Jaisay Chaho Jiyo - Najam (2002)

We have very few mainstream singers who know how to carry a tune or how to turn an ordinary song into an incomparable listening experience. While most of the singers depend heavily on melodies, lyrics and gadgets, singers like Ali Azmat and Najam Sheraz excel at coming up with gems that captivate sense and sensibility.

Known for soul inducing music with much zest and energy, after nearly two years, Najam Sheraz is back on track with a much awaited, brand new album. "Jaisay Chaho Jiyo" is filled with Sheraz's trademark melodies, offering vast variation in thought, sound and vocals, making the album a treat for music buffs. There are upbeat tracks as well as soft soulful ballads - something for everyone.

A singer has succeeded at his art when he manages to breakthrough to a listener with his songs, transmitting emotions in its melodies. That's what Najam's album is about as he reaches out to his audience effortlessly. Najam once again brings forth a woman's perspective on love, loss and pain in the sensitive, "Aankhain," "Khamoshi" and "Veria." "Veria," a song of "Pal Do Pal" caliber, is the best song of the album. No one has yet managed to accomplish this level of excellence in this genre in the local music scene. Being able to encapsulate raw emotion on audio is something which remains synonymous with Najam and one that he expresses beautifully.

The title track is hip and happening, followed by "Aao Wahan Chalen;" a song that has such a cool beat and melodious rhythm with a fairytale atmosphere. From here on, Najam gives us a smooth ride of some of the most harmonious, sane and splendid music. Najam sings "Chori Chori" to elucidate the profundity of his love; "Aahista Aahista" establishes the gravity of his emotions and "Aankhain" reflects his passion. He ends Side A with "Khamoshi," a song of broken hearts.

The flexible sounds of "Sajni" and "Jhoomon Jhoomon" urge you to dance on side B. Najam's deviation into these groovy numbers show off his vast scope as an artist. However, with "Badban," you wonder where he's taking you but this is Najam's trip and anything is possible. When you reach "In Fizaon Sae Agae," one comes to the realization that this recording is no ordinary vehicle as Najam casts a spell on his fans. "Veria" is the album's swan song; a song that would be fitting if you were driving down the lost highway of love. "Veria" is heart-wrenchingly haunting in its execution of rich lyrical content and eerie flavour. The ease with which Najam manages to connect to listeners through his songs is what sets him apart from the rest - he represents an art very few can duplicate.

With four successful albums in the past, one expected an album of substance from Najam and he surely comes through with "Jaisay Chaho Jiyo." The fact that this singer has evolved and matured over time is reflective not only through his expression but also through the overall treatment of the songs - uncluttered, smooth and direct. With no hindrances, the dark shades come off as Najam looks directly at you from the back CD jacket - simple and on your level. This album will remain on your favourite list for a long time.