Best of 2023 – Shahmir's Picks
Editor’s note: To cap off 2023, we solicited a few songs from Hamnawa contributors that remained with them at the end of the year. Starting off this series is Shahmir.
Over the years I have heard from artists and listeners alike that the global and local music scene lacks a sense of creativity that was supposedly present in eras bygone. Music has gotten repetitive, artists have gotten boring and “it’s just not the same anymore”. However, I have grown to believe that the past few years have been full of incredible music and that this will hopefully remain true for the years to come as well. The age of innovation will always be now: all that matters is where we look for it. To highlight that spirit of innovation and abundance, I have chosen some songs that embody that essence for me. These are not songs that I think are the top five of the year but the five songs that have, more than others, made me feel, think, and dance. In no particular order:
This song’s power is in its simplicity. I’ve always thought of Talal’s production as a process of world-building but here I feel that he meets Blal halfway. Together, they’ve made a brave song that can make one feel confident and appreciate Blal’s writing and creation of suspense. What elevates this song even more is its beautiful video, highlighting the fierce women of the Pak Shaheen Boxing Club and the dynamic community of Lyari.
The past few years have seen a rise in hip-house and I think the music landscape is better off for it. Chup Kar excels in this genre with a great set up, an earworm of a chorus, and a hypnotic beat. A song that has really made me want to dance.
Nishana is the sound I’ve always wanted to hear from Natasha. Without throwing shade at any of her other material, I am the loudest Natasha fan when she can channel ROSALIA and make a song that lets itself build around her. This is exactly what Nishana embraces.
Talal Qureshi, Maanu
This is a duo that brings out the best in each other. They have proven it multiple times before, but Rangeen feels different, due in large part to its festive nature. A tune that makes you miss Basant in a way. If we were to talk about a favorite part, mine is definitely the vocal sample in the back – takes the cake.
Umair, Raftaar, Prabh Deep
This is a song that is a testament to doing more with less. The few elements combine to create an absolute earworm of a tune with a catchy hook, great verses by both Raftaar & Prabh Deep and a thumping beat courtesy of Umair. More specifically, my favorite part was undoubtedly Prabh Deep who has such unique & undeniable flows.