If I close my eyes to listening to Sajid & Zeeshan’s latest offering, Nothing Compares, I can literally imagine exactly how they would perform this electro-acoustic pop song live. It has been many years since nobody attended a Sajid & Zeeshan concert, probably over a decade, but their performance would draw you in as much visually as through their music.

Sajid oscillated between vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, and harmonica, while Zeeshan skillfully worked the electrical components on his laptop, played the keyboard, and provided the backing vocals for the song. The speed and fluidity with which they moved between the instruments and the vocals and how perfectly they were in tune with their performance was fascinating to say the least.

Newly produced, but with such a strong Sajid & Zeeshan signature – fusing electronic and acoustic components together so that the song can be performed exactly as you want it to be – Nothing Compares brings a heavy dose of nostalgia. For those who know the band’s previous music, of course.

Lyrics, composition, lead vocals and guitars are by Sajid Ghafoor and keyboard, electronics, backing vocals and production are by Zeeshan Parwez. Nothing Compares begins with a guitar riff that is repeated throughout the song. Electronic drums creep into the song as Sajid begins to sing the opening lyrics:

Sajid & Zeeshan’s latest addition, Nothing Compares, is still the iconic sound of the band from ten years ago.

“An expelled / You feel / But still breathe / The heart is beating hard / A wave of peace / Does your interior seek / Needs healing / Keep breathing”

Sajid Ghafoor climbs even higher after singing the pre-chorus and switches to the main chorus of the song:

“Things only change when you do / It’ll always be the same / If you’re not true to / Who you are / That shining inner star / Who you are / Nothing compares”

The chorus also includes backing vocals, which makes the ensemble of vocals richer and larger than life. How Zeeshan Parwez is able to follow and go this high is a conversation for later.

It is important to find hope in times of desperation and the only person who will save you is yourself. This is the message we get in the lyrics that appear in the second half of the song:

“You only wanna wake up / When there is light / But this darkness won’t break / Unless you light this fire / It takes a little shaking / To feel this deadly life”

This is followed by a sleek electric guitar solo, where Sajid shows off his skills honed over decades of practice, his fingers skillfully flying up the neck to produce those crisp, clear notes.

I would like Zeeshan Parwez to produce more music. His collaboration with Sajid shows how it is entirely possible to create electro-acoustic pop sound without relying too much on creating the entire sound in computer software. It also has a lot to do with Sajid’s amazing skills with musical instruments as well as his compositions.

Although Nothing Compares is almost perfect on its own, it is a very typical sound for the band. It would be interesting to see if a collaboration with other artists working in the same genre would help them out of their own little “signature” sound.

Posted in Dawn, ICON, July 11, 2021

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