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Vasu Raina’s “Hayat” Blends Folk, Soul, and Contemporary Elements into Urdu Poetry

New Delhi-based singer-songwriter Vasu Raina seamlessly blends folk, soul, and contemporary elements in his captivating compositions. His music transcends genres and languages, delving into themes of self-discovery and the intricacies of the human experience. With his latest album, “hayat,” meaning “Life” in Urdu, Raina takes listeners on a profound journey through the depths of love. Water emerges as a powerful symbol throughout the album, weaving its presence into each song’s narrative. Through evocative imagery, such as the sea confined within a bottle, Raina explores the untold stories and alternate paths life could have taken.

The album’s title track, “hayat,” sets the stage with its reverberating sounds and cool synths, immersing listeners in a world of poetic lyrics and soul-stirring melodies. Vasu’s smooth vocals blend with the jazzy instrumentation, which features a captivating middle section adorned with trumpets and delicate bell tones. Vasu conveys the depths of his love through romantic lyrics and carefully crafted pauses in the beat, creating a mesmerizing atmosphere.

The second track, “laila,” takes on a more upbeat tone and incorporates electronic sounds and a rap section in the latter half. It strikes a balance between modernity and historical inspiration, featuring catchy beats that create a cohesive and enjoyable listening experience. The contemporary composition is infused with a Bollywood twist, yet maintains its unique identity, offering a refreshing take on the theme of a hopeless romantic.

The third track on the album, “huzoor,” opens with a captivating array of trilling acoustics, setting the stage for a groovy yet melodic musical journey. The song’s intricate composition follows a unique time signature, showcasing Vasu’s collaborative prowess as he joins forces with music producer Lambo Drive, known for crafting complex and engaging beats.

The album flows seamlessly into the next song, “maahiya,” as listeners are treated to a mellow and entrancing experience. With its chill vibe and subtle EDM influences, the track transports the audience into a trance-like state. Vasu’s distinctive vocal style shines through, as his lyrics poignantly explore the lingering emotions and remnants of a love story’s aftermath.

“khudse,” the fifth track on the album, showcases Vasu’s introspective side as he effortlessly hits impressive high notes. By this point, it becomes evident that Vasu’s songs deviate from conventional music production, offering a unique listening experience that plays with the mind. The addition of a captivating guitar lead towards the end of “khudse” further redefines the sonic journey.

In the sixth track “saawariya,” listeners are immersed in poetic lyrics that gradually build in intensity. The juxtaposition of fast-paced electronic tunes and the gentle piano in the background creates a mind-boggling and all-encompassing musical experience.

The seventh track, “aaj se,” stands out as my personal favorite, captivating the listener with its traditional sound. The sounds of the tabla and santoor create a rich tapestry, transporting the audience to a realm of timeless beauty. Vasu’s Urdu lyrics, crafted with poetic precision, pay homage to the lover while exploring the bittersweet tragedy of being in love. The emotional depth of the song is further enhanced by a ‘shayari’, delving into the paradoxical nature of love—an emotion that resides close to the heart, yet often remains elusive and distant.

The album’s final track, “sarphira,” begins with a slow, contemplative pace. It gradually builds a sense of resolution within the listener’s heart. Vasu’s falsetto vocals soar above pulsating drums, creating a multi-genre fusion that showcases his experimental prowess. The incorporation of rap-style expression adds a fresh dimension to the song, as he offers a sobering reflection on the aftermath of an all-consuming obsession.

“hayat” is a transformative journey of self-discovery, illustrating how love can lead one down a path of madness while simultaneously filling life with so much joy and hope. As the album draws to a close, listeners may find themselves overwhelmed by the chaotic yet masterfully composed expressions that permeate the music. It is through this very chaos that the album finds its strength, as Vasu’s skillful arrangement and honest storytelling create a cohesive and deeply moving experience. 

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