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Monday, October 15, 2012

Movie Music Monday: Priyanka Chopra crosses over with "In My City"

Film Flam Flummox


Being one of the most versatile and adaptable actresses working in Bollywood today, it came as no surprise to learn that Priyanka Chopra, who can currently in cinemas delivering one of her best-yet performances in Barfi!, is the next big Hindi film star to make a major crossover move into Hollywood. What is surprising, however, is the manner in which she's making the transition into the Western entertainment world: as a music artist. Although she works in the lip-sync-to-playback-singer world of Indian cinema, she had already proven her own more than capable vocal chops in her screen debut in 2002's Tamil language film Thamizhan, where she had the rare task of providing her own song vocals; and on a more widespread but still fairly under-the-radar scale in 2004's Temptation concert tour of Bollywood stars, where she rather presciently lent her voice to a cover of an American pop hit, Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle." Now, under the aegis of Universal Music Group, Desi Hits, and no less of a music industry heavyweight in Interscope Records' Jimmy Iovine, Chopra makes her debut single splash with the RedOne-produced "In My City", and not for nothing has it been selected as this season's theme for NFL Network's Thursday Night Football. Featuring will.i.am, the song is the type of rousing, clap-and-sing-along dance pop anthem designed to be played in stadiums during sporting events, with the chorus's closing lines "You ain't never had a party/'Til you come to a party/In my city" tailor-made to boost home team pride.

Oddly enough, the song has been met with somewhat of a tepid reaction in India, with the tune commonly chided for its admittedly banal lyrical content, which points up an interesting pop-cultural divide between India and America, if not the western world in general. With music and lyrics so firmly entrenched in storytelling tradition--most especially in the leading entertainment and art form that is film--in India, local audiences are trained to pay closer attention to lyrics and their meaning. (Not for nothing do you see the names of lyricists pushed as a selling point on movie posters, trailers, and TV spots.) This, of course, comes in stark contrast to the Western pop music world, where the actual words being sung are distinctly secondary to a catchy melodic hook or, most especially in recent years, tight beats and slick production. For what it's supposed to be as a potential pop earworm and an arena anthem, the lyrics of "In My City" are perfectly, harmlessly, functional, serving their purpose in being easy to learn and, especially after repeated listens, hard to resist singing along with--which are the first steps toward becoming a hit single on the charts.




Buy Priyanka Chopra's "In My City" single here.

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