Artist: Ajay Mathur
Album: 9 to 3
Passionately revealing candid insight into your true soul can be a daunting task, but humorously and endearingly approaching life’s most complex emotions can help make the process more liberating. India-born singer-songwriter Ajay Mathur has deservingly has received acclaim throughout his career for doing just that, particularly on his recent albums, 2011’s ‘A Matter of Time’ and 2013’s ‘Come See Conquer;’ he has become known for not being afraid to divulge his true feelings on troubled relationships and feelings. The musician, who’s now based in Switzerland, has creatively related to audiences around the world with his latest album, ‘9 to 3,’ as it uniquely combines diverse important life messages in his lyrics and instruments.
The talented and experienced singer-songwriter-musician has blended elements from the pop, rock and folk genres with traditional Indian instruments to create a radical new sound in ‘9 to 3,’ which follows him in his pursuit of spiritual enlightenment and embracing his true emotions. The album, which is now available, beings with the Americana-inspired track, ‘Sitting By Your Cradle,’ which is fueled by its upbeat Americana guitars and drums. Even with the cheerful instrumentals, Mathur also passionately ponders why the person he loved is always on the run in life. He passionately notes that he wants them to reconnect, but becomes disappointed that she’s already gone.
The singer further extends his desire to reset time during the album’s next track, ‘Walking on the Water,’ which also features entrancing psychedelic drums and guitars. The country-infused lyrics also enthralling mention that Mathur wants to hold onto their love, even though he knows it won’t last. He accepts that their dream was squandered when they embarked on an emotional journey that didn’t appear like it would have a happy ending. He also claims he’ll to do whatever it takes with the person he loves to achieve their shared goals, but he smartly recognizes that they’ll never obtain their vision of paradise.
The next track on ‘9 to 3,’ which is titled ‘Nothing Really Matters,’ features a more distinctive Alternative Rock sound in Mathur’s vocals and instruments, particularly the guitars. The singer notes he doesn’t feel the same in life anymore. As he reflects on his existence, he realizes that his love had to leave, and nothing stays the same forever. The singer expresses an emotional hurt in his voice as he admits nothing matters without his love.
Several later songs on the pop-rock album on which Mathur also lends his deeper side of his voice include ‘My World (SOS To The Universe)’ and ‘Password Love.’ In the former, the musician grippingly reveals a panic in his vocals as he wonders what will become of him as he contemplates his life. The grudge-infused song features an important message of not allowing yourself to be manipulated and scrutinized by society. While the song features an important lesson, the musician’s voice is unfortunately becomes overpowered by the diverse instruments he utilized, as well as the back-up choir that he featured on the track.
‘Password Love,’ which also includes hard-rock guitars and Mathur’s baritone vocals, reveals that he believes that in order for love to survive between two people, they must have an emotional connection. He doesn’t only want to win the admiration of the woman he loves by repeatedly giving her gifts, as he wants to find out how he can emotionally develop their bond.
Mathur’s enthralling wide range of sounds is also seen in the laid-back track, ‘Latin Lover,’ which features Americana keyboards and soothing jazz-infused instruments. The song intriguingly follows how people go on the prowl to find initial connections and passions.
The record then delves into the soulfully reflective song, ‘Oh Angel,’ which encompasses the musician’s Indiana background. The intriguing acoustic guitar and drums are mixed with a traditional sitar, as Mathur contemplates the bond he had with the woman he loves before they separated. The singer touches on a relatable subject as he questions how they can both move on from their broken relationship.
A later entry on ‘9 to 3,’ titled ‘I Song,’ features similar upbeat instruments as ‘Oh Angel,’ including an acoustic guitar. However, the musician delves into deeper reflections in this track’s lyrics, as he stands by his determination not to let go until he achieves his goal.
The similarly-themed song ‘Tell Me Why Do I Still Love You’ is another jazz-infused entry in which Mathur finally accepts that his dreams and wishes are ending. However, he honestly reveals that he wants to make another commitment, even though he’s rationally still questioning why he still loves her. The track is the best one on the album, as he relatably questions how their relationship went wrong. He wishes they can reclaim the laughter and joy they once had together, before their shared dreams were broken.
Mathur does empoweringly realize that everyone has to reconsider who should be in control in their lives in the rock-inspired song, ‘View From the Top.’ The politically-motivated song notes that he and everyone else have to leave their trust and faith in their leaders behind, or they’ll always be waiting for a change.
The musician also questions how people view both themselves and society overall in the intense tracks, ‘All Up to Vanity’ and ‘Surfing Girl (Cyber Monday Mix).’ The former chronicles how people will wear and try anything in order to fit into society, but as a result, they lose sight of who they truly are overall. While realizing that the vanity obsession the woman he loves has is going too far, the blues-filled track doesn’t reflect on the consequences of living a vain life as much as people who are so arrogant are made to feel guilty.
‘Surfing Girl (Cyber Monday Mix)’ is also somewhat trivial in the fact that listeners aren’t encouraged to reflect on the consequences of continuously spending their lives in front of their screens and technology. Instead, the song questions why people spend all of their time on social media, which deteriorates their real-life relationships, to feel ashamed over their actions.
The jazz-infused track ‘Love Madness,’ which is reminiscent of the rock sound made famous during Jimi Hendrix’s era, chronicles how Mathur feels as though he may need to be a prisoner of love to finally feel as though he’s been set free. While he admits he doesn’t know what her true feelings about him are, he’s willing to fight for her. He also questions if he’s truly lucky to feel the way he does about her.
The funk-inspired track ‘Sleepy Moment’s also chronicles Mathur’s love for the woman he’s missing, as he admits he still daydreams about her love. The singer sheepisly admits that he can’t get over the fact they’re no longer together.
The album’s last song, ‘I Mantra,’ which is captivatingly similar to ‘Oh Angel,’ enthrallingly reemphasizes the traditional sounds of Mathur’s Indian culture, particularly through his use of the harp, sitar and acoustic guitar. The ending track is reflective of ‘9 to 3’s distinct proclamation that people can achieve it all if they remain true to themselves.
The versatile and talented singer-songwriter-musician powerfully infused his latest riveting album, ‘9 to 3,’ with thought-provoking ideas and questions on such important feelings as selfishness, self-centeredness and materialism, which plague societies all over the world. While all of the songs on Mathur’s album explore the impacts of such significant feelings and actions, the important meanings behind some of the songs, such as ‘My World (SOS To The Universe),’ ‘All Up to Vanity’ and ‘Surfing Girl (Cyber Monday Mix),’ get buried by the excessive production value and instruments. But the unique mix of international instruments, combined with the powerful examination into the highlights and downfalls of the diverse emotions in politics and romance, proves yet again what a versatile musician Mathur truly is in all cultures.
Written by: Karen Benardello