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Nirmal Sidhu – The Bhangra Star – The Verdict

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Ramneek Tung gets hold of Nirmal Sidhu’s album ‘The Bhangra Star’, which was released on 17th January 2013 via VIP Records. Check Out the Review below!


Ramneek Tung gets hold of Nirmal Sidhu’s album ‘The Bhangra Star’, which was released on 17th January 2013 via VIP Records. Check Out the Review below!


After collaborating with Aman Hayer on “Punjabi” off 2005’s Groundshaker, Nirmal Sidhu has been enjoying some fruitful second innings in the Punjabi music industry. Although he has been releasing music since 1987, Sidhu didn’t achieve global superstar status until he started delivering UK produced anthems, including “Sher Punjabi,” “Char Panj” and “Desh Panjab Di.” Capitalizing on this career resurgence, Moviebox Records signed Sidhu and released the Aman Hayer produced Nai Jeena, an album that failed to see the success of Sidhu’s abovementioned hits.

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After the release of Nai Jeena in 2009, Sidhu made the transition to VIP Records, which should have had Bhangraheads salivating for The Bhangra Star, as VIP’s production talent includes Twin Beats, Moneyspinner, Kaos Productions and the best producer in the game, Tru-Skool. The throwback folk sound of the above mentioned producers would definitely accentuate the vocals of Sidhu, who is perhaps the only living ‘80s Punjabi folk singer that remains relevant, and help create an album that would procure classic status. It would have been a fitting climax to Sidhu’s career, which has progressed from playing baja for Amar Singh Chamkila to delivering dance floor smashes, but VIP fails to seize the opportunity, as they deliver a forgettable album.

Opening up with “Jatt Nu Sharabi,” Sidhu sings generic lyrics that are remarkably saved from mediocrity by the standout beat-making abilities of Kaos Productions, who unfortunately are the only producers from the abovementioned VIP set that make an appearance on The Bhangra Star. The transitions on “Jatt Nu Sharabi” are chaotic brilliance, as the Hayers seamlessly blend traditional and Hip-Hop percussion. If only the lyrics measured up to the Sidhu/Kaos tag team, the tune could have been a successful single.

The underrated Canadian producer Pama Sarai provides the musical backdrop for the traditional “Virse De Waris,” a passable tune that would have been incidental on a quality release but stands out as a highlight on this unexceptional product.

Jatt Ludhiane Da,” produced by K Singh and featuring the vocals of Miss Komal, is a tolerable cover of the classic by Harcharan Grewal and Surinder Kaur, with a contemporary electronic sound. It adds to the original, but it’s an unnecessary remake, and it should be considered illegal to cover Surinder Kaur. Kaur, who is probably the only individual to cover a Kuldeep Manak standard and supersede the original, is the greatest female Punjabi vocalist of all time, and Miss Komal, who is cursed with an unenviable task on the The Bhangra Star, fails to measure up to the original vocals laid down decades ago.

After a double entry of lifeless songs, the covers continue with a decent rendition of “Kihna Sona Tenu” and “Mirza,” which sees Sidhu and Dilkush Thind modernize Amar Singh Shaunki’s “Sahiban Wazan Mardi” by applying an aggressive musical arrangement.

College,” the album’s penultimate track, starts off on a positive note with a mash-up of Hip-Hop breaks, sarangi and tumbi but immediately deteriorates into yet another uninspired Miss Pooja duet, which should have been left on the editing room floor. It doesn’t have much to offer lyrically, and fails to recreate the success of the jodi’s cover of Kartar Ramla and Sukhwant Kaur’s 1982 gem, “Char Panj Kudian.”

The Bhangra Star is an average album that features some outstanding singing from Nirmal Sidhu, but the vast majority of producers on the record fail to competently back the vocalist. VIP seriously has the potential to create a classic with Nirmal Sidhu that could measure up to their near-flawless releases from the past few years, including JK and Tru-Skool’s Gabru Panjab Dha and Twin Beats’ The Sounds of Punjab, but Sidhu’s distinguished vocals need to be combined with higher quality productions and there shouldn’t be an overreliance on covers. What is noticable with Nirmal is that he seems to thrive on singles for other producers rather than enhance his own name via albums. Hopefully, Sidhu still has another album in his contract because it would be a tragedy if VIP lets a singer like Nirmal Sidhu get away without generating a Bhangra masterpiece.

 We give it the album an average 3 out of 5

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

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