• Sat, Jun 22, 2024

'Two' Is Singer-Songwriter Nitansha's Confident Foray Into Alternative Pop

Aug 22, 04:26pm

Perhaps it isn’t that alternative any more. It’s still right for the times, though.

There’s a proverb (there probably isn’t, but there is a sentiment) that things don’t really change over time, but they merely change forms. Today’s world of melancholy pop, indie and trap undoubtedly sounds fresh and all its own, but you can trace that current of personal feeling and deep, nuanced sentimentality through the Western popular music canon. From the melancholy bombast of Julie London and the 60s to the often surprisingly sad soul-funk of the 70s and 80s (say Curtis Mayfield and co.), you can find threads into the electronic bleakness of the 90s and then it becomes a bit more obvious (Radiohead, modern indie). These days it splits its time between modern pop and the nearly tidal-sized wave of emo-trap and hip-hop that dominates TikToks and playlists. India’s singer-songwriter scene of the previous decade has also undergone a similar scene, and Delhi musician Nitansha’s single ‘Two’ is so emblematic of that.

Is it controversial to say that what we all went through over the last couple years provides a strong backdrop for this sound? Either way, Nitansha’s plaintive tales of struggling through the pandemic are a good foil for the introspective synth-based production. But it’s not all by the numbers; the song has a couple of interesting tricks up its sleeve. Chief among these is the pounding, aggressive four-on-the-floor kick that jumps in basically out of nowhere. This is when Nitansha and her brother BaddMint (who produced) take a very interesting decision to turn a quiet, slow ballad into a tune you can dance to. That’s the right way to approach a genre and sound that very often falls prey to its own bleakness; things end up being too dour, too great. ‘Two’ looks forward with an air of fun and is thus an ultimately rewarding listen for an office commute (which is the least rewarding journey of all time). If it can remedy that, it’s a win.


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