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Maanu Talks Music: Inside ‘Yain City’

Maanu Talks Music: Inside ‘Yain City’

Mehreen Zahra-Malik
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‘YAIN CITY,’ my debut album, is a body of work that is dedicated to Lahore; it chronicles a series of experiences I’ve had living in the city my whole life. 

The subject matter of the album deals with all sorts of topics such as managing passions alongside academics, falling in love, heartbreak and my musical journey so far. Each song has been treated as an individual single in the sense that it has its own story and a color scheme that captures the moods of each song.

‘Yain’ is used in multiple contexts by my generation; in my understanding, the two main connotations it has are ‘chaos’ and ‘excitement’. The application of each connotation is on the basis of a cause-and-effect relationship that the word implies. For example, being a source of ‘yain’ can be viewed as having the desire to do something exciting, whereas, being inflicted to ‘yain’ is viewed as being caught in chaos.

With this album, my main aim is to depict the contemporary urban youth culture of Lahore. Using terms such as ‘yain’ builds a relatability and can be used as a channel to have the audience resonate with my message. My wish is to give to Lahore a new musical identity i.e. YAIN CITY and represent it on a national and international scale. Lahore is a city that doesn’t sleep and doesn’t let you sleep either, she is a city that is chaotic yet exciting.

With regards to the creation of the album, the first song I wrote for the album was ‘cGPA’ and I wrote it back in May, 2018. The most recent song on the album is ‘Pak Sar Zameen’ with Talal Qureshi, which I wrote in the build-up to our performances at the Lahore Music Meet in February 2020. During these two years, the album went through a series of changes in track-listing and production credits but the overall theme has remained the same. Fortunately, I couldn’t be happier with it because I got to work with most of the producers that I have always wanted to work with, and I’m amazed that I was able to do this on my debut project.


This piece has been contributed by Rehman Afshar aka Maanu Music. Follow him here.