‘Love Like That’: Ali Sethi and Jonita Drop Their Cross-Border Duet

The track is a unique blend of pop and raga.

In a remarkable cross-border collaboration, renowned artist Ali Sethi and the multilingual Jonita Gandhi have teamed up for the release of “Love Like That,” a musical journey that attempts to marry the worlds of pop and raga.

The track, unveiled on January 12 with an official music video on YouTube, showcases the duo’s innovative approach to blending their distinct styles.

Jonita Gandhi, recognized for her versatility in languages, seamlessly traverses Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, and Malayalam in her musical repertoire since her debut in 2013 with Chennai Express.

On the other hand, Ali Sethi, famed for his 2022 Coke Studio hit “Pasoori” with Shae Gill, has become one of the biggest stars, reintroducing classical and Qawwali styles with a contemporary twist.

“Love Like That” opens with Jonita’s melodic “Wanna love like that,” offering a taste of contemporary American pop influences with repetitive refrains and programmed clap beats.

However, the song takes a unique turn when Ali Sethi introduces raga-inspired vocals, infusing a distinct melody rooted in D# major. This blending of American pop and Indian classical elements adds a compelling layer to the composition.

Yet, the second chorus disrupts the flow with an abrupt transition that compromises the precision and sophistication the duo had been building. The introduction of Punjabi lyrics by Jonita in the second verse brings a shift in vocal styles but leans too heavily towards commercial Bollywood.

While the collaboration introduces new elements, such as the fusion of Jonita’s Punjabi lyrics and shifts in vocal styles, the overall execution falls short of achieving a seamless blend. The transitions between pop and classical elements lack the finesse needed for a genuinely collaborative endeavor, leaving the listener with a sense of disconnect.

One of the pitfalls in genre-bending collaborations is the risk of appearing gimmicky, and “Love Like That” does not escape this trap entirely. The fusion, rather than creating a harmonious blend, veers into an identity crisis by the second verse, straddling an uncanny valley between authentic fusion and a comedic gimmick.

In the broader context of India-Pakistan musical collaborations, “Love Like That” adds to the tapestry of cross-border ventures, but its struggle to maintain a consistent identity raises questions about the delicate balance required in merging two musical worlds.

Despite its moments of brilliance, the track ultimately grapples with the challenge of sustaining a cohesive fusion.

Check out the music video here: