Khazana - Najam (1996)

With Najam's debut effort "Khazana", you have a very decent album indeed. It has probably been in the making for quite a while now since his "Un Say Nain" single back in 1994 and needless to say, we have all been waiting for his album to be released. The album opens up with a track called "Ladki", a type of song you will definitely be hearing in a forthcoming Mehndi at weddings (if you already haven't!). The track is on the same lines as, say, "Sanwali" or "Gori" from Vital Signs and it's catchy like "Billo De Ghar" (although not quite as naughty!). The next track is the song which obviously inspired him to make the album - "Un Say Nain", a laid back song, good guitars, with a brave statement about being deceived in love, and dares you to make eye contact!

The title track, "Khazana" is more "poppy", with a catchy chorus, and, something made me look-up the credits on the sleeve .... and alas I was correct! The unmistakable sound of Aamir Zaki's guitar features very prominently in this track, which makes one realise how versatile Aamir is getting on the music scene (a genius). As with the next track "Aa Jaana" - currently enjoying chart success - is one of the outstanding songs on the album., and is well produced by Nizar Lalani. The next track is a very sweet one called "Pyar Ki Pyaas", a future single I think, since it is a typical pop tune and has everything to make it a hit single. The song is basically about how one's desires are not met, and it makes you realise just how valuable love really is.

OK, there was a sense of deja vu with the track "Sona Chahta Hoon". I have heard this song before on an album by a forgotten group called Chords. It's a very rocky song with qawwali-style vocals on it, and there are two people singing on this one besides Najam (unless there's something wrong with my ears).

Side B opens up with a haunting song - "Meri Tanhaiyon", which has some good lyrics. The song is immediately followed by a more upbeat song, another one which could easily be released in the charts (are you taking note Najam?). The song is called "Jaien to Jaien Kahan". Here Najam sounds very mellow; almost as mellow as Mr. Mellow himself, Ali Haider! One of the best songs.

Other tracks include "Dil Ki Baat", "Yeh Baat Kisay Maloom Nahee" - a song about the state of the world today, " Mein Hoon Apni Dhun Mein" - a very odd song, a kind of 60's rock'n roll, and finally, an album just would NOT be complete with that all important "patriotic song" about Pakistan, so the final track is "Dekhay Hum Ko Sara Jahan" which is just that. There are 13 tracks on this album, and all in all it has something for everyone, which is always a good idea for a debut album. If you liked the singles "Un Say Nain" and "Aa Jana" you will absolutely love this album. A real treasure!

Ejaz Butt