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Bilal Saeed – Twelve – The Verdict

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BilalSaeedAlbumReview

Ramneek Tung gives us the lowdown on Bilal Saeed’s album ‘Twelve’, released late 2012 as a follow up to his anthem ’12 Saal’. Ramneek disects the album to see what positives we can find and where their is room for improvement, constructively advise. See what Ramneek makes of the album, what caught his eye and whether it gets the thumps up or down!

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Ramneek Tung and Ahsan team up to give us the lowdown on Bilal Saeed’s album ‘Twelve’, released late 2012 as a follow up to his anthem ’12 Saal’. Ramneek disects the album to see what positives we can find and where their is room for improvement, constructively advise. See what Ahsan also makes of the album, what caught his eye and whether it gets the thumps up or down!

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As a vocalist, lyricist and producer, Bilal Saeed is a rare triple threat in Punjabi music. After releasing “12 Saal,” an anti-love song that references tragic romances from our rich literary history, Saeed is back with Twelve, a 12 track album that stands out amongst the flood of Punjabi music released late last year.

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Bilal Saeed’s immaculate vocals and his identity as a musician are illustrated instantly through the first track ‘Adhi Adhi Raat‘, which begins in a dramatic Hollywood soundtrack manner. His voice has a certain swagger about it which can be witnessed through many young Pakistani male singers, those sweet melodious notes which can be effective on both sombre and joyful songs. As an opening piece Bilal outlines that 12 Saal wasn’t a one off occurrence and he has plenty more in the bag!

Although Saeed is a competent producer, Dr. Zeus lends his talents on about 40% of the album, adding a layer of pop credibility with progressive productions. Zeus’ beats, which are much more dance-floor friendly than those of Saeed’s, heavily feature raps from Young Fateh that are bound to polarize audiences. Zeus also brings Shortie, Hanna Kumari and Amrinder Gill into the mix. Gill, who is still relatively fresh from delivering the best album of his career, trades vocals with Saeed on “2 Number,” an album highlight where the rookie vocalist holds his own against the veteran. The beat is unique with a 2 step feel and plenty of drumpads, kicks and snares. The lyrics also get our attention by blending sweet talking punjabi phrases with modern English references.

Another highpoint courtesy of Zeus is “Ku Ku,” which samples Laxmikant Pyarelal’s controversial 1993 classic, “Choli Ke Peeche.” One thing we can establish is UK Asian producers definitely know how to sample Bollywood music well and Zeus does just that. However the track in terms of vocals doesn’t have the same impact as others on the album.

As for Saeed’s own productions, they are mostly melancholic in nature. “Ja Jay Tu Jana,” the only anomaly, is a lively number that sounds like it belongs on a Shankar Ehsaan Loy soundtrack, suggesting a possible future in Bollywood playback. Some may find it a tad bubblegum bollywood in style, however it demonstrates Bilal Saeed’s versatility. The rest of Saaed’s productions set up a sombre mood devoted to the pitfalls of love. “Dil” is the only traditional sounding tune, and features a rare appearance from the tabla, an instrument that really complements the singer’s expressive vocals.

Bilal Saeed revisits tragic romances on “Heeriye,” the album’s definitive moment, but he restricts himself to the immortal story of Heer and Ranjha this time around. Although the lyrics aren’t as vividly detailed as those from the pen of Dev Tharikewala, the master folklorist, the lucidity of Saaed’s writing makes his musical output accessible, and he sings the heartbreaking song with so much conviction that it touches the soul.

One of the lead tracks from the album which was given the video treatment is ‘Mahi Mahi‘, again one that follows the patterns set by ‘Adhi Adhi Raat‘, skipping from a fast paced chorus to caressingly slow verses. As suggested above, Bilal Saeed definitely seems to be the type of singer that will get his calling from Bollywood, he is the antithesis of the saying ‘Jack of all trades, master of none‘. He has shown that he can produce, sing and for us his biggest skill which has garnered our attention; his written works.

Khair Mangdi‘ is the track that will sneak quietly away that deserves the limelight, it has everything to make it a number 1 iTunes single and reminds me of Imran Khan’s ‘Hey Girl’; this one is definitely a grower. Possibly the best track Zeus and Young Fateh have on this album!

Twelve is one of the finest releases of last year, and should be highly regarded by any self-respecting fan of Punjabi music. Saeed’s debut is a multilayered effort, featuring a blend of danceable rhythms and touching ballads. It features two of the best tracks of 2012, the abovementioned “Dil” and “Heeriye,” and introduces one of the most complete talents in the industry.

 We give it a positive 4/5

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

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