Composed and co-written by the artist, the second song from the new season introduces flamboyance to her complex style.
“All this running around/I can’t fight it much longer/Something’s tryin’ to get out/And it’s never been closer.” – ‘Let it Happen’ by Tame Impala
s soon as news broke that Velo Sound Station was making a comeback after a two-year hiatus with Rohail Hyatt in the chair of the executive producer, a certain level of excitement was automatic.
Just as important was the news that Bilal Maqsood was not going to co-direct the music series with Yasir Jawal. Instead, Coke Studio veterans Kamal Khan and Zeeshan Parwez would co-direct the new season with some familiar artists and some new additions.
Let us now fast forward to the second song from Velo Sound Station 2, a remarkable effort from Natasha Noorani called ‘Chamkeela’.
If ‘Baby Baby’ from the debut season of Velo Sound Station felt like Natasha Noorani was dipping her toe in what was a very mainstream series with its own parameters, it is ‘Chaamkela’ which serves as a self-evident truth: Natasha Noorani can and has walked the line between mainstream ideas and counterculture ecosystem with an unwavering spirit.
She can sing what you expect of her but also the exact opposite. That is the hallmark of a great artist.
Let us first discuss the audio section because the new season has jumped ahead in time and is giving us a mixture of stage performance and music video vibes.
What genre ‘Chamkeela’ belongs to ultimately depends on the listener. To pigeonhole this song to one genre is difficult. The lyrical value clarifies that this is not a melancholia-tinged song but one that is playful in one line, and uncertain in another. It is not binary at all even as some lines showcase how Noorani wonders what fate wants from her. Her voice is among the most beautiful to have emerged from the counterculture scene and if anything, we’d love to hear more of her.
If ‘Baby Baby’ was good pop, ‘Chamkeela’ is even stronger as a song because the production value of the song is electro pop with desi jhol. The mix of light and dark questions shine as Noorani sings. If you’re looking for a reference, she is as colorful a singer as the great Naheed Akhtar, though Noorani isn’t imitating. It is a reference that comes to mind if you also obsess over some of the women singers from the past.
Natasha Noorani has continued to step out of her comfort zone for some time and this song is a great example.
“I wanna be young the rest of my life/Never say no, try anything twice/’Till the angels come, and ask me to fly/I’m gonna be 18 ‘til I die, 18 ‘til I die.” – ‘18 ‘til I Die’ by Bryan Adams
The song’s visuals do depict Natasha Noorani in performance mode, but the backdrop is not exactly a stage. The video is futuristic, flirtatious and also a bit of fun.
The graphical shades differ from last season’s and as they envelope the video, you realize these offer the visual narrative that a song like this needs.
The dance element in this season is amplified compared to the debut season and has added an extra edge to a show that is about pop culture. In other words, dance also belongs to culture and isn’t something necessarily to frown upon.
A show like this caters to the young and the restless and an older audience. In making two appearances on Velo Sound Station with ‘Baby Baby’ and the new and golden ‘Chamkeela’, Natasha has shown how an artist can deliver more than one good song on a commercial platform like Velo Sound Station 2.