I cant believe how such an amazing album has gone by unnoticed on IGT. Not even a single mention of this great album, Social Circus, by Junoon's vocalist Ali Azmat. Frankly, I didnt like Junoon that much, and still dont, and I didnt expect much from this album. But after reading a few reviews that praised this album greatly, I just had to listen to it. And I have to say I wasnt disappointed. This album sounds way more different than Junoon. Its an immense and musically/lyrically intense album, obviously intended for more mature listeners. This music showcases the pinnacle of pakistani music, which has no bounds, as proved by this album. One thing you have to keep in mind while listening to this album is that you will not like it on first listen. Its the kind of album that grows on you, the more you listen to it - trust me on this. The music is mindblowing, and the intro riff of Mungagan is one of the best ever. The best tracks on the album are Mein and Deewana. And not a single thread for the tabs/chords for this album; everyone on IGT is too busy focusing on other crap. Anyways, heres part of a review of this album:
SOCIAL CIRCUS by ALI AZMAT
02. Mein Challa
04. Na re na
05. Dil ki sira
07. Dil ne dil se kaha
08. Yar mere yar
10. Dil ka jehan
11. Teri perchaian (featuring Ali Noor)
All music by ALI AZMAT & ZIYYAD GULZAR
All Vocals, backing vocals, acoustic & electric guitars & synthesizer by ALI AZMAT
All Guitars, keyboards drum programming & bass by ZIYYAD GULZAR
Lyrics by Ali Azmat, Except mungagan, deewana, dil ki sira, dil ka jehan by Sabir Zafar & Mein Chala, Mein with M.Nasir
Certainly, Ali's new album, "Social Circus" is not trespassing into Junoon territory. The sound is uncompromisingly new, the production radically dissimilar and the spirit looks like it belongs to a different body altogether. The first solo album from Junoon's devil-may-care lead vocalist is steeped in what he calls "bittersweet" self-dialogue. The mood is reflective; the tone is dark. This is not a young album; it is laden with experience and layered with disillusionment. Has Ali Azmat, renowned Lothario, original wild-child and Pakistani pop's proverbial enfant terrible finally come of age?
"Social Circus" is original, depressing, challenging. Some may attack it as too much of a good thing or just too much to handle in one listen, but Ali is convinced that the "switching channels" approach is productively edgy. It is above all a courageous album, venturing into areas most pop songs rarely explore. But can an audience fed on pop-corn bear the emotional burdens of "Social Circus"? Has the Pakistani listener, like Ali Azmat, finally gone beyond the momentary lapses of teenage heartache? Or has Ali Azmat left them far behind in his quest for musical ingenuity? The future of Pakistani rock-pop, even at the best of times is unpredictable but if any album is worth a serious listen it is this one. It has the potential to rattle preconceived notions and make you shift uncomfortably in your seat. I for one find that wildly exciting.
So here I am sitting in Ali Azmat's fab pad listening to the orchestral manoeuvres of "Deewana," the first single from the album. And apparently Jami is in the editing studio giving the video its final shape. Ali's slip-sliding vocals and the glamorous, sonorous arrangement seem to fit like yin and yang. It is a heady, intermittently raucous but strangely undulating mix. In other numbers, such as the eerie "Teri Parchaiyan" (produced by the reclusive Rohail Hyatt). Ali's vocals plunge suddenly into undiscovered octaves and mess with your mind as he snarls his way through rejection and ruination. "Na Ray Na" asks questions you may not want to answer, but it is both soulful and stirring - for now it is the song I want to listen to repeatedly despite the fact that it drags me down each time I do. "Dil Ki Sera" takes an unexpected jazzy twist with a saxophone refrain that is tempting, seductive. The album in total explodes with overwhelming inner energies. None of this is clear on a first listen; "Social Circus" will grow on you; it reveals new facets even when you feel you've finally figured it out.
Part of an Interview :
Q. "Social Circus" is a very dark, angst ridden album - where is it coming from?
A. "Social Circus" is an album of bittersweet symphonies. It is full of double meanings and contradictions. It comes from a time in my life when I was giving up and living in denial. It was a tumultuous, changing time in my life. There was a lot happening in my relationship with my band members, my friends, my girl friend. I thought that everything around me was changing and that I couldn't keep up but it was I who was evolving. It was a big maturity shift; I realized my needs had changed but they were no longer being met. All the emotions of the 32 years that I have lived came to the fore in one go. And these upheavals put everything in perspective. I had hundreds of questions to ask of life – and "Social Circus" has all these questions and some answers; it's a dialogue with myself.
Q. Do you think that people will be able to absorb such an intensely personal dialogue?
A. "Social Circus" has emerged out of a deep, hidden place inside me that people don't know about. I've used music and words to elaborate on it and understand it for myself. I've just shared the upper crust of what there is. People don't need to understand me to understand the music. It will touch different people in different ways and maybe become part of their own dialogue with themselves.