Jehangir Aziz Hayat – “Pretend to Be”

Jehangir Aziz Hayat also known simply as Jehangir Aziz, is an award-winning Pakistani singer, guitarist and composer, whose musical influences include Nirvana, Pantera and Megadeth. Jehangir released his debut album “Read Between the Lines” in 2009 and found critical acclaim with the single “Pretend to Be” which won three awards at the Indie Music Channel Awards in 2012. Jehangir Aziz Hayat was also the first grunge musician in Pakistan to appear on the national scene. His single track “Never Change” reached the national charts in its first week of release and was nominated for the Best Debut Award at the MTV Pakistan awards.

The track “Pretend to Be” has an excellent acoustic-guitar groove, backed by an ominous cello at the opening; the drums build up, Jehangir Aziz vocal is right in the pocket, the lyrics are tight, the whole soundscape smashes into the chorus with modal chord changes that strongly ignite the song’s burning emotion – “Can we pretend to be? / When our souls aren’t free? / Can we pretend to be? / When our souls aren’t free?.” After the second chorus, Hayat breaks into an electric guitar solo which adds further dynamical tension and pathos.

Besides the guitars, Jehangir Aziz Hayat also handles the bass and the vocals, while the drums are played by Sarmad Ghafoor, who also mixed and engineered the record, as well as sharing production duties with Hayat.

Much in the vein of Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam, Hayat shows with this song that when it comes to rock birthed-from-grunge, he can both dial up the sound, as well as dial it down when needed. Led by Hayat’s tortured voice and poetically scathed lyrics, he is able to deliver a slow to mid-tempo, emotionally dense, musically rich classic-sounding song. “Pretend to Be” is in that fold.

Each piece of “Pretend to Be” is crafted to fit together seamlessly, with no dissonance, or flooding of the track, with an overabundance of instruments or sound. Instead Jehangir Aziz Hayat centers the core sound of the genre which focuses on mood-inducing atmosphere.

The lyrics are profound and Hayat puts the entirety of his soul behind every syllable. I could go on and on, but that would take away time that you could be listening to this track. In fact, you’re kind of wasting time reading. Go, download the song, and listen to some others by Hayat, with your headphones on. Just tune out the world, and this music will speak to you.


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