Sunday, September 16, 2012

What is wrong with Priyanka Chopra's "In My City"?

On or abouts September 13, Priyanka Chopra released the much buzzed about single from an upcoming album. The song is called "In My City" and it was played (briefly in the US - much longer in India) during the NFL Thursday night kickoff game between the Bears and the Pack. Priyanka looked great, her moves were tight, the exposure was tremendous.

So what about the song? A lot of folks seem to love it. Bollywood celebs are out in force congratulating Priyanka. Although they all also feted Tusshar Kapoor for Kya Super Kool Hai Hum so that might not be worth much. Singing over pumping dance beats, Priyanka invites listeners to venture out of their homes and discover her (unnamed) city. She offers friendship and non-stop partying. At one point she says "C-C-Come  on" by way of an ill-constructed hook. I'll give you a short review: this song left me cold!

So what exactly is wrong with it? I'll let Shahrukh Khan explain. In a recent interview (which was acknowledged by a thank you tweet by Priyanka), SRK says:


"Priyanka has the capacity and talent to become the first crossover star from India, our first creative export. She has a super team backing her and she is truly an international brand and will make India very proud"

In other words, Priyanka has "capacity" to be an "export". She has a "super team backing her" and she is a "brand". Holy Schnikes! Whatever happened to music born of talent and passion, to singing with your gut and pouring your heart into your song? Instead, we get a carefully calibrated, relentlessly boring, by the numbers dance song that is targeted to appeal to the US and Europe's huge and India's burgeoning club market.

I am a bit of a Priyanka fan, probably because she refuses to play by the rules when picking her roles in movies. So what happened here? Priyanka's smoldering voice has been auto-tuned to sound tinny, almost teeny girlfriend-like. Someone on YouTube made the observation that she sounds like Justin Beiber. No, really, she kind of does! Elsewhere someone pointed out that Priyanka had developed a fake Amreeki accent. Now, that's a bit unfair. Almost everyone feels compelled to do this - Coldplay does it, heck even Adelle pours it on. (Let's see how long Elle Goulding lasts with her Queen's English before she starts twanging her vowels)

This song also features will.i.am, who shows up to chortle through an anemic rap bit. Another example of throwing an international brand into the song to up its chances of success.

Now a lot of people will give Priyanka love for this because they all want to be sending, you know, positive energy, and stuff to their beloved star. Back when I was young, this behavior used to be called chamchagiri. Since I love Priyanka I'll forego chamchagiri and opt for honesty: PC, I'd like you to open up India's non-filmi music market with your album. For this to happen you need to blaze a trial of your own - like you do with movies when you take risks and pick meaty roles in challenging films over teeny ones in easy hits. On the remaining songs still uncoiled on your album, please focus on being an artist instead of a brand.

You can listen to the song here...


5 comments:

Sashank said...

Its not bad, its not great either. Musically its a good effort no more.

Ritu said...

I get your point about the song not having an identity. But I really liked it. Its catchy and its 4m of fun.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, hated the song. PC can do better.

Nimish Hindwan said...

Glad to see this presumed dead blog kicking ass again :) Absolutely love your 'Mann ka Radio' and 'Kurbaan hua' analysis. In fact it was my urge to revisit them that brought me back here after more than a year! 18 months undeclared hiatus! not cool mate :)

Aspi Havewala said...

Thanks for reading man, and I'm sorry I'll try to do better.