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Hit & miss
A review of Googoosh's new album

 

Dario Margeli
September 19, 2005
iranian.com

Rating "Manifest"
Of the total of 10 points, 1 point is for the album jacket and packaging and additional incentives such as free DVD's etc. The remaining 9 points are divided into 7, which is the number of songs that usually a new Iranian CD (EP) has. Iranian CDs are usually priced lower than American ones because they have less than 8 tracks, usually. Therefore, here the first 7 songs can have a maximum of 1.28 points each. If the album has more than 7 tracks, and if they are really good, extra points will be given.

As a songwriter, I evaluated Googoosh's new album the following way:

1- Vocal melody: a) Verse b) Bridge c) Chorus

2- Lyrics

3- Instrument arrangements

4- Production/Engineering, choice of instrumentation

5- Vocals.

1) Ay Mardom Mordam (points 1.28 out of 1.28).

This song is a CLASSIC and absolutely perfect. The melody and chorus, the part that says: "Ay mardom, mordam..." is absolutely brilliant, memorable, original and fit Googoosh's voice like a glove. The use of a real drummer gives the song the added strength that its lyrics demand! The lyrics are very important and up to date, in line with the realities of Iranian women today.

2) Nejaatam bedeh (1.2 out of 1.28)

This ballad starts with a beautiful string (violins) arrangement. Given that expensive string sections are usually not usually employed in making Iranian music abroad these days, it is great to hear strings in this production.

A beautiful vocal melody starts. The lyrics are again great and very important. I personally feel very close to the feeling of "wanting to be saved" which the lyrics talk about.

However, what could have been another classic, given the strong verse parts, doesn't quite become one, because it needs a strong chorus sung in high notes. The song writer does realize that such a part is needed and attempts with the part that has the lyrics going: "Nabaayad bezaarim setaareh..." Unfortunately this part is not measure up to the brilliance of the verse.

Still the verse and the lyrics are so great that they makes this a memorable song anyway.

3) Esgh Yani Hame Chiz (1.28 out of 1.28)

More string section here! Absolute brilliant. lyrics, saying "You are not alone. Who do you think all these stars in the sky belong to?" and "Thinking of freedom is living". Music wise, this song succeeds completely, as the strong verse leads to a surprising and unexpectedly fun and refreshing bridge/chorus that starts with the lyrics "nagoo maa dotaa kamim..."

Brilliant. and a classic!

4) Sangar bi Sang (0.6 out of 1.28)

Googoosh is able to save this song because she is able to sing low notes very well. This song is musically OK. The only memorable line "kaash bar migashtam" is too short to make up for the rest of the song.

5) Khoobe khoob (0 out of 1.28)

This is an embarrassment! The lyrics are absolutely horrible: "bas keh midoonam khoobe khoobee, khaabi khaabi, man keh bidaaram, cheghatdr khoobeh". It turns out that a similar song belongs to Shahriar. The music is dull.

6) Ghazal Shishehee (1.2 out of 1.28)

So far the album has offered slow songs. This one is the first upbeat song -- something the album desperately needs. This song has a disco beat, with the brilliant idea of contrasting the upbeat drum programming with a loud electric guitar playing the main arrangements. The vocal melody for the verse is great because the listener instantly feels like singing along with Googoosh.

The lyrics are clever and create great, educated images. The vocal melody has a climax that starts with the part: "Baa to zolaal mishavam...". The only problem is that the song needs a middle section that is as brilliant as the rest. The songwriter again knows a part is missing and attempts with the section that goes: "Dar ghafass-e abri..." but it's just not as memorable as it should be.

But anyway, the melody of the first verse is so beautiful that makes this song well worth it. Also, it is pleasant that they have taken some risks with this song. Googoosh sounds wild -- like she should! Her voice comes alive. It definitely sounds like no other record.

7) Aftabi (0.7 out of 1.28)

This one is also upbeat. It has a very marked "Mehrdad" quality to its melody. It runs smoothly and the lyrics "Aftaab hanooz ziaad miaad" is nice and tries to make the listener feel good. It has a short but sweet chorus with nice lyrics. It's a cool light song. In other words, it's pleasant but two years from now you are not going to be singing it. You may still be repeating: "Ay mardom mordam"!

8) Shenaasnaameye Man (0.7 Bonus points)

This duet with Mehrdad starts with a rather dull arrangement. It is upbeat. "Vatan chieh, vatan kieh, laalaayee bacheghiyeh". Good lyrics. Unfortunately the music sounds a bit too generic Mehrdad. It doesn't suit Googoosh's voice either. Sounds better on Mehrdad. No chorus. This song seems to be what was supposed to be called "Khalij-e Fars". Still, great lyrics and the music is not too bad.

Packaging and jacket (0 out of 1 point)
The design and picture chosen for the front jacket are absolutely horrible. I don't know why Googoosh's jackets are always so lame. The same thing happened with her last two albums, "Zartosht" and "Akharin Khabar". The most boring picture has been chosen, then her name is repeated, which is annoying given that the album is a "Manifest" and trying to make a statement. Googoosh's name only appears in English text. An Iranian design should have been added. The white background is awful and doesn't match her clothes.

Also other big name artists in the Iranian market are starting to release their CDs with accompanying DVD of music videos, as an incentive for people to buy legal copies as opposed to downloading illegally from the net. It's a bit disappointing that they didn't do this with Googoosh. The rest of the CD package is not great either, with pictures from a single session taken indoors.

TOTAL POINTS: 7 OUT OF 10

Manifest is available at EworldRecords.com

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