Inner voice - Shcaz Khan - Jalan

"It's taken me six years to finish this album," says Schaz Khan, her voice filled with determination, her words echoing the hard work she's put in.

Jalan – the music video – was released four years ago, directed by Wajahat Rauf, and was the talk of the town. Though it was quickly labelled as controversial, Schaz herself didn't understand the controversy that it stirred. "It was just a video about a woman in a government job who gets pressurised by her male peers and develops a split personality," Schaz recalls. "There was nothing controversial about it and yet people labelled it controversial."

Still, she was undeterred and has since then been hard at work on the album, Jalan. Produced by Emad ur Rahman, the album features a host of other musicians, namely Shallum Xavier, Omar Bilal Akther and Aamir Zaki on the guitars. What was it like for her to work with them? "To me, they're all friends so I never had any boundaries working with any of them, I didn't limit myself in terms of being a musician." In fact, she went on to say, she's learned from working with them as well. "Once you're working with so many talented people, the learning process begins both ways, I've learned from them, and they've also learned from me."

Speaking about the album itself, Schaz reveals that at its core the album is about herself. "Since I've written the tracks myself, I'm a very down to earth person, very common. This album is about loving, enjoying the feeling of being in love and ultimately, about losing the love. It's about all the difference situations of being in love."

The album starts with Mastana. A groovy number with a catchy beat, it starts off slowly but once it peaks up steam, it doesn't stop till the end. It's not fast, but it has its own pace and carries the listener through. The title track Jalan is next and ultimately reminds you of the song, Fever with a hint of Strings thrown in (especially their first album). Though we've heard this before, this is the first time we hear it in the context of this album. It may be old, but surprisingly it fits in well. The serenade of the guitars – especially the solo in towards the end – makes this track a worthy listen.

Teri Ratain is a ballad with a lot of potential, but loses its way somewhere. It definitely could've been a better track at a much lesser length. Hamain kya hogaya is probably the best tracks on the album. Emad and Schaz both complement each other's vocals and carry the song – and the listener – along with poignant vocals and lyrics.

Aye sanam sounds like it's been stretched as it starts off with a slow pace and works its way towards a slightly faster one and ends rather abruptly. A good song which could've been better with pace control. Meray yar is upbeat and catchy, something you don't hear these days and catches the listener off guard as they find themselves tapping their feet along to the beat.

Meray he raho takes the longing and melancholy a bit further as you can literally hear the sadness in Schaz's voice as she sings about losing love. This is the slowest track on the album and its lyrics reflect Schaz's personality the most. It's pretty clear that she's singing from her heart. Jan e jana is a loud desi disco track, which sounds almost obnoxious if compared to the rest of the tracks. It fits nowhere in the album and should've been left off. The album ends with a remixed version of Jalan which compliments the original track.

Jalan by Schaz Khan is an impressive first album. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is definitely a worthy listen. An insight in a singer's life, of her hard work put into the album and the things she has gone through. Emad carefully sprinkled his input all over the album, and though it may not have worked on all the tracks, it does create a synergy within the album and gives it Schaz's inner voice.

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