Shadmehr Aghili - “Popcorn”

Nava Media Co. (Canada)
2006 (1384)

Since my praising review on Shadmehr’s “AadamForoosh” back in 2004, I have been contacted by the keen-sensed readers and friends of mine who kindly enough informed me about the numerous unethical conducts committed by the man in recent years! Acts of “plagiarism” to be exactly and correct. Not only has Shadmehr plagiarised Siavash Ghomayshi’s Golden Oldie “Paeez” as an own composed song in “Dehaati” but he has even plagiarised the Greek SUPERSTAR Notis Sfakianakis’ songs “Pare Me” and “To Finale Tis Kardias” (both from the album ”Polyhroma & Entona”, 2001 EMI Records) as “Dele Divoone” on ”Aadamforoosh” and “Baavar” on ”Khiaali Nist”, down to their minor details! Now many fans might object that many other artists cover without giving credits, however its not a matter of unethical negligence this time but rather ”plagiarism” which simply means that Shadmehr has not only refrained from giving credits but even proclaimed ”himself” as the sole creator of these songs, which makes it an illegal act of piracy (the original versions are offered in stream for your own judgement)! ”Popcorn”, his third album released in exile, features ”officially” only compositions and arrangements by Shadmehr himself, along with lyrical collaborations with Shahed Salemi, Sheida Shafiepour, S. A. Javad Sharifpour, Niloofar Laripour and Farzad Hasani. The album comes in a CD/DVD-combo package with 9 audio tracks and 8 music-videos, released just as his previous albums on Nava Media Co..

The album opens with ”Angize”, a song partly derived from Kamran & Hooman’s recent HIT ”Oon Baa Man”. even details from Hooman’s vocal styling is adopted by Shadmehr! Following a RAP-segment in style with the mainstream RAP preformed inside the country. The hook however is of an entirely different style and sound. Electro-Caribbean inspired and very catchy!

I think even Shadmehr’s most loyal fans were shocked when hearing ”Biaa Injaa” for the first time! But it is a song that grows on one eventually! A REGGAETON/G-FUNK-HIP HOP fare with a rather catchy core, but much too MINIMALISTIC and hollow in production to realise its maximum potential!

Next comes a SYNTH-NRG track with tangible influences from the 80’s! Just listen to the synth-riffs reminiscent of the legendary MODERN TALKING sound! You wont hear Shadmehr in more than the one-word hook of ”Mikhaastamet”, the rest is rapped by Sh. Khademi as declared on the cover.

An excellent HYBRID is ”Oone Oone”. A rhythmic tune mixing LATINO POP with Euro-NRG and Eastern flair! Catchy and well-produced. Reminiscent of a song I just cant put my finger on!!

Now comes the plagiary of this album and perhaps THE most blatant plagiary in the history of Iranian music! Shadmehr Aghili has taken one of the most famous ELECTRONICA HITS of the music history and declared ”himself” as the sole composer on the album-cover which serves as declaration document, while even keeping the original title of the priceless gem! So allow me to give a little lesson in history since this tune is one of the essential listenings of modern music; ”Popcorn”, a song teenagers often play by drumming on their cheeks is often mistakenly linked to the French SYNTH-POP maestro Jean M. Jarre who also ”covered” the gem but few know that it was in fact created by Gershon Kingsley of ”Perrey and Kingsley” in 1969 and characterised the SYNTH-POP movement that was about to grow stronger in the decade to come! This song was even covered by the CRAZY FROG recently who despite its ”animated” nature had enough decency and seniblity to give credits to the originator of the timeless classic! It’s truly a shame, otherwise Shadmehr’s adaptation is a clever transformation of the instrumental piece into a vocal fare that is seldom heard!

”Bi To” is a mid-tempo ballad of a modern GRECO-ARABESQUE style a la Notis Sfakianakis, spiced with CELTIC ornaments!

The OLD-SCHOOL Shadmehr sound is updated with a harder groove in ”Mahaal”, this tune will please the fans of his less experimental style!

Same goes for ”Aaghoosh”, which is delivered in a similar style but dressed in a Balearic HOUSE/DISCO FUNK/Electro-ROCK ensemble! One of my favourite tracks from the album, very well-produced.

To round things off and to exhilarate his old fans even further, Shadmehr delivers ”Maandegaar”. A song with distinct resemblances to his songs from ”Pare Parvaaz” and ”Alaamate Soal” in particular! This is the most OLD-SCHOOL song of Shadmehr since his arrival to Canada, so if you are a fan of this style whatever you do don’t miss this!!

The DVD contains following videos:

1- Popcorn
2- Mahaal
3- Aaghoosh
4- Bia Inja
5- Aadam Foroosh
6- Tahdid
7- Zhina
8- Chardash

Shadmehr’s ”Popcorn” represents ”diversity” better than any of his previous albums. It is not as solid and strong in its musicality and artistic performance as ”AadamForoosh” was, but its almost equally ambitious in its experimental approach and value. Its last half in particular, will please those fans who were disappointed by Shadmehr seemingly abandoning his OLD-SCHOOL sound in the previous album, but the same fans will probably be even more disappointed with the first half of this album! It goes without saying that no other artist has managed to have her-/himself crash-falling from grace in my eyes, like Shadmehr has done during these past two years! Each day new tips about new unethical conducts by the man are submitted, which I, of course, refrain from reporting unless they get verified and proved like in the previously mentioned cases. Nevertheless, each possibility is sad enough for me who once had such high hopes about this artist. I admit that Shadmehr’s music still today manages to ”charm” me silly, but not beyond reason and rationality! Therefore, regardless of its instant charm and appeal, I’m NOT going to recommend ”Popcorn”! And most definitely not to those who would like to support our music towards a more ethically aware and adherent ideal of international class and acknowledgment! I’ll be more than happy to give benefits of doubt while I always evaluate each album on a new leaf, IF only Shadmehr had broken the tradition of plagiarism by not declaring himself as the composer of ”Popcorn” on the cover and given credits to Kingsley!

Note: thanks to my dear reader Mehdi and to my dear friend Zhamak who provided me with important information!

Artistic Performance: ++
Artistic Ambition: ++
Commercial Potential: ++
Technical Quality: ++
Aesthetic Presentation: ---
Ethical Adherence: ---
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Review by: Pourya E.

Reviews described herein are mere opinions, and must be construed in that manner only! In other words they are not absolute!