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Pakistani-born singer-songwriter and music producer Mahmood Khan is an intriguing artist with a long list of ticks on his resume: a million-selling debut solo album, the first Pakistani-born artist to crack the US world music radio stations, the first Asian-born Australian artist to hit #1 on the ARIA charts, and many besides.
This new track covers similar territory to his last release One Line Down but takes a few more risks, namely via its concordance with worldbeat sensibilities that are finely laced here with a smattering of rock and pop flavouring.
The groove is dance-like, as many worldbeat offerings usually are, with the verse melody’s trance-inducing quality imbuing it all with a curious and abstruse piquancy.
And that’s not to mention the lyrics, which as Mahmood has stated, ‘are abstract and suggest exploration of the inner self’. That may very well be the case, but the focus shifts in the chorus, with the title repeated, and its message or meaning easily digested and reinterpreted to suit one’s own needs.
The hybrid style that Mahmood has adopted to communicate his tale of freedom and inner exploration is replete with light and shade; the verses, despite their jaunty carefreeness, sit beside the ensuing choruses effectively, enabling the heart of the song to pop out in just the right manner.
The instrumentation that underpins the track also helps, with its central tone; a melodeon-like cadence providing ample suggestive muscle to add to the other alluring elements.
The most appealing aspect of Runaway is perhaps this unification of assembled sound and artistic sorcery, in the process creating a viably engaging style which feels as fresh as it does authentic.
And these two attributes are quite high on the list of what we long for when seeking out a genuinely invigorating music listening experience. You might just find it here, on Mahmood’s fascinating ode to conquering one’s fears.