minute record. They might take a few listens to appreciate, but they are easily overshadowed by the songs that surround them on the album.

Sagoo completes a trilogy of Bhangratronic tunes with Jagdeep Parwana on “Sharabi Nena Waliye,” adding to the sound he experimented with earlier on “Thori Ji Kori” and “Thumpke Te Botle Kuldi.” The track has a touch of Bikram Singh styled music which will suit audiences globally.

Rupinder Handa, one of the better known vocalists on the album, makes an appearance on “Kitha Tenu Pyaar Soneya.” Handa shines over Sagoo’s intricate production, featuring a vocal sample from Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing,” but her lovesick vocals are somewhat tarnished by rapper I.T.’s reference to oral sex on the song. It might be just a quibble to other listeners, but one has to wonder whether Rupinder Handa heard the final product and why there is a crude sexual reference during a wholesome song.

Heart of Darkness,” the album’s second instrumental, makes up for the earlier misstep on the “Future Shock Intro.” Setting up a cinematic soundscape, Sagoo’s haunting production is perfectly suited for a neo-noir thriller set in the slums of Mumbai. It would have been a perfect conclusion to a revolutionary record, but the listener is further treated to a semi-decent remix of “Thori Ji Kori,” featuring Rimi Dhar dropping some Honey Singhesque rhymes.

Future Shock further cements Bally Sagoo’s unshakable status as one of the legends of Punjabi music. Rather than relying on the usual suspects, Sagoo utilizes unknown and underappreciated vocalists throughout the record. It’s a rebellious approach to making a Punjabi album, but Sagoo has been a revolutionary since he first dropped that remix of “Hey Jamalo” over 20 years ago. Although he has now settled into his 40s, the ageless Sagoo once again sets the benchmark for experimentation in Punjabi music by releasing a vital product that hopefully influences other artists to step their game up.

 We give it the album an average 4 out of 5

Let us know what you think of the album and the review in the comments box below!

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