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The second episode of Coke Studio, Season 9, has left us feeling very worried. It appears as if the producers of the show are not quite sure of what they’re doing. Or maybe are just too many cooks in this kitchen. But the fact that there are a number of composers this time is not the only point of concern; the question is whether they were the right candidates for the job.

‘Man Kunto Maula’ – Ali Azmat and Javed Bashir

The expectations from this were obviously high, considering no one can forget Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or Abida Perveen’s rendition of Man Kunto Maula. Therefore, we can understand that the song had a lot to compete with. However, this version of the manqabat qawwali left us feeling quite dissatisfied. The song isn’t memorable at all. The rock fusion isn’t working and Ali Azmat isn’t able to save the song either. The only part that sounds alright is where Javed Bashir steps in for the chorus.

‘Baliye (Loung Gabacha)’ – Haroon Shahid and Quratulain Baloch

This Noori production sounds very haphazard and all over the place. It was a good idea to bring Haroon Shahid and QB together, but it didn’t work out. It’s a modern twist on the popular punjabi folk song, and towards the end QB takes the reins from Haroon in an attempt to save the song, but one can’t sit through the whole ordeal to reach that part.

‘Afreen Afreen’ – Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Momina Mustehsan

This is the song that has left everyone wondering what Coke Studio is up to this season. Of course, most people have enjoyed this version of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s Afreen Afreen, and why wouldn’t they: the song is a classic, composed by the brilliant Nusrat himself. But what did Faakhir even do with this song? It sounds like an acoustic version of the original. Anybody could have done this. We expect Coke Studio, with all of it’s budgets and experience, to produce something better than something a college student with a guitar in his hand could have done. Also, people are buzzing about Momina Mustehsan and while we’re happy that more (female) musicians are entering the industry, we don’t understand the hype. Seriously, what?

‘Bholay Bhalay’ – Meesha Shafi

The only saviour in this entire episode has been Meesha Shafi’s ‘Bholay Bhalay’. Meesha always ups the game with her fashion statements, choosing to go with an unprecedented glittery eye that makes her look like a really stylish android. But we love how she sang this song and the way she commands attention with such ease. The song sounds and looks really good! What’s even more incredible is the fact that this song is an original, written by Sabir Zafar and composed by Shani Arshad.



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