As you would imagine looking at the title and might have seen in the promos, I’m Just Pakaoed is the hero’s musical rant about his frustration in life, something that lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya conveys in an imaginatively wacky manner in just over 2.5 minutes. And Shankar Ehsaan Loy resort to a rock sound for the arrangement, heavy on guitars. The star of the song though is Siddharth Mahadevan, sounding way more mature than he did in his past songs and absolutely nailing the rendition, growling effects and everything! Kaboom also has the vocalist in top form, Anushka Manchanda rendering the attitude-loaded lines with practiced elan. The song however isn’t quite top drawer. The heavy percussion-laden arrangement of Khushfehmiyan kind of contrasts with the melodic piece that the song is, and it is the contrast that makes the song work. Well that and the singing – more of the backing vocalists than of Shankar Mahadevan actually, particularly love the point where they kick in around the Khushfehmiyan bit. And stripped off all these embellishments, the Unplugged version doesn’t have the same impact.
SEL’s arrangement rules the pensive Baat Kya Hai and makes up for the weak tune, even as Clinton Cerejo sings his heart out. Watch out for that mildly classical-flavored (abheri raga?) synth solo towards the end. The retro jazz flavour is captured beautifully in Sheher Mera – the double bass, the horns and some lovely whistling. Complementing all this is the spotless singing by Thomson Andrews (the man seems to specialise in this type of songs, the last I remember hearing him is in Rumaani from Akaashvaani). And like with many soundtracks in recent times, the top song in One By Two also goes to Arijit Singh. Khuda Na Kasta has Arijit treading on Shankar Mahadevan’s territory and pulling it off superbly (though Shankar does pitch in with one of his trademark alaaps in between)! And the song just cements SEL’s reliability when it comes to classical-based songs – the trio employing the brooding keeravani raga (as confirmed by @msundr, @techrsr & @krishashok. Ashok adds that there is also some natabhairavi in the second half) here to a rock setting, and throwing in some Arabic elements here and there – the result is a thoroughly addictive piece!
So after a brilliant run in 2013, Shankar Ehsaan Loy get off to an equally killer start in 2014 with One By Two. Such a pity the soundtrack got a raw deal on the marketing front.
Music Aloud Rating: 8/10
Top Recos: Khuda Na Kasta, I’m Just Pakaoed, Sheher Mera