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In the last couple of years, Himesh Reshammiya has been lying low when it comes to composing music. The same man who once gave more than three dozen chartbusters in a row had just one major soundtrack releases last year in the form of Karzzzz, the music of which did become immensely popular. Meanwhile, Himesh got selective in his assignments and worked only on those films where he came up with a package deal of an actor, composer and singer. It's the same package deal in the offering with Radio. One change though - instead of Sameer being his partner as a lyricist, it's Subrat Sinha who has been roped in.
How does the album turn out? Well, it's as simple as this - One can't take the composer out of Himesh Reshammiya. He surprises, and how, with an altogether different approach to music that he takes with Radio. He was a trendsetter 4 years back; and now he may well create a new trend if the songs of Radio are any indication.
A much sober and subdued Himesh is heard in 'Mann Ka Radio', the opening track of the film. In the first listening, all one ends up focusing is on lyrics that go as 'Mann Ka Radio'. Frankly, it's hard to digest. However, as one gives the number a few repeat hearing, it's the music and the singing (in Himesh's new voice) that takes centre stage. What further impresses is the overall soft mood of the song that does the trick. Once the song reaches it's 'antra' portion, one gets to hear a little of Himesh in his vintage style as well. The 'remix version' only elevates the song further as it heads straight for the club. A good beginning.
It's a Western bhangra fusion feel that 'Zindagi Jaise Ek Radio' carries. Based on the folk flavor of Punjab and carrying a similarity feel to it, 'Zindagi Jaise Ek Radio' is high on rhythm with the 'dhol' beats ensuring that the 'bhangra' mood is set right away. Himesh gets into his full throated rendition with this number (which also appears in a 'remix version') that does come with a sense of deja vu but one doesn't mind that due to it's foot tapping ability.
The real album begins though from this stage on as there are six straight songs that bring that side of Himesh that hasn't been heard in the present times. It's the sound of guitar strings which begin 'Jaaneman', a soothing number that is sung in almost an unplugged manner. A brilliant track that announces loud and clear the melodic mood that the album develops from here on, 'Jaaneman' has minimal instruments in the background with Himesh holding centre-stage. His voice too sounds all smooth-n-silky which makes 'Jaaneman' an ideal number for a candle light dinner. Shreya Ghoshal joins Himesh in this romantic outing and makes sure that 'Jaaneman' turns out to be one of the best songs to have arrived this year.
Looking at the lyrics of 'Piya Jaise Ladoo Motichur Wale', one would have imagined this to be a celebration number. However, there is a pleasant surprise in store as it turns out to be a semi-classical track which has Rekha Bhardwaj beginning the proceedings. A love song which again has just Rekha's voice on the forefront with emphasis on the quality of rendition rather than any musical instruments bringing on the beats, 'Piya Jaise...' too demonstrates Himesh's stranglehold over classical music. One wonders where was this aspect of Himesh lost over the years?
In fact Himesh even curbs himself as a singer and only brings him on the scene a couple of times while allowing Rekha to hold centre-stage. Yet another excellent track which only makes one start expecting a lot more from Radio. In fact 'Piya Jaise...' would be the last to warrant a 'remix version' but Himesh Reshammiya and Akbar Sami make it happen and present it in a format that would make an entry into the lounges and clubs.
Feeling of some pure and unsaid love continues with 'Koi Na Koi Chahe' and by this time one gets to know that all the beats and the musical instruments were reserved for the 'bhangra' number in the start - 'Zindagi Jaise Ek Radio'. That's because from that point on, none of the songs had focus on anything other than the vocals, something that shows in 'Koi Na Koi Chahe'. A 'raaga' based love song, this Himesh Reshammiya and Shreya Ghoshal track goes perfectly well with the mood that has been set in Radio so far.
The sound of piano marks the beginning of 'Teri Meri Dosti Ka Asmaan' and one knows there and then that Himesh has indeed set his heart in for creating the soundtrack of Radio. If one liked the music of his last brilliant album Ahista Ahista then one is bound to grab Radio too with both hands, courtesy a song like this which continues the unadulterated feel of the album. Subrat Sinha too spins some interesting lyrics for this number that has Shreyal Ghoshal getting that little girl act well with Himesh giving her company in a full throated rendition.
It isn't every day that another male singer makes an appearance in a Himesh Reshammiya album; let aside sharing the stage with him. Well, impossible happens in case of 'Damadji Angana Hai Padhare' where Kailash Kher gets this opportunity. A number that has a folk base to it, 'Damadji...' has Kailash beginning the proceedings. However, two minutes into the song and Himesh enters the scene while bringing a different pitch and momentum. Yet another number that is attached to the roots and stays Indian throughout, it should make for a good situational outing.
It's back to a romantic duet with Himesh and Shreya coming together for 'Shaam Ho Chali Hai'. After 'Janeman', this is the love song that impresses most and deserves to be promoted to the hilt. With a touch of wait and sadness to it, this one too carries a certain 'pure' feel to it and stays unconcerned about any commercial trappings. Carrying the kind of sound (that does remind of 'In Dino Dil Mera' - Life In A Metro) that is bound to work well with the youth of today who are looking at hearing something different from the usual club outings that are being presented in many a album in recent past, 'Shaam Ho Chali Hai' deserves a repeat hearing.
Before the album concludes, Himesh presents himself a solo in the form of 'Rafa Dafa Kiya Nahi Nahin Jaaye'. A number about moving on in life, this one is a good attempt by Subrat Sinha as he pens something different from the 'dard-e-tanhai' genre that has been beaten to death. A slow moving track that is primarily for situational appeal, it doesn't harm the overall flow of Radio which ultimately turns out to be much more than just a satisfying album.
Radio, in one word, is 'brilliant'. In three words, it can be described as 'Himesh is Back'. And in one sentence, it would be right to say that 'Himesh creates something that what he is capable of doing so'. One wonders whether he too was aware of this fact that he had it in him to compose and sing songs like 'Janeman', 'Piya Jaise', 'Shaam Ho Chali Hai' and 'Koi Na Koi', all in one single album. He makes a huge impression with Radio that is sure to hit the top spot in the charts in quick time. Strongly recommended!
'Janeman', 'Shaam Ho Chali Hai', 'Piya Jaise', 'Mann Ka Radio', 'Koi Na Koi'