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Review

Lisa Mishra’s “Sorry, I’m Late” Canvases the Fallibility of Human Nature

It is not very often that we see artists accustomed to working in Industry take a step back to compose music that is not meant to be part of their Bollywood portfolio. Lisa Mishra is one of them and she breaks bounds with her new album Sorry I’m Late, an exploration of emotions universally experienced through Electronic Pop blended with Acoustic and Classical elements.

Who is that one familiar face you search for in the crowd? Which is that one place that feels like home to you? Lonely, the first track of the album transports you to a space of happiness far away just as Lisa yearns for in her song. “Tasweeron mein jo jhalki hai khushi”: a good memory captured in a picture makes you reminisce about how time has flown by. “Do pal ki zindagi kabhi toh sang mere bitaon na”: we live a short life, what is it all worth without the person we love by our side? While Charan and Lisa’s words create a sense of desolation and longing, this quality was not achieved alone but with a highly experienced team that helped her emotions flow into her songs with finesse. Ironically, the composition by Abhijay Sharma wraps itself around you in warm embrace as does Soham Mukherji’s production highlighted with filling pads, smooth reverse effects and an arpeggiated guitar base.

Love Song, on the other hand, is bolder in terms of Lisa’s introductory vocals. The heavy bass driven production by Riz Shain contrasts her higher notes, and the jazzy piano and EP fills beautifully. 

Lisa Mishra was born in Odisha but was brought up in the U.S. where she completed her graduation in Chicago and her further studies at Massachusetts. Love Song establishes a trend of linguistic contrast that runs throughout the album. The usage of unembellished English vocabulary and Hindi infused with hints of Urdu lexis such as “nazaqat” (elegance) and “ruhani rasa” (spiritual satisfaction) brings out the underlying influences of the singer’s Western and Indian background. 

The thirds song opens with an atmospheric guitar intro processed with delays and reverbs like flecks of morning light seen at dawn. Aptly titled Roshni, this lyrical marvel is a search for meaning and answers. “Jitney zakham hai, hai utne sahare”. Embedded with metaphors, especially in Yashraj’s rap, the song is an appreciation of the presence of support and help like a candle that guides your way when you are in  the dark and afraid. The incredible production by Karan Kanchan could not have been a better expression of the depths and intensity of  the emotions that Sorry I’m Late hopes to convey.

The album progresses to Saza, a calming acoustic song that one might cry to after a broken relationship. It is followed by Nasha, a highly commercial track that brings the tempo of the album back upbeat.  The album diverges into Aadat, a song that encourages giving greater importance to female friendships and empowers any person who has been the victim of a toxic relationship through it’s thoughtful music video featuring artist bebhumika

Lisa’s Dil Yeh Mera conveys a similar message, telling her ex-lover not to come after her since her heart does not belong to him anymore. The glittery dreamlike synth layers build a great foundation for the song, the brilliant efforts by Cliffr being highly appreciated. ‘Time’ is one of the main themes of the album; this is very obvious from the clockwork like hi-hats patterns prominent in most of the tracks. The Album ends with an alternative laid back version of Aadat without the heavy beats and with more soothing textures. It interprets the same lyrics but in a more melancholic yet comforting way. Prathamesh Dudhane’s efforts in Mixing and Mastering must be acknowledged for  seamless transitions between sections besides making the album  extremely impactful and polishing it to perfection.

In the journey of her growing music career, Lisa Mishra acquired fame through commercial Bollywood tracks like the reprise version of Tareefan for the 2018 film Veere Di Wedding, The Wakhra Song, as well as Nadaaniya from the movie The Sky is Pink.  Sorry, I’m Late is a more than welcome change from her usual path. It not only succeeds in telling the story of her personal experiences, but blends Indian and Western culture seamlessly to resonate with every kind of audience. Lisa Mishra sets the standard for every female Indie artist working hard in the field, inspiring them and assuring them that it’s never too late to create.

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