Coke studio is popular in Pakistan no matter what the quality is year by year. There have been some good numbers over the years and this year is no exception. Not only the already established singers have found new fame, coke studio has helped introducing new talent too. But what to you think about the latest season overall? Is Coke Studio season 14 a failure or a success or is it just an average show episode by episode?
This otherwise wonderful new Coke Studio season has exposed the lack of lyricists in our younger generation. We have musicians, we have tech, but we just don’t have the wordsmiths. Momina Mustehsan singing ‘mangta hai kya’ is so grating. Even most of the good songs have near nonsensical lyrics. In rap you can get away with it, but even when you code switch between languages you need to have an essential understanding of both.
I wrote something similar about it on Twitter a few weeks back. But of course I didn’t want to sound too critical. The composition of lyrics in trilingual (Punjabi, English and Urdu) expression is one that gets my attention. I don’t know if it’s creative manifestation of our colloquial expression or if it’s a consequence of not being able to develop literary eloquence in a single language (foreign/mother tongue/national). You decide. But it’s quite interesting how our language adaptations find their way to popular culture.
We have some lovely young lyricists! It’s the burgers who have no idea what they’re garbling about. That’s hard for me to assess due to the language barrier, but certainly sounds one of the most authentic lyrically. Same issue plagues Bollywood music as well since the retirement and semi retirement of Javed Akhtar and Gulzar. Contemporary Bollywood has a couple of really good lyricists beyond these big names e.g. Prasoon joshi, Irshad Kamil Amitabh Bhattachariya, Jaani, Manoj Muntashir, Mithoon etc.
First thoughts when I heard Mehram. And Asfar is one of the better songwriters we have. Still the words used really don’t hit you like they should. Also seriously lacks regional language representation. Almost 70% of the songs are in Punjabi. The rest mostly Urdu and just one in a regional language (Kana Yaari). The Punjabi songs barely use any Punjabi words. They sound like they are Punjabi by dialect while they’ve gone around using Urdu in those songs too.
We used to ignore lyrics etc in the past seasons because everything at least felt live. There is nothing special about this coke studio. Most of the stuff seems recorded and fixed in post production. Same can be said for our script writers nonetheless. We have money, we have some decent actors but no scripts.