by: Lucky Ali

Although pop music exploded on the Indian music scene in the mid-'90s, it would be wrong to suggest that this time period signified a greater acceptance from the overall audience, even if the need for a contemporary sound was ubiquitous. Liberalization of the economy and the advent of MTV only made this need more perceptible, and thus the '90s saw the biggest-ever advances by non-film musicians, who sounded fresh and appealed to Indian youth. Though that time is widely disparaged as a lost first half-decade in Hindi film music, indie pop made the biggest headlines in terms of quality as it fed the era's pop-hungry youth. Lucky Ali, along with K.K. and Mohit Chauhan (of Silk Route fame), received the most respect at the time, and defined pop music for the whole generation. Sunoh, his debut album, was a treat in itself for many, for though it had a fresh sound, the music settled very well, as if deserving long-term consideration. The image of striking young man (Lucky Ali was 38 then) in rugged jeans singing in a husky voice with a guitar in hand was the game-changing thrust toward the modern era in Indian music. Moreover, the unconventionally coarse voice of Lucky Ali redefined all rules in Indian music. Traditionally, the vocal quality of a song was given the highest significance in Indian music, and any departure from this unwritten rule was belittled. Yet here was a man with a low-scale, effortless, and thick-textured voice crooning his way to stardom. "O Sanam" is the biggest hit of this album, and definitely the greatest of Lucky Ali's prolific career. ~ Bhasker Gupta

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