In the recording industry, where artistes come and go and hit songs a momentary fad, five years would seem like a lifetime. But that is how long a hiatus it took for one of Malaysia's most preeminent crooner to deliver his third solo album. Anuar Zain, having built upon a cult following for his distinct vocal delivery on R&B ballads and a firm favourite among the karaoke crowd, has returned with yet another self entitled (and self funded) album.
Anuar retains his repertoire of romantic and easy listening ballads with a surprising sprinkling of funk. But in a distinct departure from his previous efforts, Anuar has enlisted a significant portion of the production to Indonesian composers which has caused controversy in for supposedly overlooking Malaysian songwriting capabilities. Nevertheless, the body of work produced by these Indonesian composers are deservedly of high quality and should be viewed as a positive challenge for local songwriters.
Complementing the lush orchestral arrangements is the new found maturity in Anuar’s own vocal arrangement: its is more relaxed without sacrificing ‘feel’, and not over sung with just the right amount of ad libbing. This potent combination is displayed in its finest in the hit torch song LELAKI INI (the slight pause before the first verse is genious), the emotive and haunting KETULUSAN HATI (my favorite song in the album), and the understated elegance of I’M THE LUCKY ONE. Meanwhile, songs like TINGGALKAN AKU and HANYA MILIKMU evoke Anuar's 'old style' of singing, while much needed break from the ballad heavy set is provided from the songs KAU BUNGA CINTAKU and JANGAN PERNAH LAGI, with its punchy 70’s inspired horns and backing vocals. If there is any lacking in this album, it is the obvious ommission of the ballad Perpisahan from the Cinta OST.
While this album may not be eligible for many of the categories in next year's AIM awards (expect at least one nod for best male vocal), it is still overall a very satisfying and accomplished album and should be enough to sustain his fans for the next five years.
- I'm The Lucky One (Tengku Shafick) *****
- Ketulusan Hati (Numata - Inu, Mhala, Tantra ) *****
- Tinggalkan Aku (Sharon Paul / Anuar Zain, Irwan Simanjuntak) ****
- Kau Bunga Cintaku (Numata - Inu, Mhala, Tantra) *** 1/2
- Tak Lelah (Tengku Shafick) *** 1/2
- Lelaki Ini (Numata - Inu, Mhala, Tantra) *****
- Hanya Milikmu (Nico Ajie Bandy ) *****
- Bidadari (Omar K) **** 1/2
- Jangan Pernah Lagi (Nico Ajie Bandy) ****
- Teman Terulung (Azalea) *** 1/2