“Manifest”, the much anticipated Googoosh album was released as promised on the auspicious occasion of opening night of her world tour on September 17th, 2005 and it did not disappoint her fans at all. In fact its music and arrangements went far beyond the expectations of Googoosh fans. Mehrdad really did a wonderful job in this album and Shahyar Ghanbari was also at his best in almost all the songs but in my opinion what makes these songs so spectacular is Googoosh's brilliant performance and her presence in each and every moment of the album.
As usual she carries her tell-tale and ever-present emotions along with a kind of sensuality in her voice, the same characteristics that distinguishes her from any ordinary singer and turns her into the greatest diva of all times.
The album begins with the austere overture of the first song, AY MARDOM MORDAM. Less than 20 seconds of music with a tragic theme as if coming from medieval dungeons, telling you that some serious talking is under way. The songs begins and Googoosh talks about the ordeal of Iranian women, under the tyranny of men and society during the course of the past millennium.
You could feel the real pain and bitter taste of betrayal in her voice as if coming from her heart. In a sense Googoosh sings about her own life story in this song and the pain is real in her singing. She makes a masterful presentation of her emotions when she utters the word like HEGH HEGH, KOOH YAKH, or when she calls out for help AY MARDOM…..
The clever lyricist has even gives the clue as Googoosh's life story when in once verse he indicates the name GHORBANI which happens to be the name of Googoosh's abusive husband. The superb arrangement and the wonderful performance of the string section and cautious choice of percussion contributes to the overall excellence of the song. The clever use of Kamanche and Ney is another good point, adding to its attractiveness, conveying the sense of persecution and heartbreak.
The second song NEJATAM BEDE is even better and more interesting . The only word that comes to my mind is SPLENDID. In fact the glamour in the harmony and orchestration is so much in unison with the lyrics and Googoosh's voice that when it is finished the listener gets a little bit exasperated, wanting for more and more. I have asked opinions of about a dozen of my relatives about this song and the only deficiency the could find with it was the fact that it ends so soon. This song could be another couple of minutes longer and still retain its integrity and beauty.
But the third song, ESHGH YANI HAME CHIZ, is by far the very best song in this collection. There is so much novelty both in lyrics and music, and Googoosh raises her voice to new heights never been heard before. The delicate words of everlasting love along with the masterful arrangement of a large orchestra accompanies Googoosh's voice.
Shahyar Ghanbari has proven to be the most challenging lyricist in Persian community and in this song he offers words and phrases to the audience and asks them to strive for the meaning. For exampe parts like HATTA TABAT GHAD BAM TO MISHE refering to Tibet as the roof of the world (BAAM E JAHAN). The crescendo of Googoosh's voice at the end of this song is particularly spectacular. The listener would return to this track again and again.
The fourth song is made based on one of the Shahyar's old poems. I like everything about it. There is so much unexplored concepts in this multilayered songs and it lets anyone from different walks of life to find meaningful ideas in it, even though it is not an easy song at all. The use of flute makes it more beautiful.
The fifth song however is a failure. Although the arrangement is not bad, but the lyrics and the melody has nothing new to say. Had this song been recorded by any other singer, it would have been acceptable but for Googoosh it is a big NO. The part CHEGHAD KHOOBE is repeated more than 20 times throughout the song and certainly gets on your nevers. Googoosh's performance is fine but the song is so boring and sluggish. I wonder why she chose to perform not-so-good lyrics, formerly recorded by another artist.
The sixth and seventh songs are phenomenal, new areas of music for Googoosh and Persian market altogether. I had never heard electric guitar with a separate identity and character in an Iranian song before GHAZAL SHISHEYEE. Two more masterful melodies and arrangements that accompanies the lyrics and Googoosh's voice. Music is so much alive and energetic and yet it retains its serenity and colorful concepts.
And the last song… SHENASNAMEYE MAN. I wish Googoosh had not recorded this song at all. The lyrics are so weak, full of void and vague slogans like equality and brotherhood, reminding you of the Russian October revolution. The lyricist had woven almost anything from Persian gulf and Caspian sea to our mother tongue to make a patriotic effect but to no avail.
The worst part of this song is when Mehrdad comes into the scene and starts singing. For heaven sake somebody tells Googoosh and Mehrdad their voices just don't go together and the different qualities in their singing and style make their duets so incongruous. In fact Mehrdad has certainly overstayed his welcome among Googoosh fans by insisting on being present in all her albums, concerts and even interviews.
All in all, the album has so many wonderful things to offer and like before Googoosh is the fore-runner of Perisan Pop still on the move, never succumbing to slugishness, exploring new areas and experiencing new things in her career.