ROCK WITH A DESI TWIST! (QAIDI BAND – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Amit Trivedi
♪ Lyrics by: Kausar Munir, Habib Faisal, Sidhant Mago & Peter Muxka Manuel
♪ Music Label: YRF Music
♪ Music Released On: 25th July 2017
♪ Movie Releases On: 25th August 2017

Qaidi Band Album Cover

 

To hear the full songs of this album on Saavn CLICK HERE

To buy this album on iTunes CLICK HERE


Qaidi Band is an upcoming Bollywood musical drama, starring debutants Aadar Jain and Anya Singh in lead roles. The film is directed by ‘Do Dooni Chaar’, ‘Ishaqzaade’ and ‘Daawat-e-Ishq’ fame Habib Faisal, and produced by Aditya Chopra. The film tells the story of seven innocent under-trials, who form a musical band in prison. They get the chance to perform on Independence Day and their song becomes a national sensation. However, their hopes of acquittal are dashed when a local politician cancels their trials in hopes of winning the upcoming elections using their songs. The film explores how they secure their release with the help of their music. The director has made delightful films before, and I am sure this one will be great too. Meanwhile, the strength of a musical lies in its music. This time Habib teams up with his ‘Ishaqzaade’composer Amit Trivedi. Having been absent from the Bollywood music scene for eight months after ‘Dear Zindagi’ last year, Trivedi will finally open his account this year, before his music for yet another musical ‘Secret Superstar’, releases. This film was announced out of the blue, and what is special is that YRF relleased the album in one go! That made it all the better to pounce on it right away and gulp all the songs down together! So it was rather fun how the poster, trailer and album of this film released in such close succession! Anyway, let’s see how the Band of “Qaidi”s (Captives) fares!

P.S. Thanks to the AMAZING Vipin Nair over at www.musicaloud.com for the musician credits!


1. I Am India / I Am India (Escape Version)

Singers ~ Arijit Singh & Yashita Sharma / Amit Trivedi & Yashita Sharma, Lyrics by ~ Habib Faisal

Amit Trivedi starts off the album with a song that has the least amount of rock elements you would expect,in a film about a rock band. The song is basically a patriotic street-play kind of song, with an insanely catchy rhythm and composition, quite closely following the usual composition style of Trivedi. The composition is simple, very Trivedi-ish (if that’s an adjective now, after ten years of Trivedi being in the industry). The composition, though, isn’t what catches you at the first listen. The hook composition is cool and catchy, but the rest grows on you in successive listens. What really grabs you in the first place are the arrangements, vocals and lyrics. The song appears in two versions, differing in arrangements and vocals. The first version by Arijit & Yashita is what will get more famous among the public, because, obviously, it’s Arijit. But, plot twist! Arijit’s vocals have been kept so raw and untouched, that he sounds exactly like Amit Trivedi. The required amount of naughtiness, though, is present in his vocals. Yashita too, complements him well, with her nice and husky voice. This version has a nice prelude with a lot of percussion sounds (Sanket Naik) that resembles Taufiq Qureshi’s style of percussion a lot. A wonderful beatbox, by Alan D’Souza, something that we rarely hear in desi songs like this, also accompanies the prelude. And when the harmonium (Akhlakh Hussain Varsi, Feroz Khan) pitches in, you know Trivedi has some awesome street-smart song waiting for us. The percussion remains for he whole song, to entertain us, and what an entertaining percussion it is! The fusion between that percussion and he harmoniums, in the interlude, is a sight to behold. Towards the end we get the tempo upped, and that portion really sums up the song — the patriotic flavour comes out the best in those lines. The second version is nice too; here, Amt Trivedi himself takes over as the male vocalists, complemented by Yashita again. It doesn’t make much of a difference with his voice, because even Arijit had sounded like him. In this version, Yashita sings what Arijit sang in the first version, and Amit sings what she had sung over there. The arrangements are better here, with a nice dhol-taasha Maharashtrian touch given to the arrangements. The prelude is sloughed off here, and the song plunges directly into the mukhda. The harmonium and percussions, as stated above, are way more prominent, making it sound much more like an actual street performance. Habib Faisal’s lyrics are aptly patriotic; the comparisons are unthinkable, but when you listen to them it’s just a matter of fact. For example, India is a gol gappa, and Indians are the water inside! A patriotic song with quirky lyrics and a fun arrangement!

Rating: 4/5 for the Original Version, 4.5/5 for the Escape Version

 

2. Hulchul

Singers ~ Arijit Singh & Yashita Sharma, Lyrics by ~ Kausar Munir

The rock kicks in, in full swing, with this next song, a rock ballad full of pain and emotion. The starts in a mellow way, characteristic of Trivedi’s romantic songs, so much so that you almost are sure that something calm is about to follow. But then a strain of melancholia, accompanied by the first bar of the mukhda, appears, and then the tune just breaks into a very energetic and hard-hitting rock song. The transition is very quick, but very seamless. The hookline is amazing, and the way the male and female vocalists alternate their lines, making it a true-blue duet, is amazing. More on the vocals later though. The composition continues to amaze — the lilting portions really stand out in the very high-octane arrangements. The electric guitars are the stars of the song, and the way they start, in the first hookline, is just shockingly beautiful! They keep playing throughout, and never fail to amaze. The drums (Jai Row Kavi), naturally, are amazing too. The interlude is all electric guitar, and it sounds amazing, as if we really are in a rock concert. The strong composition just helps the song to be put forth better to the listeners. The vocals are pitch perfect. Arijit’s raw and grungy vocals have been retained yet again, and his voice sans programming is such a beauty to listen to, especially in this era where composers can’t go without tweaking voices. Yashita Sharma complements him very well. Both of them sing the song so intensely, the emotion is almost tangible. Backing vocalists give a good push to the song. The lyrics are amazing here as well, with the band members expressing the desire to be let free. A touching song, but might take time to grow.

Rating: 4.5/5

 

3. Phir Nayi

Singer ~ Yashita Sharma, Lyrics by ~ Kausar Munir

Yashita gets a solo song to sing next; and I must say, she deserved it, and shines in it! Amit’s composition is fresh yet nostalgic. It doesn’t have any shades of his previous song (or not that I can think of) but it still seems so nostalgic and evokes a sense of happiness in the listener. The mukhda starts the song off very promisingly, and Amit, as usual, lives up to that promise, because what follows is no less beautiful. The hookline is nice, and I like the way the drums pause when the hook appears. It gives it a very important feel, and lets the magic of the composition be heard on its own. The antaras are wonderful as well, and it just helps more that Kausar Munir’s lyrics are so beautiful. It makes the song such a delight to listen to. The arrangements are splendid; the usual drums (Jai Row Kavi) are accompanied this time by mellifluous strings (Chennai Strings Orchestra — conducted by M. Kalyan). Of course, the guitars do appear, but here, they are relatively relegated to the background, as the strings and the flute (Naveen Kumar) are more intriguing. A wonderful santoor portion (Tapas Roy) is what draws the listeners into the song, and also features in the interlude; it seems so surreal in an album about a rock band! Yashita herself, carries the beautiful composition with elegance, never making the listeners get bored or lose interest. The grace with which she handles the notes is pleasantly surprising, as almost all her previous songs have been these upbeat numbers, whereas this one is a lilting feel-good melody! Full marks to everyone for this beauty of a song!

Rating: 5/5

 

4. Junooni

Singers ~ Arijit Singh & Yashita Sharma, Lyrics by ~ Sidhant Mago & Kausar Munir

Another high-octane rock song follows that surreal melody. This one too, starts off very melodiously, and suffers from a sever hangover of ‘Pashmina’ (Fitoor), as is clear from the guitar and flute beginning. Of course though, the flute (Naveen Kumar) is what makes us listen more enthusiastically, curiously, to know how this will turn into a rock song. Sure enough, with Trivedi’s genius, he manages to swerve the melody into a nice and energetic rock song. Though the full-fledged rock doesn’t arrive till the hookline here (unlike ‘Hulchul’ where it hardly took one line), it still works wonders. And the portion before he rock breaks too, is just magical. Amit’s composition for the antara, is just mesmerizing, and it is his trademark compositional style hat reflects in that antara. It is kind of noticeable how the composition style of the rest of the song is clearly non-Trivedi-ish, and follows the rock template to the tee. Nevertheless, the song turns out to be one of my favourites of the album. The second antara, is just another repetition in the same tune as the mukhda, but somehow it sounds better in the middle of the song, than it did at the beginning. And what can I say about the hookline! As soon as that rock hits you, you suddenly get goosebumps. Of course, it is a romantic rock song, and so it should be haunting and melodious along with the trademark rock characteristics. And it packages both the qualities perfectly. Arijit and Yashita yet again, prove their mettle, and this is actually one of the rare songs on the album where Arijit sounds like himself! Yashita sounds a lot like Neeti Mohan in her sweet and sugary voice, and that’s a plus point for the song. Again, both of their voices’ intensities drive the song way ahead of what it could have been, if it had been sung in a lifeless manner. Kausar and Sidhant Mago write a nice mix of romantic and passionate lyrics. A rock song that follows the rock template very sincerely, yet manages to impress!!

Rating: 4.5/5

 

5. Udanchoo

Singers ~ Arijit Singh & Yashita Sharma, Lyrics by ~ Kausar Munir

This next song was a bit weird, after the very templated sound of the previous three songs. That’s because this one is a clear Amit Trivedi song, which dates to go unconventional. Sadly, the composer seems to have gotten it topsy turvy. Not that it is a bad song, it is just less impressive than the others. The composition is an upbeat one, again, relying on rock guitars and drums to give it a good beat — and it succeeds. The composition is a bit weak, Especially the hookline, which seems forced. The antaras are amazing, fortunately. The arrangements have a retro touch — an 70s-80s rock touch. The kind of rock that was prominent in the West at that time. And that’s the strongest point of the song; that’s what will trick people into loving the song! Vocals are great again, with a lot of enthusiasm. I loved Arijit particularly in this song. The lyrics are clearly about escaping. Experimental, but doesn’t go the right way.

Rating: 3.5/5

 

6. Jag Mag

Singers ~ Arijit Singh & Yashita Sharma, Rap Written & Performed by ~ Peter Muxka Manuel, Lyrics by ~ Habib Faisal

Amit goes the experimental way with the next song as well. And I’m happy to say that this time, it works fantastically, as it usually does with Trivedi. The composition is a feel-good one, and instantly brings a smile to your face! The characteristic style of Trivedi shows itself right at the beginning of the song, and you start loving it then and there. The hookline is one of the cutest things I’ve heard recently. The antaras are nice and along the same lines — happy-sounding and pleasant. The arrangements are so minimal, but a continuous beatbox (Alan D’Souza) keeps going on in the background. Of course, Trivedi garnishes the song with guitars, percussion and his signature quirky digital sounds. (Something I’ve heard after a long time!) The vocals are string here as well — now I’m beginning to think I should just let you take it for granted that the vocals are beautiful in every song!! There’s a nice Caribbean-styled English rap midway into the song, and it is one of the most refreshing raps I’ve ever heard! At least it is something different! Peter Muxka Manuel renders it with a huge amount of confidence! The cute patriotic lyrics that feature in the song are the USP of the song. They’re so fun! A patriotic song that tells you that it doesn’t always have to be heavy and preachy to make a good patriotic song!

Rating: 4/5

 

7. Poshampa

Singers ~ Arijit Singh & Yashita Sharma, Lyrics by ~ Kausar Munir

Now the next song bursts into a very different side of the album; a very enjoyable, retro feel accompanies the catchy composition. It sounds like something out of an R.D. Burman album, and recreated by Amit Trivedi. The composition is vey catchy, and instantly has you grooving to the music. What draws you in at first though, is the amazing musical prelude that seems like a continuation of the wonderful ‘Mehbooba’ (Sholay), complete with the amazing trumpets (Kishore Sodha), rabaab (Tapas Roy), and of course, drums (Jai Row Kavi). It is this prelude that makes the listener keen on listening to the rest of the song, with rapt attention. The rabaab keeps on playing throughout the song, everytime the hookline is over, and it just gives amazing retro vibes. The amazing arrangements really help in transporting us to that era. The trumpet and percussion is what stands out prominently, and the interludes are amazing! I loved it when Trivedi decreases the tempo in one interlude, and graces it with a heavy Punjabi dhol, and it sounds amazing! Of course it goes back to the retro trumpet in no time! The vocals are amazing here (again!) and Arijit and Yashita sing at the top of their energies. The way Arijit sings the “I Don’t understand why” and “dafaa chaar-sau-bees boli” lines, is just so entertaining. The end of the song comprises an uptempo conclusion that just leaves the “jaa bhai jaa” hook permanently imprinted into your memory. The lyrics are evidently situational, but revolve around the escape theme again. A wonderfully catchy song, an entertaining mix of rock with a retro feel!

Rating: 5/5

 

8. Phir Wohi

Singer ~ Yashita Sharma, Lyrics by ~ Kausar Munir

After that electrifying retro number, Trivedi decides to end with a mellow melancholic number. The song is basically the sad version of ‘Phir Nayi’, and is renamed ‘Phir Wohi’. {What a coincidence; we just had another sad song called ‘Phir Wahi’ last month in ‘Jagga Jasoos’!} Trivedi has contrasted this song from its original in such a beautiful way — of course the tempo is a bit slower, the tone has completely transformed from a happy-go-lucky one to a very melancholic one. Some of the elements he uses to do this, are, of all the things you would expect, PERCUSSIONS! Yes. Trivedi employs an irresistible march-past-like rhythm to signify the sad tone of the song. And it works so wonderfully! Also, in that version, Yashita sang very flamboyantly, but here, she sings very differently — and it creates a great effect! Some places, I thought she went off-tune, but then I understood it must be intentional, to signify the character sounding like she was crying — the way Trivedi made Neeti Mohan “cry-sing” in “Dhadaam Dhadaam” (Bombay Velvet)! Flute (Naveen Kumar) is yet another beautiful attraction here. Another beautiful addition, is a very satisfying backing chorus, which, in its low pitch, wins your heart in a jiffy. Kausar reprises her happy lyrics to make them aptly sad. A very apt reprise of a song that I would never imagine, would sound so good with a sad version!

Rating: 4.5/5


Qaidi Band is one of those Amit Trivedi albums, in which the composer doesn’t quite experiment too much, and plays with already established musical styles. Of course, he manages to make it sound amazing even then. The album is full of variety, and follows a very prominent rock theme throughout. Patriotism, fun, romance, happiness and melancholia is portrayed wonderfully through the songs, and that’s what makes it so special.  Habib Faisal and Amit Trivedi hit the jackpot yet again, this time with a desi rock theme!

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 4 + 4.5 +4.5 + 5 + 4.5 + 3.5 + 4 + 5 + 4.5 = 39.5

Album Percentage: 87.78%

Final Rating for This Album: सा < रे < ग < म < प < ध < नी < सां

Note: The letter which is underlined is the final rating.

Recommended Listening Order: Phir Nayi = Poshampa > Phir Wohi = Junooni = Hulchul = I Am India (Escape Version) > I am India = Jag Mag > Udanchoo

 

Which is your favourite song from Qaidi Band? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂