‘Groove Mera’, the official anthem for Pakistan Super League 6 featuring Naseebo Lal, Young Stunners and Aima Baig, had its detractors but the song also found support in fans and in the entertainment community
Pakistan Super League, a Twenty20 cricket tournament, is an amalgamation of several things. Chief among them is a mixture of international and domestic players working together as a team, the interest of the entertainment community that roots for various teams with some as brand ambassadors, and of course, music.
‘Groove Mera’, the official anthem for Pakistan Super League 6 featuring Naseebo Lal, Young Stunners and Aima Baig, had its detractors but the song also found support in fans and in the entertainment community. While the anthem works as an announcement for a new season, each team usually has its own songs possibly to boost the morale of the various teams and appeal to a larger fan-base. This year looks a bit different.
On the official Pakistan Super League channel on YouTube, apart from the presence of the 2021 anthem ‘Groove Mera’, there seems to be a collection of PSL Taranay (released this season).
Among them is ‘Googly’ by Maanu x Rozeo. Along with a colourful animated music video is a rap song that’s as dynamic as it gets and backed by colorful albeit controlled music, it’s brilliant. While keeping the idea in mind that these are songs meant for a large audience, ‘Googly’ is unlike previous releases by PSL and shows just how sharp Pakistan’s burgeoning rap scene really is. It is a representation of Pakistan’s music beyond the naughties. Most of all, the lyrical portion of the song is about the game of cricket and not necessarily about one particular team. A game among gentlemen… There is zing to this song, the kind that makes it much more provocative and memorable than just another seasonal anthem.
This song is followed by ‘Laibo’ by Lyari Underground, who are among the premier acts from Karachi. ‘Laibo’ is like a lo-fi electronic where the boys of Lyari Underground sing about the spirit of cricket including the rivalry it creates on the ground. Yet another animated music video without the band, it still works as calligraphy in Urdu, a set of speakers and graphics. Lyari Underground sing on the beat like pros. It’s both energetic and contained. The switch from Urdu to a regional language is meant to represent the overall diverse population in the country as well as the teams that go beyond Urdu-speaking or English.
Another surprise comes in the form of Janoobi Khargosh, who follow-up Lyari underground’s ‘Laibo’ with ‘Bazi Paltay Gi Yahaan’ without losing their sound and their originality. The song, backed by a graphics/animated music video is another look into the development of Pakistani music beyond the same names. With several albums to their name, this is a song that you expect from Janoobi Khargosh and paradoxically enough you also don’t. The song also features Umer Khan of Poor Rich Boy as far as vocals go and it’s just a daring move, one that should also prove that when it comes to lyrical matter, it’s a song dedicated to cricket while reflecting the musical value of Janoobi Khargosh.
Pakistan Super League has gone out of its way to use musicians who are ordinarily called “too indie” or “too obscure” but this is a playlist that states otherwise.
We’re greeted by the electronic wizard Talal Qureshi with ‘6ixer’ and the PSL Taranay ends with Khumariyaan who belt out a song called ‘Maidaan’. Both acts experiment here even as they retain their individual music identities.
What usually happens with PSL songs is that creations from the first season are not memorable enough so the next season takes attention. This year, from the start, the ideas have been different, be it ‘Groove Mera’ or this electrifying list that represents music being made by artists in the here and now.
The story of PSL Taranay ends with Janoobi Khargosh but post ‘Groove Mera’, another major release is Abdullah’s Siddiqui’s ‘Kingdom’ featuring Altamash that is backed by a star-studded video. Unlike songs from his records that oscillate between light and dark electronically, ‘Kingdom’ is not an anthem but it does border on its side.
In the music video, Abdullah Siddiqui stars alongside Altamash Sever from Takatak. At the top of his game he provides the right kind of music for something that is both elaborate and meant to be ubiquitous. He also stars in the music video along with Altamash as do several cricketers such as Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz. Hania Amir, Mahira Khan and Esra Bilgic make brief but powerful appearances (which you must see) in the music video, lending it a stronger star power and a feminine one at that, which has not gone unnoticed. This kind of momentum gives the video a much more electrifying feel. The only thing unclear is if ‘Kingdom’ is produced by Pakistan Super League or Peshawar Zalmi or if it is a corporate effort. Either way, the song’s pretty good and we like.
Musically speaking, this is like a brand new year for Pakistan Super League music that has, in its sixth season, finally gotten it just right. Here’s hoping these songs are embraced rather than trolled.
– This is a developing story