The revered indie band and the one-woman indie-rock project come together to create a lasting single that many will relate to because of its truth that hits right at home.
2020 has barely started and music is dropping faster than we can catch it. Just when we thought Janoobi Khargosh’s Survivors was the last surprise springing from the indie universe, Poor Rich Boy (and the toothless winos) ft. Zain Ahsan as composer and producer and Umer ‘Duck’ Khan as singer-songwriter and lyricist, have finally released their single with Wooly and the Uke, a one-woman indie-rock act, led by the incredibly talented Jannat Sohail Aziz.
Having appeared on True Brew TV as well as having released the single, ‘Circus’ in the past, Wooly and the Uke is back with ‘Watch’ ft. Poor Rich Boy, accompanied by a music video.
The song is written and composed by Wooly and the Uke and Umer [Duck] Khan and sung by both of them as well. Once again, the independent community rises as Zain Ahsan has arranged and composed the track and is also featured on guitars and synths with bass by Sameer Ahmed, drums by Umer Ahmed and Daud Ramay, and mastering by Waleed Ahmed (Janoobi Khargosh).
Released on the first of this month, the music video, directed by Jannat herself sees Wooly lying in the grass; Zain Ahsan sitting in a room, smoking a cigarette, Umer walking towards the camera in a street, but the whole picture has an almost dilapidated look, which complements the sentiments behind the song. She’s just moving in the grass, singing in that ethereal voice with music that is more Sufijan Stevens or Tegan and Sara than a Tame Impala. “Here come/The lowest lows/Bang, bang/Baby got shot to the sky again/And again” and we hit the 1 minutes 7 seconds and the mellow guitars shift and there is a giant moon at which Wooly and the Uke is looking at; we lose the Tegan and Sara effect and enter a new universe of music where you can hear the bass even as it stays in the back, letting the words do all the talking. We move between the garden where Wooly is… to the studio where Zain Ahsan is playing the guitar; the video has many moods and the song is nothing like a PRB song. It’s a showcase of what female artists in Pakistan can achieve and it isn’t hard to decipher. The melancholia is hard to not notice while the oscillation within the music match the lyrics that hit you the hardest and everything else has been created as if to highlight them before things take on the sound that is a mixture of retro-present genius. It is here that Umer Khan appears singing his parts, at the very end… “Words betray us in the end there/Like traitors whisper in our midst/A letter sent, but meant for no one/The only message you’ll need.“
As for the larger meaning behind the song, notes Wooly and the Uke with reference to Zain Ahsan: “The first song I am about to send is a song about a character struggling with isolation regarding their bipolar disorder. It’s called ‘Watch’. It is quite theatrical in its nature - it has constant internal monologues, as well as condescending thoughts that lead towards a seizure, if you must put it like that.”
As for the usage of the phrase ‘Bang Bang’, Wooly explains, “The song has a phrase in it, in the chorus as well, that says ‘Bang, bang! My baby got shot to the sky again - and again.’ I’m aware the first reference is from Nancy Sinatra’s famous song, where it signifies a romantically inclined heartbreak. In this song, however, it’s used as a satirical comment regarding the demeaning expression of frustration, of having to deal with someone who is sad, melancholic, needy and helpless. To the sky, meaning another one of his seizures, rocketing him away once again. It’s really funny to explain a song, because it sometimes only makes sense in your head and should be metaphorical in that way for the audience, but I just think it’s important here to let you know what my head was dealing with when writing this - it comes from quite a personal experience.”
Wooly added: “If I were to draw the song, it would be a melancholic line that starts low and rushes to a peak and drops down to an absolute - 100 point and struggles back and forth - a little like how a panic attack approaches. The internal monologue that repeats voices, that puts you down to the point that you feel disconnected and freak out, to the point that you feel the senses being lost from within you, to the point you’re shot to the sky again.”
There is very little one can say after Wooly’s eloquent reflection of the song but if you’re looking to start the year with an artist you might know nothing about but definitely should, it is Wooly and the Uke. Start with her collaboration with Poor Rich Boy ft. indie giants and a woman who has deciphered an illness in the most poetic terms. This is absolutely beautiful even as it carries melancholia, ups-downs and the appearance of Duck on vocals, which is always a pleasure as a listener.
– Poor Rich Boy pictures by Umer Frehman