I strictly remember the moment we stepped into the millennium; trashy music videos featuring anything in the name of ‘sex sells’ surfaced like a hurricane.
There was no stopping it as I saw them butchering each and every song my grandfather would hum at home. I was confused about why this was happening. Neither the remixed version was a party to my ears nor the video was a treat to my eyes. We had started with lifting tunes from the west to openly using the old songs and calling it a tribute (Tamma Tamma, anyone?).
Honestly, no form of homage requires you to murder something magical. That’s exactly the opposite of it.
The makers of the forthcoming film Raabta have decided to re-launch the song, ‘Raabta‘ from Agent Vinod, starring Deepika Padukone. The rebirth of the song makes no sense, it’s is not even old, to begin with. Deepika Padukone looks absolutely gorgeous in a black ensemble but that’s about it. It doesn’t add anything to the song, rather rattling my memory after co-relating both the videos is just exhausting.
The point is not which song is better, but why are we adhering to this practice again and again? Have we lost faith in our musical talent? Can’t we thrive on a melody which is original and not lifted from the past or the west?
Clinton Cerejo, music producer is on the same page and feels very strongly about what has been going on: “ I personally have no problem at all with remixes or covers of popular songs as long as they’re done creatively. Jonathan Butler’s cover of Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman No Cry’ or Eva Cassidy’s cover of Sting’s ‘Fields of Gold’ are some of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve heard and they are perfect examples of how a great artist can take a great song and make it even greater.”
“It’s just that in our country mediocrity wins over excellence and the way most remixes or covers are done, sadly fall prey to the same attitude,” he furthers.
The man of the moment, Manoj Muntashir, who has written the Hindi dialogues of Bahubali 2 a well-known lyricist. He feels, “Music labels have loads of money at stake, with every new song releasing. We can’t blame them for trying out new tactics in order to churn out profits. Recreated songs are the new desperate measure aimed at attracting audience not only to the song but eventually to the theaters. So far it has returned good results, but only for the labels.”
“Artists, especially music directors and lyricists are reduced to low-level fabricators. The dignity of their profession has suffered a major blow. If you are not expected to compose a song, but only to redesign the sound of it, how can you differentiate a composer from a DJ? Re-creations are seasonal flavor which will die down as the wind changes the direction. Just wait for another album like Aashiqui 2 or Ek Villain, original songs will be back with a bang,” furthers Muntashir.
The song ‘Baarish‘ from Half Girlfriend has been crawling the chartbusters list and Ash King, its singer, maintains a neutral stance.
He feels, “ I think remixes also bring back nostalgia or a new kind of music to one’s ears. For instance, if I have never heard the song before it would drive me to listen to the original once. I don’t see any harm in it.”
Maybe this stands true when you look at the obnoxious numbers that are used to declare the song a stupendous hit.
Kavita Seth, is a sufiana singer whose sang ‘Iktara‘ from Wake Up Sid says, “ A classic has already made a place for itself in the hearts of each one who loves music. There are some memories that one relives when they hear a song. Music has that power. If you play with the soul of the song it is definitely going to trouble the listeners. Just by adding rap, the song doesn’t connect to the youth. The youth wants to hear the soulful music. I think people simply remix songs under the pretext of the youth demanding remixes.”
Multiple people have multiple opinions but looking strictly at the facts in the last couple of years, I have seen the industry move backward. A little bit of nostalgia never hurts anyone but one that makes you cringe is a problem.
This article was first published on Firstpost