Songs that make your heart sing

March 26, 2023

Songs that make your heart sing


he thing with being sad is, the more you try to fight it, sometimes the worse you feel. Sometimes it is okay to feel what you feel and really lean into it. That’s where you listen to ‘Hurt’ (NIN or Johnny Cash), and allow yourself to wallow. The only way past it is through it, after all.

Musicians over time have perfectly captured heartache and sadness in their songs, and those might be some of your favorite tracks regardless of mood. Ben Harper, Nick Drake, Radiohead, Chris Cornell/ Soundgarden all are a literal masterclass on moody music. You’ll also find plenty in the Eastern genres. Ghazal and nazm in Urdu/Hindi, unless they’re the Mirs (Taqi Mir and Dard; there is an admitted bias here) are some of the most melancholy lyrics you will ever here. Even someone apparently jocular like Ibn-e-Insha has given into his realization of mortality with ‘Insha Ji Utho’, which you might be tempted to think is his saddest work, but even the cheerful ‘Jaley Tu Jalao’ sung sweetly by Nayyara Noor is tinged with the romantic glumness that one assumes was part of Insha’s personality.

Then of course, Pakistan’s pop/rock scene has produced plenty of gorgeous music that sings to the young audience of its time. Be it the angry Junoon phase (‘Talaash’), the broody Rohail-Hyatt-led Vital Signs era circa 1991 (‘Hum Rahe Raahi’), EP singing angrily about anything and everything, Call screaming their heart out, Aaroh and Mizraab at their angstiest: we’ve always had music to commiserate with our bad mood, in our own language. It is completely worth it to pick a band and exhaust their entire discography for a real look into what the mood of the time was.

Songs that make your heart sing

All of that said, and these might not even be the best songs out of Pakistan, there are a couple that came to mind recently, that either sound too upbeat to be sad, or are visually on the absurdist side, so one may dismiss the emotion. Again, it might be worth your time to listen to these two tracks in succession and see what you feel.

‘Hum Na Rahey’

Aunty Disco Project
The video for ADP’s ‘Hum Na Rahey’ released towards the end of 2010, the year former bassist Imran Lodhi had passed away. Listening to the track after years means it hits differently, and that though the tune is light and funky, and Ali Alam’s vocals are airy as always, that there’s a longing in both the lyrics and video of perhaps how things could have been different. That may not have been the intent of the band at all, but anyone who has lost someone important they wish they had paid more attention to when it was needed will feel something while watching. The reaction at this end was copious tears.

‘Mera Dost Pareshan Hai’

Mehdi Maloof ft. Ali Hamdani, Varqa Faraid, Shamsher Rana

You know how when you realize you’re sad for a reason, and sometimes with no reason but just an uneasy heart (and we all know uneasy hearts weigh the most), and you can’t snap out of it, that is what ‘Mera Dost Pareshan Hai’ is about it. A very serene track, with a video that laughs at the misery, it is always reassuring to listen to the words, because a) it’s a universal reminder that there’s always someone in your life who holds you in high regard, and failing that, b) you know these things about yourself, so try to believe them.

Songs that make your heart sing