The first time I heard Peero was last year in November at The Mix festival. Mehdi Maloof was performing the track to a small but mesmerised audience, the music floating through the grounds of Gadaffi stadium, deadening in thick Lahore smog. It was an odd performance: Maloof was switching between different voices and accents, from a parody of a gravely baritone to comically overemphasising certain words. But underneath all the performance tics and idiosyncrasies, there was Maloof’s amazing lyrics, and the undeniable blow of that brilliant chorus, no matter how it was sung. “Yeh duniya mujhse duur duur duur duur duur duur duur duur duur.”
Now, electronic musician Talal Qureshi and singer songwriter Mehdi Maloof have teamed up for an official release of the track. The melancholy aspects of the song are amped up here; Talal’s production is more stripped back, leaning on hi-hats, injecting choral and vocal samples for extra emotional impact. He keeps the repetitive guitar phrase from the original and it’s a good choice. It acts as a fitting representation of the ‘iztiraab’ that Maloof sings about, relentless and constant.
But the track is a must listen for Maloof’s fantastic lyricism. The track is structured as an admission from Mehdi to an unspeaking peero, with Mehdi confessing all of his personal uncertainties and hypocrisies. It’s funny, and heartbreaking, and thought-provoking. And that duur duur duur still hits just as hard as it does on stage.
And while I do miss some of the more light-hearted aspects of the live performance -- the silly voices, the melodrama -- this is nonetheless a beautiful mix of electronic music and singer-songwriter talent.
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