Wednesday, October 03, 2007

CD Review: "Anuar Zain" by Anuar Zain

Being someone who doesn’t really follow the local music scene that closely, I got to know about this latest CD released by Anuar Zain from a fellow blogger’s blog entry. Even at that time, the blogger was already raving about the first single from the CD which piqued my interest but being a non-fan of the artist, I forgot about it in the days that followed. It was only after listening to the said first single from another blog site that I caved in and bought the CD for myself to see what all the fuss was about. Having only listened to his debut album before and didn’t really much fancied his work, I wasn’t quite sure of what to expect from it. Having spent some time this past week listening to the CD constantly on my daily playlist, I now understand why this CD could be one of the best local releases of the year.

The CD opens beautifully with “I’m The Lucky One” which in a way spoke directly to his fans who have been patiently waiting for the release of his latest album. The song sets the stage for those that followed by showcasing the artist’s trademarked vocal stylings as well as the wonderful live strings backing the track. The live strings section in particular lifted the song as it progressed to a lovely crescendo of both vocals and orchestration. “Ketulusan Hati” picked up the baton next to continue the spellbinding experience of the CD. The song starts with quiet anticipation before the artist’s vocals started to unfurl a lyrical tale of true love. Haunting strains of piano and strings quickly gives weight to the whole presentation lifting it to a heady height that was simply enjoyable to listen to.

“Tinggalkan Aku” was co written by the artist himself and was lyrically darker in theme that the 2 previous tracks on the CD. It was hard not to empathize with the vocals while listening to the lyrics that tells of letting the past go and moving on with one’s life. This song is definitely an ode to those who had their hearts broken by a loved one who then wants to comeback to patch things up. Personally, the song was more poignant for me to listen to knowing things that have happened around me in recent months. Fortunately my thoughts were sufficiently distracted by the next track, “Kau Bunga Cinta Ku” which was slightly puzzling to me. Lyrically, the song had a darker theme but it was set in a faster paced retro vibe song which caused me to do a mental double take when I first listened to it. I guess I was expecting a less peppy song to accompany the less than cheerful subject matter in the lyrics. Nevertheless it was an enjoyable song and stood out from the tracks that this point as the rest of the track had only been of a slower pace.

The haunting melodies of the live strings at the beginning of “Tak Lelah” beautifully introduce the artist’s vocals in this song. This song, more than others, allowed Anuar Zain to showcase the range of his vocal skills as it stood out more with the subdued musical arrangement. Poetic lyrics about the ache that one feels waiting for a loved one to reciprocate would definitely hit home to his many loyal listeners. There was an ethereal quality to the whole arrangement which also differentiated this track from the others. The next track that followed was the main reason for me to purchase the CD. I fell in love with the song the moment I heard it and have never looked back. Many has said that this song is his best work ever. Having heard the combination of melodies, vocals and arrangement, I have to agree with them. All of the components came together so beautifully that it would be hard to find another song released this year that was as good as “Lelaki Ini”. If you can only listen to one track from this CD then this is the track to listen to.

“Hanya Milik Mu” opened with acoustic guitar that imparted a slightly Latin flavor not heard in the other tracks on the CD. The vibe lasted throughout the song which helped it to stand out of the pack which it had to especially when following the devastatingly wonderful previous track. I can’t really say that it was a successful attempt but the song was a good enough one to listen on it’s own strengths. My only problem is that it felt too bland and too familiar at this point of the CD. The song reminded me of too many similarly Latin flavored songs out there. In “Bidadari”, Anuar Zain attempted to start the track off with an ethereal quality that didn’t seem to really clicked together. Good thing that the rest of the song was delivered confidently with a quiet strength in his vocals which shined through as the track progressed. Guitars were also prominently heard in the track but unlike the previous track, the infused a more local flavor to the arrangement. It was enough to make the track stand out as well from the collection.

“Jangan Pernah Lagi” was the second fast paced track on the album and again it confounded me a bit with the duality between the peppy beat with the less than cheerful lyric subject. It’s hard to think of happily tapping your feet away while listening to the song that was actually about being betrayed by a loved one. It was this conflict that made me stop to think of how I was suppose to enjoy this song. It had both lyrical and aural components to be savored but together it was just too conflicting to enjoy as a unit. It was not the case for the last track of the CD, “Taman Terulung”. One could not ask for a better song to end the CD experience with than this track. It had poetic lyrics, simple but effective, presented with the lovely strings arrangement that lifted the song to be enhanced by the beautifully controlled vocals. It was hard for me to listen to this track without feeling a lump forming in my throat every time as it invoked memories of friends, old and new, lost and found, that have passed through in my life.

It was quite hard to choose my favorites among the tracks on the CD as all of them had something to offer to the whole listening experience. They were individually strong and varied to showcase both the masterful vocal skills as well as the high production values put into the presentation. The common theme of love in all it’s many flavors seem to be the unifying thread that linked all the songs together. Another common thread is the use of live strings in the arrangement if all the songs in the CD which gave the song an aural lift that we don’t get to hear that often in local releases. As a love letter to his fans, the CD would have definitely exceeded all fan’s expectations. Even if you were listening to it as someone who has never heard of the artist before, it would be hard not to be impressed by the end product. It would be easy to recommend this CD to others who don’t already have it spinning on their daily playlist.


[danial][ma] said...

hej! nixx
interesting review of the album. got chance to listen to 'lelaki ini' when i was having my summer break in kuala lumpur last month. nice number i think and maybe it's time to check the whole album...unfortunately won't be able to sample the cd over here...cheers!

Nickxandar said...


I think sooner or later someone would upload the songs on the internet. Try doing a seach with the song title in a month or two.

fadz said...

waduh, dah rebiu CD pulak la!

Nickxandar said...

Fadz ...

Dah ... bulan puasa ni tak masuk panggung tengok wayang langsung. Lepas puasa kot sambung balik :)

Alam Setia said...

salam. dengar lagu anuar zin, kira ok juga lah. lepas nie sapa lagi ya yang akan klr album. emm.....kena tunggulah.

Nickxandar said...

Alam ...

Thanks for visiting.

Tak follow sangat tang siapa yang keluar album lately. Kena tunggu ada orang recommend ... kalau tak pun kalau ada org tu dapat hadiah lagi .... lalalala