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Susan Roshan - “Vasvase”

Pars Video US.
2006 (1385)

Susan Roshan is back with her first album in 6 years. Though its hard to believe she is by this album celebrating a 20-year career and 6 ½ albums (½ for the album with Siavash Shams)! The album ”Khaakestar” (available only on cassette tape) was her debut back in the mid 80’s, but it was passed-by mostly unnoticed except for her Googoosh-sound-alike tendency! Her sophomore album ”Dorough Nagoo” was more progressive and enjoyed an eye-catching video which helped to put her on the map! However it was first in 1993 and the first TANIN NOROOZ 72 SHOW that Susan Roshan became an overnight sensation and a household name. And it wasn’t only thanks to her wise decision to employ Farokh (Elton) Ahi who was the most-wanted producer back then, but it was mainly due to her new wardrobe! The until-then-modest Susan Roshan appeared now on stage as a flamboyant mistress dressed in a tight black-latex DOMINATRIX outfit!! And as a case that confirmed the rule, sex sold that day! Even in the Iranian industry, especially considering that the LA-industry back then had a much bigger void to fill with young and fresh female acts than is does today. Not to mention the thirst among younger fans and the vacant pedestal that screamed for a new sex-symbol. Susan’s popularity however started to head downwards around the millennium mainly due to two factors; the first was a change in her musical style towards more psychedelic/experimental- and less crowd-pleasing, and the second was the emergence of younger female acts such as girl-bands who stole the focus from the by then seasoned DIVA! Taking a leave of absence she has allegedly worked in the real estate business until now. Susan’s brand new album is entitled ”Vasvase” and she has once again started an elaborate collaboration with Farokh Ahi as a co-composer/-arranger along with Fred Mirza, Babak Sahraie, Hassan Shamaizadeh, Taraneh Mokarram, Laleh, Meysam, Sharif and Masoud Azar. The 7 song album features also work by Susan herself, and is released on Pars Video US..

Kicking off the album the song ”Mardi Goftan, Zani Goftan” delivers a ”tjuzed up” version of the old FOLK-inspired Ahi sound combined with the psychedelic style of Roshan’s. With an adequate PROGRESSIVE touch, a catchy hook and an enhancing music video this song will probably be THE HIT of the album! I’m only sorry that Saman’s voice hasn’t been used to underpin the choruses throughout the track!

Seeing Farokh Ahi’s name on a product you simply cant rule out a guest appearance by Andy Madadian! And accordingly he pops up in the VOCAL-TRANCE ”Bahoone”! A well-preformed cameo appearance on a song of the same quality as the opener. Of course the TRANCE elements carry the mark of Fred Mirza!

Back to the Ahi/Roshan sound in the psychedelic ”Boro Boro”. Another catchy hook to count on! I must say that the album has managed to keep up the standard it set from the start, something I did not except at all!

The story continues in ”Fekr Mikardam”, an up-beat ETHNO-DANCE tune of an old-school quality!

”Aatishbaazi” takes it yet another step RETRO, combined with a Mansour-ian 6/8 twist!

Susan Roshan usually incorporates a lot of nationalistic themes and terms in her songs, songs that are despite their popular approach very outlandish and non-catchy! ”Irane Naazaninam” is no exception and the first song in the collection to lack commercial potential, despite its lovely EURO-style arrangement.

The album rounds off romantically with a LATIN-CONTINENTAL ballad called ”Eshghe Toofani”. Unfortunately the song doesn’t manage to preserve its flow throughout and falls on its ”messy” chorus!

When I started listening to this album I could have never guessed that I would come to this conclusion, but ”Vasvase” is REALLY good!! Needless to say, to my GREAT surprise! We should keep in mind that this is the new millennium and neither Susan Roshan nor Farokh Ahi have been household names for a good while! Susan has aged, naturally, and its no longer the 90’s relatively completion-free climate for a female artist. Young and fresh starlets, with or without talent, pop up on a regular basis! Girls who ”mainly” emphasise ”sex appeal” and flamboyance before musical talent, in accordance with the Western industry’s formula. And Farokh Ahi, despite his well-earned place as an ”innovator” on the Iranian POP history’s hall-of-fame, has slacked and is no longer the ”it” producer with a progressive touch by today’s standards! New blood and breath is flowing in the industry, over-shining Ahi and his generation of craftsmen. But still, you can find a bulk of true effort of revitalisation that has been put to the work here, partly courtesy of Fred Mirza! To preserve the OLD-SCHOOL feeling and serve it with a MODERN twist. The music is not mint-fresh, but it isn’t yesterday’s expired edition either! Susan Roshan is still writing and performing her psychedelic/experimental POP music enhanced with her contrived facial expressions that have become her SIGNUM! However this time around the material is not completely commercial potential-free! The songs are CATCHY and the production quality is CRISP! And if only …IF ONLY she had handed over the art-work and design of the album to someone who knows how to portray and frame a female artist! Unfortunately the lame cover and package design puts off potential customers that it doesn’t afford to lose! Overall, this is THE BEST album of Susan’s and the best work we’ve heard from Ahi in recent decade! …WELCOME BACK, ”latex mistress”!!

Reminder: Don’t forget to check out my new blog Reviewer’s Randoms, a complement to the reviews! Scroll down for the link!

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Blog: Iranian Music & More
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* Please note that the reviews described herein are mere opinions, and must be construed in that manner only! In other words they are not absolute!
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